Image of Marchese Francesco Mazzei greeting guests outside his family home in Tuscany

Under the Tuscan sun, immerse yourself in fine vintages and fascinating conversation at the sublime Castello di Fonterutoli. Take a timeless journey with us to Italy on a Founder’s Collection departure and be personally welcomed into the home of La Famiglia Mazzei, the renowned Tuscan winemaking family.

An exclusive invitation from la Famiglia Mazzei

For over six centuries, ‘la Famiglia Mazzei’ has dedicated itself to winemaking, with a passion and commitment handed down from one generation to the next. In 1938, Ser Lapo Mazzei became known as the pioneer of Chianti Classico, as the author of the first document known to mention ‘Chianti.’ Then in 1435, when Ser Lapo’s granddaughter Madonna Smeralda Mazzei married Piero di Agnolo from Fonterutoli, the Castello di Fonterutoli estate became a family heritage.

Enjoy an exclusive lunch and wine-tasting with either Marchese Francesco Mazzei or his grandson Lapo Mazzei, at their centuries-old Tuscan estate. Through this intimate meet and greet, learn about the family themselves, their beautiful home, the Mazzei wine dynasty and how they are preserving the local eco system for future generations.

Experience this on a Founder’s Collection departure of Ultimate Italy

Castello di Fonterutoli


“My family has owned Castello di Fonterutoli since 1435, so for 25 generations. We’ve been living here forever, it’s our paradise,” Marchese Francesco Mazzei explains.

Set in the picturesque village of Fonterutoli, Castello di Fonterutoli is more than a winery. This small rural settlement is located in the heart of Chianti Classico between Florence and Siena and is considered one of the most important institutions of Chianti Classico and Tuscany.

Built at the end of the 1500’s, the Marchesi Mazzei have taken care to preserve the authentic charm and atmosphere of the village, and today it retains much of its original spirit. Cobbled paths, beautiful rustic buildings decorated by rose pink flowers and a strong community prevail. Visitors can enjoy a coffee in the village bar, a chat with the locals or, of course, sip some famous Castello di Fonterutoli wines.

You may also be interested to read: Making it personal: How Travel Concierge Anna elevates your Italy experience

Ancestors celebrated through their wines


The Mazzei family describe their wines as ‘the maximum expression of their terroirs.’ Maybe one of their most renowned products is the ‘Siepi’. Credited as ‘one of the 50 wines that changed Italy’s wine style’ this has been produced by the Mazzei family since 1435.

Much of the family history is told through its wines. With their outstanding ‘Chianti Classico Riserva’, the Marquis Mazzei celebrate their notable ancestor Ser Lapo, and a sublime vintage namedPhilip’ is dedicated to Philip Mazzei (1730-1816). An illustrious ancestor and political thinker, together with Thomas Jefferson, Philip was a pioneer of the viticulture in Virginia.

Captivating stories and connections

As part of your visit, you will have the opportunity to see inside the impressive wine cellars. This vast space is taken up by thousands of barrels, all decorated with the Mazzei family’s official stamp. On your tour you will learn about the various vintages, and the barrelling process.

“If I could bring anyone here, past or present, it would have to be Thomas Jefferson. He was a real wine connoisseur,” Marchese Francesco Mazzei tells us. Jefferson also happened to be a close friend of Francesco’s ancestor, Filippo Mazzei, and was a Founding Father of the United States, contributing to the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Filippo Mazzei is credited for being the inspiration behind one of its famous quotes: “All men are by nature equally free and independent. Such equality is necessary in order to create a free government,” something later acknowledged by President John F. Kennedy in his book, “A Nation of Immigrants”.

You may also enjoy reading: This little gelateria in San Gimignano may just serve the best gelato in all of Italy

Natural treatments in the vineyard


Guaranteeing the stability of the ecosystem and its biodiversity is very important to the Mazzei family. At Castello di Fonterutoli and their other estates, they’ve eliminated chemicals for weeding and recycle their production waste (shoots, grape stalks, olive pomace, and horse manure) as organic fertilizer.

To reduce their carbon footprint and preserve of the surrounding landscape, they’ve adopted various methods, including their ledge-shaped terraced vineyards. This reduces erosion and preserves the heritage of the landscape.

Water is used carefully, including as a natural coolant for the wine cellar. Through the recycling of the fast flowing spring water through the rock walls of the cellar, no climate control system is required.

An elegant and intimate lunch


Traditional Tuscan dishes, reinterpreted in a gourmet-style await you in the family’s osteria. This quaint restaurant, surrounded by stunning views of the rolling Tuscan countryside, is where Founder’s Collection guests enjoy an exclusive and delicious rustic meal during their trip to Castello di Fonterutoli.

Sip some more of the estate’s wines and dine on dishes made exclusively with fresh, seasonal local produce. Each plate respects the Tuscan heritage, with a particular eye to the wild game that roams wild in the estate’s meadows and woodlands.

To accept your exclusive invitation to meet with la Famiglia Mazzei, join us on a Founders Collection departure of Ultimate Italy
With our Founders Collection, we take you even further beyond your expectations. This is our exclusive collection of intimate invitations to meet European nobility, legendary locals and celebrated icons. Available on selected Luxury Gold departures, spend time with the people who have shaped the history of the places you are visiting.