Private Italian Villa Tours Tuscany & Umbria

Wimco's villa guests in Tuscany and Umbria can also purchase a private tour and lunch at each of two historic locations, Villa Bianchi Baldinelli and Castello Romitorio.

Villa Bianchi Baldinelli is an historic landmark shown world-over in Bernardo Bertolucci's movie Stealing Beauty. The property since 1527 has been in the hands of the noble family of Siena Bianchi Baldinelli (Rolando Bandinelli became the great Pope Alessandro III who defeated Fredrick Redbeard, Emperor of Germany in 1150). The original villa was transformed into a country villa in the 18th century and Niccolo Bandinelli produced wines for export to England.

Today guests can sip the results of the forebears as the family produces today a Chianti Classico and Riserva.

The villa is sited on grounds and gardens encompassing three levels rich in lemon trees and hedges, with an open theater with stone stage, a small chapel and the wine cellar, all completely surrounded by a wall with six gates. Inside the villa are original furnishings and frescoed rooms.

It is located in Castelnuovo Berardenga near Pianella, Siena, the most southern region of Chianti, on lands known as Castelnuovo that belonged to the Berardenga family. In 1260 at Montaperti (which lies in Castelnuovo), there was a fight in which the Guelfi beat the Ghibellini. In the town is the Tower of the 16th century and the Villa Chigi Saracini from the 18th century. On the outskirts of the town, one should see the castle of Montalto and. located in Vagliagli, in the heart of the Chianti Classico, the 16th cent. Fortezza dell'Aiola.

Andrea Bosco Bandinelli guide the visit and explains his wines during lunch.

Castello Romitorio isa massive 12th century stone fortress on a Montalcino hilltop overlooking the fertile lands that produce the estate's five red and one white wine under the label Castello Romitorio. These include Brunello di Montalicin and Bria. Olive oils are also produced here. Today this estate is owned by and in the early 1980s was restored by the world-famous painter Sandro Chia who, born in Florence, today, divides his time between here and New York.

Lunch is taken in the courtyard of the castle.

Montalcino, 40 km from Siena, takes its name from the holm oaks that used to cover the hillsides. Its history is rife with the struggles of the ancient powers of Siena and the Medicis and, more recently, the 19th century Risorgimento, the 1920s facists and the World War II Germans. Nearby is the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo (1118), reputedly one of the most beautiful Romanseque monastic churches in existence.

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