Castello di Poggio alle Mura, also known as Castello Banfi, is located 15km from the city of Montalcino, at the confluence of the Orcia and Ombrone rivers. It houses a winery, a hotel, a restaurant, a wine bar and the Bottle and Glass Museum “John F. Mariani”.
Its position, and the ancient history of the surrounding territory, let us suppose that the origin can even go back to the time of the Long Beards, that probably erected here one of their watch towers. There are no proofs at documentation of this theory, even it is sure that the construction of the first fortified nucleus on this hill is antecedent to year 1000. The first great widening of the castle dates back to the second half of 13th century [just after the battle of Montaperti, 1260]. The written sources tell about Poggio alle Mura for the first time in 1377, indicating the castle between the properties of Francisco di Tommaso Colombini. After the above-mentioned reconstruction of 1438, Poggio alle Mura became one of the larger castles of the Sienese peasantry. Other works were carried on during 17th century. A wing of the castle was mined during the world war II and reconstructed within the recent magnificent restoration undertaken by the current property. (source)
About a year ago during an excursion to Tuscany, we had a stop for a glass of Brunello di Montalcino at the beautiful courtyard of Castello Banfi and then we visited the “John F. Mariani” museum.
The museum illustrates the various eras of glass production through history, from the 5th century BC to our current day. Within the historic walls, in the old stable and olive pressing room, which still holds equipment dating back to 1857, the display rooms have been attentively assembled to explain the history of glass and the evolution of the wine bottle. In these rooms you will find collections of antique wine bottles, ancient and modern glassware from Venice, including the stupendous “The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso.
“The Water Girl” by Pablo Picasso
Museum interior, at the right you can see an old Winepress..
photos © chrysoula papagianni