Badia a Colitbuono is often referred to as the Abbey of Good Culture, an apt description of this splendid Medieval and Renaissance wine estate and a well-deserved tribute to one of the world's finest cooking schools. Assuredly, Badia a Coltibuono is much more than a fine wine estate, it is way of life in which the past and present merge into living history. The home of Piero Stucchi-Prinetti and his wife Lorenza de'Medeci (of the de'Medeci family) and their children, Badia a Coltibuono has come to define the sophistication and taste of Tuscany.
For centuries the great wines estates of Tuscany were not commercial enterprises in the traditional sense. They were first and foremost the country estates of the Tuscan gentry, and in typical Latin fashion their doors remained closed, even to those in the trade. Certainly, these renowned fattorias sold their wares locally and abroad but the thought of opening their family farm to the public was next to unthinkable. In fact, until Piero Stucchi-Prinetti came on the scene, very few Tuscan estates even had a marketing budget let alone a plan to market or educate the world about the treasures of Tuscany: food, wine, and a centuries old cultural heritage that by the 1970's the world was clamoring to know. Consequently, thirty years ago, Piero Stucchi-Prinetti and Lorenza de'Medeci embarked upon a new course that has helped usher in the second Italian Renaissance in Tuscany. They threw open the portals to Badia a Coltibuono and began a new day.
An astute and forward thinking international businessman, the gregarious Piero Stucchi-Prinetti perceived both the public's interest in the good life, which was inherent to Badia a Coltibuono, and the economic need on the part of Chianti Classico producers to change with the times. Instinctively, he understood the need for marketing because the paradigms in the world of wine were not about to stand still; the wine Renaissance in California alone had seen to that. Moreover, he understood the value of marketing the great products his family produced, including their way of life. As a result, his first move was to transform the estate's old stable into a trattoria or restaurant, replete with the property's stunning view of the Arno valley and the distant Appenine Mountains. From near and far, the world came to feast on a cultured way of life as well as some of the finest food and wine around.
Piero Stucchi-Prinetti's next move was even more daring. He hired a full-time director of promotions and public relations – something no other Tuscan estate in the area had done. The result was the invitation of wine importers, distributors, retailers, writers, and a list of adoring aficionados. Overnight guests were brought to Coltibuono and a bona fide hospitality program had begun, but this would be just the beginning.
Lorenza de'Medeci, who was then already well known as the food editor of Vogue Italia and the author of many cookbooks, began cooking for events at Coltibuono, which attracted even greater acclaim for the family's estate and its fine Chianti Classico. Soon, Lorenza's kitchen became the home of The Villa Table, one of the world's most renowned cooking schools. In the school's nearly two decades of existence, thousands of international chefs and serious amateur cooks have passed through the portals of Badia a Coltibuono to share the ancient abbey's renown as the guardian of traditional Tuscan cooking and the purveyor of the allure and mystic of Tuscany. As of this writing Lorenza Medeci has published thirty individual books on regional cuisine.
Today, Piero and Lorenza's children Emanuela and Roberto are the present mangers of the Coltibuono wine estate, while the couple's two other sons Paolo and Guido manage the family's now famous restaurant. Coltibuono remains one of the world's greatest producers of Chianti Classico as well as extra virgin olive oil. And as one would expect, Badia a Coltibuono remains a legend in its own time.