Tales from the Past
The castle dates back to 1300 and has been home to various noble families. In the mid 18th century it became the property of the Benci family. Among the ancestors Ginevra de’ Benci portrayed by Leonardo da Vinci and the great Reinassance artist Antonio Benci del Pollaiolo stand out. Every corner of the castle is bathed in history and memories. At Castello di Cafaggio Giacomo Puccini, one of the greatest composer of Italian opera and a close friend of the Baron Ugo Benci, used to hunt in the extensive woodlands. Up until the last century the main house, the farmhouse and the annexes which served as work buildings (sawmill, mill, olive mill, winery and cellar, wheat barn, drying kiln for silk, forge for farming tools, hen house, and stables) existed as an independent and self sufficient ‘hamlet’ where food was grown and produced to feed and maintain the entire community of farmers and artisans residing there.
All the religious ceremonies were celebrated in the family chapel. The ancestors of the Benci family not only enriched the artistic value of the villa with mural paintings and significant decorative works of art, but also enhanced the agricultural production of the land.
The castle’s historic olive oil mill, which is today a museum, produced olive oil from the beginning of the 19th century. By the mid 19th century Enrico Benci was already producing excellent wines which were awarded several prizes at the Esposizione Italiana di SAR Eugenio di Savoia. Around 1920 the estate was enriched by the cultivation of irises, (symbol of Florence) from the roots of which were prepared extracts used in the production of face powder and perfume. The Baron Ugo Benci in the 1920s was one of the first to start exporting Chianti wine in large quantities to the United States, and especially to New York. In Manhattan the Benci Company had a building for offices and storage and you could find the Chianti Benci in the newborn “Cellar” of Macy’s department store.
Impruneta boasts a long history and deep culture of olive oil production, and is also famous for the manufacture of terracotta pots where the oil was store