For our English readers here is a rough translation!
There were those who told us that the fusion with Montalcino would only serve the inhabitants of San Giovanni d’ Asso and that the latter would become a kind of “colony” of the Brunello territory. Instead, the new municipal administration now has a fascinating and willing deputy mayor of San Giovanni – Angelo Braconi – with a strong propensity for marketing. And now there is a means of information in Italian and English created to tell residents and tourists what beautiful and engaging things happens in the area. Montisi is a mouse of 335 inhabitants, but it roars!!
In truth, the most beautiful thing is the spirit of the Montisanis, one of solidarity, warm and full of desire to do… that is to do all together. Montisi is an authentic jewel with the castle covered by curved streets that climb uphill, winding like a snail round the stone walls of the houses. It was the castle of the Cacciaconti degli Scialenga, the feudal lords against whom they rebelled until they were attacked and subjugated by Simone Cacciaconti in 1292, who entered by burning the houses, killing the inhabitants and plundering the farms. A character so hated that he is still remembered today in the Giostra di Simone (Sunday closest to August 5) established in 1972, inspired by the chivalrous tournaments of the past.
The historical and artistic heritage is impressive: the parish church of Santissima Annunziata, just restored, contains a spectacular altarpiece by Neroccio di Bartolomeo (1496). La Grancia la Fortezza farmhouse has one of the smallest theatres in Italy with only 58 places, where however there are cultural events of great importance such as the festival Solo Belcanto established in 2017 on the initiative of Silvia Mannucci Benincasa and Giovanni Vitali. It is held every year in the last two weekends of August and is dedicated to opera music. Since it began, guests of Solo Belcanto have been entertained by internationally renowned artists such as Jessica Pratt, Chris Merritt and Roberto de Candia.
There is also the Piccola Accademia of Montisi, a musical association founded in 2007 by Bruce Kennedy and Alan Curtis, both internationally renowned harpsichordists.
The first is considered the best concert harpsichord manufacturer in the world with a workshop in nearby Castelmuzio. The academy’s headquarters is located in a small building with a 12th century tower and houses ancient harpsichord and virginals (17th and 18th century) from England, France, Germany and Italy. A treasure that makes the master classes organized by the Piccola Accademia something unique and able to attract young talents from all over the world.
Not surprisingly, Montisi is a place full of surprises. A place where the millionaires go to the bar with peasant clothes, because while in Montalcino the super rich invest to be seen, here the super rich live because nobody can see them.
In Montisi, the ratio of Champagne consumed by the population is higher than that of Epernay. Gianluca Monaci of the Barrino is an ambassador of the best French bubbles, but also holder of one of the premises where over 1,000 bottles of Ferrari sparkling wine are consumed every year.
Then there is Vitis Vinifera, a treasure chest carved into the rock by the famous enologist Maurizio Castelli and his wife Antonella Piredda.
And the Taverna di Montisi, where Roberto procures the ingredients of his dishes through an indefatigable pilgrimage to farmers and craftsmen who are more attentive to the environment and quality.
A small world to enjoy that smells of white truffle but is also supportive and does not leave anyone in need. This is Montisi, a hamlet acquired by the municipality of Montalcino after the merger with San Giovanni d’ Asso. It is 8 km from the Fattoria del Colle and to get there I pass in front of the road sign “Montalcino” that widens my heart and makes me feel at home.
Subscribe to the site of the mountains and Montalcino and come to this corner of Tuscany that kidnaps the heart.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini October 2017