Castello di Fonterutoli ☆☆

A suite, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy (Photo courtesy of the property)
A suite

A countryside B&B scattered around the buildings of an ancient Chianti hamlet and estate

, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy
, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy
, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy
, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy
, Castello di Fonterutoli, Chianti, Italy

In the heart of Tuscany’s Chianti Classico region, at the top of a rise along the road from Castellina to Siena, is the small village of stone houses and flowering vines that has been home to the Mazzei Marquises since 1435. Just down the main street, across from the enoteca (wine bar) serving the estate’s fine wines, is a shop window displaying a blown-up copy of a 40¢ U.S. postage stamp. It says “Philip Mazzei, Patriot Remembered” and honors family ancestor Filippo Mazzei, one of the unsung fathers of our country. 

After meeting Ben Franklin in London, the Tuscan doctor and merchant decided to bring viticulture to Virginia in 1773 and ended up becoming one of the intellectual luminaries of the Revolutionary movement. In a series of firebrand letters to a The Virginia Gazette (translated from Italian by his multitalented neighbor Thomas Jefferson), the planter and revolutionary once wrote that “All men are, by nature, equally free and independent”—a sentiment Jefferson later paraphrased into: “all men are created equal.” Filippo’s adventures eventually led him to Poland, Russia, and France, but most of the Mazzei clan was happy to remain in Tuscany, tending their 289 acres of vineyards as they have for 24 generations. 

A wonderful example of the kind of old, centralized aristocratic agricultural estate that has vanished from much of Italy, Fonterutoli has been preserved largely because the Mazzei still own, operate, and inhabit it.

Of course, these days it no longer take a village full of peasants to run even a large farm, so the Marquis has converted several of the old houses into rental apartments and B&B rooms and installed a swimming pool with vineyard views. Three of the apartments share the elongated village square with the family villa and San Miniato church. The lodgings are large, simple, and genuine. The sizeable rooms of stone walls, working fireplaces, open-beamed ceilings, and terracotta floors are filled with nondescript, slightly battered furnishings that are old without being antique—just like a real home.

A fourth unit, named “Roseto” for the rose bushes climbing its walls, occupies the upper story of the house just off the piazza where the Marquis’s grandchildren live. Inside it’s an odd but pleasing mix of post-modern, antique, and Asian décor, and while it can be rented as an apartment for a party of six, it usually operates as a three-room B&B. Well-placed windows and skylights in the common room and large kitchen fill it with sunlight, and each double bedroom has its own bathroom and private entrance.

There are three more apartments—named after local grapes and wines: Galestro, Malvasia, and Sangiovese—located a mile and a half from the main village in the satellite hamlet of Il Caggio, home to several farmworkers and Fonterutoli’s wine cellars.

Other than a lack of washing machines and slightly lower rates, there’s little to set these lodgings apart from the ones up in the village.

Rates vary according to season and room size.

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Photo gallery
  • A suite, Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo courtesy of the property)
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
  • , Castello di Fonterutoli, Italy (Photo )
 

Tips

About the lodging star ratings (☆☆☆ to ★★★)

You will notice that all hotels, B&Bs, and other lodgingds (as well as sights and restaurants) on this site have a ReidsItaly.com star designation from ☆☆☆ to ★★★.

This merely indicates that I feel these accommodations offer a little something that makes them special (or extra-special, or extra-extra special, etc.).

These star ratings are entirely based on personal opinion, and have nothing to do with the official Italian hotel ratings—which have more to do with quantifiable amenities such as minibars, and not the intangibles that make a hotel truly stand out, like a combination of great location, friendly owners, nice style, and low prices.

In general, a pricier place to stay has to impress me that it is worth the added expense.

This is why I give ★★★ to some (official) "two-star" hotels or B&Bs that happen to provide amazing value for the money—and similarly have ranked a few (official) "four-star" properties just (★★☆).

About the lodging price brackets (€–€€€)

Accommodations rates vary wildly—even at the same hotel or B&B—depending on type of room, number of people in it, and the season.

That's why here at ReidsItaly.com we simply provde a general price range indicating the rough rate you should expect to pay for a standard double room in mid-season.

There are three price ranges, giving you a sense of which lodgings are budget, which are moderate, and which are splurges:

under €100
€€ €100–€200
€€€ over €200
Useful Italian phrases

Useful Italian for lodging

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...a hotel un albergo oon al-BEAR-go
...a B&B un bed-and-breakfast oon bet hand BREK-fust
...a rental room un'affittacamera oon ah-feet-ah-CAH-mair-ra
...an apartment for rent un appartamento oon ah-part-tah-MENT-toh
...a farm stay un agriturismo oon ah-gree-tour-EES-moh
...a hostel un ostello oon oh-STEHL-loh
     
