The Frescobaldi History
History of Frescobaldi
For 700 years and 30 generations, agriculture and viticulture has been the predominant activity of the Frescobaldi family.
The history of the Frescobaldi family, began around 1000 years ago, when the first exponents of the family migrated from the Val di Pesa to Florence, more accurately "Castillione Vallis Pease", today know as Castiglioni.
They settled in "oltrarno", Florence and built the lodge and tower, which is still visible today next to the Palazzo Frescobaldi. The family was involved in banking, joining the corporation "Arte del Cambio" and other activities in the arts, along with merchant trading in wool and silk.
The family's wine making history begins, when Berto de Frescobaldi's sons inherit a rural property, which included villas, flour mills, vineyards, orchards and small sections of land. The Frescobaldi’s wines were exported to Belgium and England, where the family became the royal supplier as well as the courts' official bankers.
The Frescobaldi devoted themselves to finance, arts and literature in addition to winemaking. Dino, the poet who wrote "Dolce stil Novo" headed a movement and smuggled parts of the "Divine Comedy's" manuscript to his good friend Dante Aligheri. Toward the end of the century, Leonardo Frescobaldi visited the holy land, which he described in an important historical and literary document.
During their most prosperous period, between the 1400s and 1500s, the Frescobaldi family opened several commercial branches, not only in England and Belgium but also in the eastern parts of the Mediterranean, from Constantinople to Damascus. Their many pursuits brought them as far as China. Among their activities, the family financed Fiovanni da Empoli’s expedition, which sailed as far as Kerala, at the southern peninsula of India. Meanwhile back at home, the castle Nipozzano was transformed from a fortress to a stylish residence, becoming the center of rural activities for the surrounding country side. The wines from this area began to enrich the family’s already well stocked cellars.
Due to the prosperous family commerce, Frescobaldi’s wine diffused across and beyond the Florentine state. A well preserved parchment scroll from the family private archives details a purchase of wine by Henry the VIII, King of England.
Other original letters kept by the family testify that even the pope and famous artists were among those who purchased large quantities of Frescobaldi wine. Donatello and his workshop were regular customers of the family, as well as Michelozzo Micelozzi.
From the pages of "Bacco in Toscana" a 1600s manuscript by Francesco Redi, it details the virtues of Pomino Wine.
However in the 1600s after a scandalous incident, called the"Angelic Ball" (a dance party where guest ended up dancing naked), Bartolomeo Frescobaldi was excommunicated by Pope Clemente XI. In order to be pardoned, Frescobaldi had to walk to Rome and promise the pope he would fund the construction of forty churches in Val di Pesa.
At the same time, the family's ties with the arts world were strengthened, by Gerolamo, a famous organ player, from Ferrara who was later appointed Pontiff in Rome.
Pomino's wines cited by Francesco Redi in the 1600s remain the leaders among Italian wines.
The quality of Pomino wines was testified and recognized by the grand duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de Medici, who was nominated Pomino as one of the four best regions in Tuscany for wine production. It was the year 1716, exactly 140 years before the birth of the French "Grand Cru Classe" classification system for Bordeaux wines.
Marquise Vittorio degli Albizzi ancestor of the Frescobaldi, was born in the castle of "la Breuille" in Burgundy. He moved to Florence in 1855, to manage the inherited family properties. With great delight, Vittorio discovered that Pomino was a unique environment and with great potential as a production site in Tuscany. Pomino’s mountainous area is rich in vineyards, conifer woodlands, chestnut trees, and olive trees. The climate is cool, dry, and windy with noticeable temperature changes between day and night and from season to season, displaying short vegetative cycles.
An experienced vine grower in his native Burgundy, Vittorio was the first in Tuscany to seek the specialized cultivation of grapes, which was until then unusual at such altitudes. The "early ripening grape varieties" Vittorio degli Albizzzi planted, were chardonnay, pinot blanc, gris and noir, cabernet and merlot. They were introduced in Pomino for the first time in Tuscany in 1855.
The first time in Italy, two international wine producers, Frescobaldi and Robert Mondavi created a joint venture and combined their viticulture experiences to create the perfect expression of the best vineyards at Montalcino.
Both families have been committed to creating an Italian wine of elegance and superior quality, with distinctive style and unmistakable character.
Frescobaldi and Mondavi used their shared philosophy that fine wine begins with the vine and set out to find the best vineyard sites in Montalcino, Tuscany for the production of Luce della Vite.
The Frescobaldi family has always succeeded in understanding and anticipating change by successfully combining their experiences with innovation.
For 700 years and 30 generations, agriculture and wine production have been the predominant features of the Frescobaldi family business.
As the most prestigious Tuscan wine producers, the Frescobaldi's have been leading the viticulture revolution worldwide since the end of the last millennium.
The latest generation of Frescobaldi's (Lamberto, Tiziana, Stefano and Diana Frescobaldi) are taking over their families heritage as the newcomers that have chosen to follow in the footsteps of their family, to lead the business toward renewed success. For them, the past has a future.