Mona Lisa’s Home Villa in Chianti

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V was built by the Gherardini in the 14th century, after the Florentine Republic destroyed their Castle situated in Montegonzi on the opposite side of the Greve river in 1302.

In 1360 Accerrito di Cione Gherardini, by then an elderly gentleman in financial straights, sold the Medieval building to Benedetto Gherardi, on condition that he might stay in the house until his death. In the 16th century the Gherardi rebuilt the villa in Renaissance style: the facade has rusticated stone doorways and corbelled windows whose fine pietra serena features are set against the warm rose shade of the plaster. The beautiful Renaissance Italian garden is formed by boxwood hedges and decorated with terracotta statues.

The famous Mona Lisa portrayed by Leonardo was a member of the Gherardini family, the daughter of Anton Maria Gherardini, born in 1479. The villa belonged to the Gherardi until 1886, when it was bought by the Sanminiatelli, who restored it.

The present owner began a further restoration of Villa di Vignamaggio and its garden in 1988, also renovating the cellars and vineyards. More specifically, with the introduction of modern oenological farming methods, the cellars have been equipped with advanced wine making equipment that controls the temperature, and French or Slavonic oak barrels have replaced the old barrels. In the last few years approximately 20 hectares of vineyards have been planted according to modern criteria. At present the estate extends over 160 hectares, of which 55 are vineyards and 11 olive groves, all in the heart of the Chianti Classico area. The estate’s production includes an excellent DOP extra-virgin olive oil, a DOCG Chianti Classico and a very fine DOC Chianti Classico vinsanto, which is aged for 4 years in oak kegs. Finally two excellent grappas, one “young” and one “aged”, are made at a small distillery from the dregs of the estate’s best grapes.

Villa di Vignamaggio welcomes its guests in the friendly environment that characterize Agriturismos, but combines this with very high quality hospitality. The rooms and apartments are in old farmhouses that have be carefully restored and finely Garnished with antiques and benefit from a daily cleaning service. All the rooms have a direct telephone line, a mini-fridge, a spacious modern bathroom and air conditioning. Some of the apartments have a Jacuzzi.

Dinners with traditional Tuscan menus are organized for guests twice a week. For sport lovers, there is a tennis court, a ping-pong and billiard room, a fully equipped gym, mountain bikes and two swimming pools. Moreover, the spa offers “wine therapy” treatments, Turkish baths and Jacuzzi baths. There is an outdoor children’s play area for the younger guests.
On request, the estate organizes guided tours of the garden and of the cellars, which include a tasting of the estate’s products. Finally, a wine-bar is always open for light meals and a glass of wine.
The official website is www.vignamaggio.com.

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