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The story of Tenuta di Artimino - wine and tourism in Carmignano from the Medici to the bicycle

Relaunching the historic Medici villa and the territory, as told by Annabella Pascale, who leads the Estate with her cousin, Francesco Spotorno Olmo

Some very special ingredients narrate the history of Tenuta di Artimino, the stunning Medici villa, in Artimino (in the province of Prato, but very close to Florence), surrounded by 700 hectares of land, 70 of which are vineyards. These include the Carmignano vineyards, among one of the oldest historic wine denominations in Tuscany and Italy, and the hour record on a bicycle in 1932. And, one of the most structured industrial Groups in Italy, and Europe’s leading producer of polyurethane, plus the beauty of a Renaissance villa immersed in the Tuscan countryside, oil and wine productions, and high-level hospitality. The Olmo family, of Ligurian origin, acquired the Estate in the 1980s. The family leads the Olmo Group, founded by Giuseppe Olmo, a famous bicycle racer in the 1930s, before (he won the hour record in 1935, and an Olympic gold medal in 1932, as well as twenty stages of the Giro d’Italia), and after the war. He founded the Olmo bicycle factory that became a Group and is one of the leaders in the production of polyurethane, and also active in mountain tourism in Valsassina, in Lombardy, as well as, of course, in Tuscany, at Tenuta di Artimino. Over the past decade, the Estate Giuseppe’s grandchildren, Francesco Spotorno Olmo and Annabella Pascale have led the Estate, giving new stimulus to the historic company. They are now ready to start a new page, in terms of hospitality, entrusting hospitality management to the Spanish Group, La Meliá Hotels International, one of the top luxury resort Groups worldwide. In terms of wine, they have engaged the oenological consultancy of Riccardo Cotarella, and the managerial consultancy of Vincenzo Ercolino.
Their desire is not only to relaunch the company, but also the entire historic Carmignano denomination, as Annabella Pascale explained to WineNews. “Our family has been managing the Estate since the 1980s. My cousin and I, Francesco Spotorno Olmo, joined the company ten years ago. We are the third generation, and we have worked hard especially on tourism, on the Medici Villa, on the scattered hotel, as well as on wine, because we are a small, but historic denomination that deserves greater renown and success, and we feel responsible for making this happen. We have worked on the vineyards and the winery. We have repositioned the company and received many awards from many guides, but now we want to take another step forward. This is the reason we have called in professionals, like Riccardo Cotarella, one of the most important Italian oenologists, who immediately fell in love with the project and with the denomination, where he had never worked before, and Vincenzo Ercolino, one of the most experienced managers in the wine world. Furthermore, since we have delegated tourism management to the La Melià Group, we will be able to work more on the wine theme”. “Now”, Annabella Pascale continued, “is the time to pursue new goals, through major investments on the winemaking as well as the viticultural level, because my family feels the obligation to grow further and bring the Artimino Estate up to the role it deserves in this area, since it has been here from the time of Ferdinando de’ Medici”.
As a matter of fact, Ferdinando de’ Medici commissioned the Medici Villa, La Ferdinanda, to be built there in 1596. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is easy to imagine Cosimo III writing the "Notice on the Declaration of the borders of the four regions: Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Val D'Arno di Sopra" in 1716. And it is just as easy to think about Caterina De’ Medici who, having become queen of France, discovered Cabernet and brought it to Carmignano, where it is still called the “French grape”, and it is mandatory to regulate the use of Cabernet at 10% to 20% in the blend. Their goal is to further develop a path, which as ​​Annabella Pascale and her family said, “it will also make the entire Carmignano area, small, but top quality, grow with Artimino”. The new team of the Tenuta di Artimino has already prepared a new, strategic project with new grape processing protocols, and perhaps new wines, as well as a significant project to enhance the large wooded area (“500 hectares, which help maintain a large biodiversity”, Pascale explained) and olive groves (almost 100 hectares) available to the company. Their story began with a bicycle, therefore, and today they are looking to the future aware and confident, in the name of wine, Carmignano and the legacy of the Medici.

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