16-07-2018 / Web article

THE LITTLE STORY OF: Poggio al Vento Castle



Castello Poggio al Vento is a place steeped in beauty and tradition and owes much to the Pruneti family who, since the 1960s, believed in its history and have therefore restored the structure making it available to guests who want to spend their holiday breathing the Chianti. Pauline Pruneti, art historian and Florentine guide, together with Valentina Grandi, technical director of TBA Holidays, let us discover the various rooms of the castle and add to the tour of the house anecdotes and memories that give life to the environment . The castle is located on a hill on the right bank of the Pesa, in an optimal position from a strategic point of view as it dominates from one side the Val di Pesa up to Tavarnelle, on the other the Chianti hills up to Panzano. The structure, its gates and its walls date back to the times of San Giovanni Gualberto and belonged to the monks of Badia who restored the roof in 1179. Later the inhabitants of the village Poggio al Vento decided to rebel against the abbey monks and became a independent municipality that elected its consuls, so as not to be subject to the law of Badia. Pauline's father bought the house in 1966, after the building had been abandoned for several years.

The father sifted all the Chianti to look for a rural house to buy, thus finding the castle; Pauline remembers when she accompanied her father to help him with the small restoration works before the complete renovation. The house is full of childhood memories and demonstrates all the efforts of the father first and of the daughters later, to save such an artistic and cultural heritage. Beyond the entrance courtyard there is the dining room, which was probably the ancient monks' refectory - there is still the washbasin used by them to wash their hands before the meal as provided by the ritual tradition. The fireplace that dominates the room is original and fully functional. The restoration was designed by Pauline and the architect in charge, so as to preserve most of the original features: it is in fact a property bound by the superintendency to monumental assets and the changes have therefore been limited.

For example, the walls are white-washed, restored, trying to recover old material. The Ginori dishes, the oldest porcelain factory in Italy, are present inside the cupboard, which are a tradition in Tuscan residences. The restored kitchen has a window that opens onto a wonderful landscape that has remained almost unchanged over the centuries; you can admire most of the Chianti, the villages of Panzano, Radda, Rignana and Sicelle with their recognizable churches and farmhouses, symbols of tradition. Around the castle there are also numerous vineyards, wine being one of the typical products of Chianti. This room has been restored using old marbles and not throwing anything away in the perfect Florentine style. The fireplaces are all usable and keep inside the cooking tools for the meat. Many tools of peasant life have been preserved by Pauline's parents, such as the flour and sieve shovel.

Crossing the beautiful restored doors you arrive in one of the bedrooms, from which there is a wonderful view of the Tuscan countryside, to which a bathroom has been added adjacent to the original project with glazed terracotta tiles produced by a craft shop nearby of the dwelling. Pauline called the room "Room of the Swallows", because during the period of restoration there was a nest of swallows on the ceiling beams that the masons have protected until the birth of the young. Inside there are antique furniture and Florentine crafts, as well as a collection of prints by Pauline's father and photos of families. The neighboring bedroom is nicknamed "Room of the fig tree" or "Bomb room": during the second war the ceiling had been hit by a shard of bomb and from the space left a fig tree had grown, which when the father bought the property, had also reached the floor above. The bathroom has a special open shower, positioned in the passage between the bathroom and the rest of the room, to give a sense of freedom and harmony between the spaces. The locks are the original ones, restored by a blacksmith nearby, which are accompanied by large bunches of keys that, as Pauline recalls, amaze guests accustomed to modern locking systems and easy to carry. The garden is perfect for relaxing while taking advantage of the view from inside the pool installed, for lunch or dinner outdoors and for children to play free. Beyond the garden stands the chapel of Sant'Andrea, currently undergoing restoration by the Scuola di Res