How much is...? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
a single room una singola OO-nah SEEN-go-la
double room for single use [will often be offered if singles are unavailable] doppia uso singola DOPE-pee-ya OO-so SEEN-go-la
a double room with two beds una doppia con due letti OO-nah DOPE-pee-ya cone DOO-way LET-tee
a double room with one big bed una matrimoniale OO-nah mat-tree-moan-nee-YAAL-lay
triple room una tripla OO-nah TREE-plah
with private bathroom con bagno cone BAHN-yoh
without private bathroom senza bagno [they might say con bagno in comune—"with a communal bath"] SEN-zah BAHN-yoh
for one night per una notte pair OO-nah NOH-tay
for two nights per due notti pair DOO-way NOH-tee
for three nights per tre notti pair tray NOH-tee
Is breakfast included? É incluso la prima colazione? ay in-CLOO-soh lah PREE-mah coal-laht-zee-YOAN-nay
Is there WiFi? C'é WiFi? chay WHY-fy?
May I see the room? Posso vedere la camera? POH-soh veh-DAIR-eh lah CAH-mair-rah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
Is there a cheaper one? C'é una più economica? chay OO-nah pew eh-ko-NO-mee-kah


 

Basic phrases in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) pro-nun-see-YAY-shun
thank you grazie GRAT-tzee-yay
please per favore pair fa-VOHR-ray
yes si see
no no no
Do you speak English? Parla Inglese? PAR-la een-GLAY-zay
I don't understand Non capisco non ka-PEESK-koh
I'm sorry Mi dispiace mee dees-pee-YAT-chay
How much is it? Quanto costa? KWAN-toh COST-ah
That's too much É troppo ay TROH-po
     
Good day Buon giorno bwohn JOUR-noh
Good evening Buona sera BWOH-nah SAIR-rah
Good night Buona notte BWOH-nah NOTE-tay
Goodbye Arrivederci ah-ree-vah-DAIR-chee
Excuse me (to get attention) Scusi SKOO-zee
Excuse me (to get past someone) Permesso pair-MEH-so
     
Where is? Dov'é doh-VAY
...the bathroom il bagno eel BHAN-yoh
...train station la ferroviaria lah fair-o-vee-YAR-ree-yah
to the right à destra ah DEH-strah
to the left à sinistra ah see-NEEST-trah
straight ahead avanti [or] diritto ah-VAHN-tee [or] dee-REE-toh
information informazione in-for-ma-tzee-OH-nay

Days, months, and other calendar items in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
When is it open? Quando é aperto? KWAN-doh ay ah-PAIR-toh
When does it close? Quando si chiude? KWAN-doh see key-YOU-day
At what time... a che ora a kay O-rah
     
Yesterday ieri ee-YAIR-ee
Today oggi OH-jee
Tomorrow domani doh-MAHN-nee
Day after tomorrow dopo domani DOH-poh doh-MAHN-nee
     
a day un giorno oon je-YOR-no
Monday Lunedí loo-nay-DEE
Tuesday Martedí mar-tay-DEE
Wednesday Mercoledí mair-coh-lay-DEE
Thursday Giovedí jo-vay-DEE
Friday Venerdí ven-nair-DEE
Saturday Sabato SAH-baa-toh
Sunday Domenica doh-MEN-nee-ka
     
Mon-Sat Feriali fair-ee-YAHL-ee
Sun & holidays Festivi feh-STEE-vee
Daily Giornaliere joor-nahl-ee-YAIR-eh
     
a month una mese oon-ah MAY-zay
January gennaio jen-NAI-yo
February febbraio feh-BRI-yo
March marzo MAR-tzoh
April aprile ah-PREEL-ay
May maggio MAH-jee-oh
June giugno JEW-nyoh
July luglio LOO-lyoh
August agosto ah-GO-sto
September settembre set-TEM-bray
October ottobre oh-TOE-bray
November novembre no-VEM-bray
December dicembre de-CHEM-bray

Numbers in Italian

English (inglese) Italian (italiano) Pro-nun-cee-YAY-shun
1 uno OO-no
2 due DOO-way
3 tre tray
4 quattro KWAH-troh
5 cinque CHEEN-kway
6 sei say
7 sette SET-tay
8 otto OH-toh
9 nove NO-vay
10 dieci dee-YAY-chee
11 undici OON-dee-chee
12 dodici DOH-dee-chee
13 tredici TRAY-dee-chee
14 quattordici kwa-TOR-dee-chee
15 quindici KWEEN-dee-chee
16 sedici SAY-dee-chee
17 diciasette dee-chee-ya-SET-tay
18 diciotto dee-CHO-toh
19 diciannove dee-chee-ya-NO-vay
20 venti VENT-tee
21* vent'uno* vent-OO-no
22* venti due* VENT-tee DOO-way
23* venti tre* VENT-tee TRAY
30 trenta TRAYN-tah
40 quaranta kwa-RAHN-tah
50 cinquanta cheen-KWAN-tah
60 sessanta say-SAHN-tah
70 settanta seh-TAHN-tah
80 ottanta oh-TAHN-tah
90 novanta no-VAHN-tah
100 cento CHEN-toh
1,000 mille MEEL-lay
5,000 cinque milla CHEEN-kway MEEL-lah
10,000 dieci milla dee-YAY-chee MEEL-lah


* You can use this formula for all Italian ten-place numbers—so 31 is trent'uno, 32 is trenta due, 33 is trenta tre, etc. Note that—like uno (one), otto (eight) also starts with a vowel—all "-8" numbers are also abbreviated (vent'otto, trent'otto, etc.).

 

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