Nature, wines, art and culture on the slopes of Amiata
by Paolo Valdastri, ph. Archivio Colle Massari
It’s the Tuscany you never expect, the one far from mass tourism, the one for those who appreciate nature, sweeping views but also art and history. We’re in Maremma between Grosseto and Siena and close to the wine sanctuaries of Montalcino, Montepulciano and Val d’Orcia. The great cone-shaped Mount Amiata, the extinct volcano, imposes its immanent presence everywhere. At the end of the 90s of the last century some enlightened, foreign entrepreneurs, enchanted by the wild nature and the history of these places, created some important wineries here, not before having restored ancient castles and relaunched the production of wine and oil. The most important ones are Castello di Potentino, Castello di Porrona, Colle Massari. The itinerary starts at the foot of Amiata, from the hamlet of Seggiano. Potentino is a productive and hospitality concern of extraordinary beauty. The restoration works have preserved its charm of past times intact and in this atmosphere you can stay at the evocative bed and breakfast. The driving force of this business is Charlotte Horton, Alexander Greene’s sister, journalist, 2013 Barclay’s Woman of Achievement, keen enologist, organizer of exhibitions and concerts. Charlotte and Alexander take great care of their guests, accompanying them on their daily activities, cookery and cheese-making courses, walks in search of edible herbs, horseback rides at a gallop. Their wines are especially appreciated, made mainly from Sangiovese and Pinot Nero, fine, elegant, scented and sapid. From Potentino the Ombrone valley is reached where we find Castello di Porrona, nowadays belonging to the Targes de Rochefort family. You can stay in one of the 25 luxuriously furnished rooms and appreciate the cuisine of the fine restaurant. Rising close by is the squared outline of the medieval Castello di Colle Massari. It was bought by the financial group of the Bertarelli family in 1998. Close to the castle is the new cellar of Tenuta Colle Massari, designed by the architect, Edoardo Milesi. The estate is found at 320metres above sea level on a plateau facing the Tyrennhian Sea and enjoys a favourable microclimate. The company is open for visits and offers varied kinds of stays in the area. Thanks to the owners’ passion for art and music, the Amiata Piano Festival was born in 2005 with a season of concerts of a certain caliber. The concerts are held in the very modern and charming Bertarelli Music Hall, an auditorium seating 300 people, also built on top of a hill with a view spreading over a green sea of hillocks, amongst vineyards and olive groves, dominated by the presence of Amiata.