Azienda Agricola Ferrale
Villa del Ferrale n. 58 Vinci (FI)
|The Ferrale estate is to be found in the hills surrounding Vinci, near the house in which Leonardo was born. From the terraces of its garden there are wonderful views of the country round about and of the old town with the church of Santa Croce and the castle of the Conti Guidi. The latter which was built in about 1000 suffered during the Guelf-Ghibelline conflicts, and on account of its strategic position was also involved in the border fighting between Florence, Lucca and Pisa. At present the castle houses the «Museo Leonardiano» , with its models, reconstructions and documentary material on the great artist and scientist.
The landscape which surrounds the sobre and elegant villa is among the richest and most suggestive in Tuscany: vast streches of olive-grave display colours of indescribable beauty, and the outline of the hills draw the eye gently down to the valley beneath.
Although the present aspect of Ferrale is nineteenth-century, it stands on the foundations of a much more ancient building. This is apparent not. only from documents but also from the massive remains in certain parts of the villa.
Ferrale is linked to the name of Leonardo because the Casa di Anchiano, his reputed birth-place, was at one rime part of the estate. Emanuele Repetti, the nineteenth-century
historian, wrote: «Wishing to visit the abode where the great man is said to have been born. I reparied to Vinci to the estate of Masetti del Ferrale…».
The principal construction, in a panoramic position, is flanked by farm buildings, and the entire complex is surrounded by a park with talI trees. At the north-eastern comer of the garden is a chapel dedicated to St Anthony and St Francis. This small building, distinguished by the elegance of its form and proportions, was consecrated in the eighteenth century; there are mentions of it in the pastoral records preserved in the episcopal archive of Pistoia.
The agricultural tradition of these farms is documented far back into history. A manuscript in the State Archive in Florence states that a certain Cecco di Puccio bought on 4 March 1332, from the Adimari, houses, lanci and an olive-press at Ferrale, and today as in the past olives picked by hand in the traditional way are pressed in the farm’s own press, so as to guarantee a product of the highest quality. The extra-virgin oil thus obtained preserves the taste and natural fragrance of the mature fruit, offering the consumer the high organoleptic and dietic properties of this healthy and precious comestible.
It recognition of its merits Ferrale oil has recently been admitted to the Laudemio association. The Chianti DOCG is also excellent, a rich dry wine which encloses within its bouquet all the flavours of this area. Filled with this and other produce, the Ferrale cellars are a real treansure-house. As well as oil and Chianti, we also bottle good white wine, pleasant supante Brut and superb Vin Santo.
We’d like in conclusion to quote Repetti: «… but more grandiose work is to be carried out by the owner of Ferrale and Anchiano, who every day seeks to improve the place, to the advantage of his farm which one could well call a veritable model of agriculture».