by Giovanni Salvietti
Struck by the long and fascinating series of events that dots the history of the Mazzei dynasty, we ask Francesco Mazzei himself – with some apprehension – what idea one could have of this place in the past anyway that is at once pleasant, and on the other hand rather solemn and severe. We receive a firm and concrete answer:“Fonterutoli is the beating heart of the company where everything begins and where everything began, the world of the Mazzei family.”
‘Fonterutoli caput mundi.’ This is the concept that is still transmitted to the many guests of the estate. Francesco Mazzei boasts a long experience in the managerial field with companies that excel in holding the brand of ‘Made in Italy’ high in the world. The definition of the place as ‘a little pearl’ stems from the love for tradition and roots here; the sense of family is soon tangible to all guests who decide to spend a night in the charming apartments located in the centre of Fonterutoli.
The reaction in the face of such great beauty is enchantment with this subtle mix of medieval history and modernity, whose roots are firmly established and feed, day by day, the growth of a productive business. The choice not to present itself as a relais (‘inn’) – or any other form of venue understood as one thing on a structural level – is dictated precisely by the promotion of the Fonterutolese lifestyle. To date there are a total of seven property units, spread amongst the venerable streets to offer a total of nineteen rooms. With prestigious furnishings through which you can immerse yourself in the sober and elegant Tuscan style, without relinquishing any comfort; many of the furnishings and fixtures have ‘known’ the hand of blacksmith Tommaso Bernabei and carpenter Davide Bruni, whose stories you can find on othe pages here.
Guests are drawn into the village routine, with wine tastings and extensive gastronomic possibilities. The Osteria di Fonterutoli, after long and considered culinary research, has consolidated itself as a high-end restaurant. In 2017 the Società Orchestrale returned to its roots, its name is due to it being the venerable meeting point for the musicians of the families residing in the surrounding countryside, up to the Val D’Arbia. At one time, the art of playing an instrument was widespread amongst local families; so it was that Francesco’s great-grandfather decided to create a creative space for the formation of a band, for an orchestral society. Today with its long opening hours (every day from 7 to 22) you can enjoy a glass of wine accompanied by delicate snacks, have an aperitif with friends or drink an excellent coffee.
Despite the recent events that are changing the world, we have learned from young Lapo Mazzei of an ambitious project to enhance the activities related to the winery. The beginning of the hospitality track at the current cellar began in 2011; over the years there has been growing client demand and the type of guests themselves have broadened out.
The wine cellar visit is structured as a ‘wine experience’: technical, emotive, sophisticated. The goal is to experience it without predefined paths, passing through the vinification, the vat, the concept of working with gravitational flow. Finally, the curtain opens on the barriccaia, a theatrical scenography with details that condense into a refined show.
The focus of the year 2021 will be on promoting the products of the Fonterutoli estate – we should point out that the company also owns vineyards in Sicily and in the Tuscan Maremma.
In the cellar you can taste the wines from the local estate: the wide choice of tasting journeys divides into seven levels, two of which are with gastronomic selections that emphasize the wines. The most exclusive are the ‘Gran Selezione Experience and the ‘Siepi’, Supertuscan par excellence. The latter includes an off-road track to reach the oldest vineyard with a limited group of people having the privilege of a vertical tasting of various different vintages.
Pride and joy of the winery is the Wine Club, a visionary idea back in 2007, the year it was founded, and which nowadays boasts numerous supporters who return periodically to update on the latest wine news; Fonterutoli then takes on the appearance of a clubhouse. The new features are a newly inaugurated tennis court and a fleet of e-bikes. A wellness spa is on the way soon!
The most unique experience that completes the visitor offering network at Fonterutoli is trekking with craftsman Fabrizio Bernabei, who takes guests around in the surrounding countryside along the ridge of the vineyards that rises over panoramic views of the city of Siena and the Val d’Elsa. Participants will receive magnificent wooden walking sticks.
Fierce passion, great courage and far-sighted choices every day produce the magnificent and prodigious ‘light’ that invests Fonterutoli.