Tenuta Di Spannocchia

TUSCANY, ITALY

Spannocchia is a magical place. It is a unique integration of historic architecture and landscape: a working organic farm, a centre for education and enrichment focused on both ecological and cultural history, and a multinational community. If you are looking for a vacation destination that is off the beaten path but still has a comfortable community environment, Spannocchia is the place for you!

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Spannocchia is an agricultural estate dating back to the 12th century and comprising 440 hectares of privately owned land. It is owned by Francesca Cinelli and makes up part of the Riserva Naturale Alto Merse, a nature reserve of over 2000 hectares managed by the Region of Tuscany and part of the Italian system of natural parks and reserves. It is dedicated to sustainability and conserving the area’s cultural and agricultural traditions dating back as far as the 8th century.

 

Its accommodation is a mix of rustic farmhouses and bed and breakfast in the estate’s main Villa. It provides guests with unmatched opportunities to explore the beautiful Tuscan countryside and find peace and tranquillity. Its activities strive to find balance between tradition and innovation. There is something to excite everyone at Spannocchia: hiking paths, farm animals, verdant gardens, cooking classes, beautiful vistas, eight centuries of rural history, great wine, and fantastic food. In addition, its proximity to tourism destinations including Florence, Siena, Chianti, San Gimignano, and the Tuscan coastline make Spannocchia the ideal base for exploring Tuscany.

 

www.spannocchia.com

The 4Cs

Tenuta di Spannocchia joined The Long Run in 2015 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.

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CONSERVATION

Spannocchia is a privately owned property within the Riserva Natural Alto Merse which is part of the Italian system of national parks and nature reserves; it has one of the highest concentrations of biodiversity in Italy. All conservation of wildlife species is the collective responsibility of local authorities and landowners within the reserve. Spannocchia enforces and adheres to local regulations strictly. It incorporates the conservation of wildlife habitats into its normal forestry and agricultural operations through actions such as preserving natural hedges between cultivated fields and maintaining forest clearings.

 

Being in the agro-tourism business, Spannocchia continuously works to strike a balance between its farm operations and preserving natural habitats and extensive wildlife. Central to its agricultural operation is the raising of local heritage breeds of farm animals at risk of extinction. Since 1994, it has been running a domestic animal breeding program designed to restore populations of endangered domestic breeds including Cinta Senese pigs, Calvana cows, and Monte Amiatina donkeys. As a result of its efforts, the Cinta Senese pig has been successfully removed from endangered status.

 

COMMUNITY

Spannocchia is part of an extended rural community which is also closely connected to the nearby city of Siena, where it conducts many of its business activities. It interacts with neighbouring villages on a daily basis and supports local businesses from which it purchases its supplies. It has been at the forefront of establishing and promoting farmers’ markets for local producers and is part of the committee for that project.

 

It also works very closely with several local cultural organizations, and with the Slow Food organization which is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment.

 

CULTURE

Spannocchia is an 800 year old agricultural estate, with historic buildings and landscapes. Guests are immediately transported to an ancient time characterised by old towers, farmhouses and monasteries some of which date as far back as the 10th century A.D. For forty five years, Spannocchia has housed archaeological programmes and has a collection of artefacts from Palaeolithic to medieval times thus preserving this rich Tuscan history. Spannocchia follows strict historic preservation guidelines as required by the Italian government. It restores rather than renovates these ancient buildings and applies finishes and furnishings in line with those from at least half a century ago.

 

It hosts approximately thirty tours and programmes annually into which it incorporates exposure to and explanations of traditional Tuscan culture. Passing on this rich history and the Italian culture to coming generations it has committed itself to run three month internship sessions for eight young people three times a year. Under this programme interns learn about sustainable agriculture, and Italian language and culture through formal classes, field trips, and hands on work with Italian farm staff. It also hosts educational tours and tastings of its own food products: wine, olive oil, and salami, for both foreign guests and local visitors to cultivate an appreciation for local culture. For those who would like to take the taste of Tuscany home with them, it offers cooking classes conducted by local women who grew up in the tenant farming families on its property.

 

Spannocchia is also an active member in a variety of local cultural groups concerned with the environment and cultural issues. It hosts cultural events, such as traditional music and dancing, several times a year to which local communities are invited further immersing its guests in the local culture.

 

COMMERCE

Spannocchia Foundation, its non-profit operation, holds educational programmes at Spannocchia for which participants pay a fee for room and board. Other sources include profits from its farm business’s agro-tourism vacation rentals and sale of its farm produce including wine, olive oil, meats, vegetables, farro grain, honey, and firewood. It also supports a number of local businesses from whom it purchases the supplies it needs to run its facilities.

 

 

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