Just last month we started writing about Leonardo Nesi and his project: Al Palazzo , the new agriturismo at Sommocolonia (article here)
Leonardo has renovated and restored what was to all intents and purposes a complete ruin, overgrown and hidden from view and returned it back to its former glory and is now an agriturismo open to the public.
It is not simply just an agriturismo – a place where visitors can come and stay and enjoy the peace and quiet of Sommocolonia but it is instead a complete 360° concept involving local culture, an agriturismo, vegetable gardens, raising Cinta Senese pigs, concerts, art events and putting life back into what was a gradually dwindling community.
He has fenced off large areas of the forest surrounding the village and is breeding Cinta Senese pigs for locally prepared salami, fresh sausages, prosciutto and lardo.
A huge vegetable garden just below Al Palazzo supplies fresh vegetables and extensive work on the mountainside with the chestnut trees means that one of the staple foods of the area, chestnut flour is always available.
The Cinta Senese (the breed owes its name to its black coat with a white sash (called a cinta in italian) that runs across its shoulders, sides and front legs) is a breed of domestic pig and is one of the six autochthonous pig breeds recognised by the Ministero delle Politiche Agricole Alimentari e Forestali, the Italian ministry of agriculture and forestry. The breed very nearly died out during the Second World War but it is now once again making a comeback as its meat is highly regarded as a product of high quality tightly tied to tradition and is now listed among those culinary excellencies that render tuscany and italy so famous around the world.
Leonardo also discovered to his surprise that when delving into the history of the house, that at one time, there was even a small theatre area on the side of building which was used for theatrical events.
He is intending to bring back this concept and organise events during the summer months and use three of the large ground floor rooms for art exhibitions.
This afternoon the local swing band, The Aristodemo’s were in attendance providing music to the first of those events of the summer season with a concert which included songs from their latest CD – “The Biroldo Tapes”
The azienda agricola al Palazzo site can be seen here
painter and photographer – started barganews.com, the first on line news site in Tuscany, Italy back in 1996