The borgo

Your very own Tuscan village

For centuries, the borgo of Fonterutoli has been the heart of the Mazzei family’s Chianti Classico estate.

In Italian, a borgo is a small rural settlement. The ancient Florentine stronghold of Fonterutoli, which stands on the via Chiantigiana between Castellina in Chianti and Siena, is a typical example. A cluster of simple but lovingly crafted stone houses, it was built to provide accommodation for the estate’s farmworkers and their families. It still does – but today, the village’s permanent residents are joined by guests from all over the world, who from the day of their arrival become part of the life of this vibrant little community.

The marchesi Mazzei have taken care to preserve the traditional atmosphere and authentic charm of a village that includes the small church of San Miniato and the fortified castle which is the family home. The view towards Siena from the borgo is one immortalised in countless painting and photographs, dominated by the outline of the Duomo and the famous Palazzo Pubblico tower.

A long tradition of hospitality

Since time immemorial, Fonterutoli has been a resting post for wayfarers on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim road from Canterbury to Rome. In 1435, when her family purchased the estate, Madonna Esmeralda Mazzei created a traveller’s inn here that was run along very modern lines.

The atmosphere in Fonterutoli today retains much of that original spirit. Guest accommodation is today scattered around the bustling village. Whether staying with us or just passing through, visitors can sample Castello di Fonterutoli wines, stop for a coffee in the village bar or simply take a seat and observe daily life in this tiny rural community.

Fonterutoli in history ...

Fonterutoli's origins are buried deep in antiquity. The Etruscans and Romans were familiar with this place, which they called Fons Rutolae or Fons Rutilant (clear spring).

In the Middle Ages, Fonterutoli was thrust onto the stage of history. In 998, Holy Roman Emperor Otto III ended a long-running controversy between the powerful bishoprics of Siena, Fiesole and Arezzo, penning a treaty here – commemorated by a plaque in the centre of the borgo – which fixed their borders and property rights. In 1202 and 1208, two peace treaties between Florence and Siena were signed in Fonterutoli, assigning control over the Chianti zone to Florence.

... Fonterutoli in legend

Legend relates that in order to end the long war between Siena and Florence over control of the Chianti area, the two exhausted foes opted for an original solution. The border would be drawn at the point where two horsemen met after setting out from their respective cities at first cock crow. The Florentines selected a black cockerel which they put on a starvation diet. As a result, the famished bird began to crow well before dawn, allowing the Florentine horseman to set out earlier and cover far more ground, meeting the Sienese rider at Fonterutoli, almost within sight of Siena itself.

Fact or fiction, Fonterutoli came to mark the boundary of Florence's territory, which ran through Castellina, Radda and Gaiole. The Military and Administrative League of Chianti was formed, taking the black cockerel as its emblem.

Fonterutoli is the headquarters of the Mazzei company and the heart of the Castello di Fonterutoli estate, which extends over 650 hectares (1600 acres), 117 hectares (290 acres) of which are under vine. Over time, new vineyards were added, scattered across the estate, to form a fascinating mosaic of plots that vary in altitude from 220 to 570 metres (720-1870 ft) above sea level. This is just one of the elements that makes Fonterutoli so unique.

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