Fattoria Fibbiano is located near Terricciola in the Era Valley, an area which boasts some significant Etruscan settlements. On the hill of the farm many tombs have been excavated, which date back to the dawn of Tuscan civilization. During the Middle Ages, the region saw a succession of disputes and conflicts between rival families and towns. In the past, Terricciola itself was a hamlet surrounded by high walls and defence towers. The origins of the farm date back to the 12th century when it was owned by the Gherardi del Testa Barasaglia family, and it followed the family’s fortunes through thick and thin. In 1700, the main building was extended to take the shape of today’s farm. The Fattoria Fibbiano’s farmstead dates back to 1707, but only became a key part of the farm’s history three centuries later in 1997, the year in which Giuseppe Cantoni decided to go back to Italy after a long career abroad in business in order to return to his family roots: the Cantoni family have been farmers for generations, in other words, forever. Giuseppe, with his wife Tiziana and sons Matteo and Nicola, began scouring the Tuscan countryside in search of the right place. When he saw the Fattoria Fibbiano there was no doubt in his mind: from then on, their new life began. A simple life, lived to the full, characterised by silences, passion, close to nature and to the purest of things, far away from the noise of the city. The renovation work began: restoring the old farmstead, which was quite run down, clearing the woodland, reviving the agricultural land, reinstating the old olive groves and vineyards, and re-planting rows of cypress trees. With great effort and commitment, the farmstead became what it is today, a home and a dream come true: a successful agritourism and flourishing wine-making business, which is run according to the local traditions, yet is ready to embrace new challenges.
The origin of our “Fonte delle Donne” wine has an interesting story intertwined with a legend.
The story of St. Columbanus: an Irish missionary born in the sixth century, who travelled for over thirty years throughout Europe with twelve disciples, founding numerous monasteries. Columbanus’ mission was to convert people by instilling in them the values of rural life, a life lived in complete harmony with nature and with faith. Tilling the land and making it fertile was his way to reconcile one’s soul with one’s inner nature. In 612, the monk and his disciples arrived in what today is called, in his honour, San Colombano al Lambro, near Milan. He immediately began reviving old farmlands and, in particular, a grape which was later named after him, the Colombana. The monk died, leaving his followers to spread his teachings. They continued his work, moved on and arrived in Peccioli, a small village on the hills of Valdera, in the province of Pisa. The monks had kept some grapevine shoots of the Colombana grape variety which, once planted, found an ideal habitat here and grew very successfully. The Colombana grapes of Peccioli, which were passed on in the years to come and were grown in the surrounding countryside, were known not only for their great flavour but also for their healing properties. At the beginning of the 1900s, entire families would come to Peccioli from all over Tuscany to take advantage of their purifying and revitalizing properties. It was the women who were tasked with picking these grapes, as they were considered more suited to this task, on account of their gentle and sensitive nature.
Female figures also play a key role in the mythical side of our story: within the Fattoria Fibbiano estate there is a unique water spring, known as the “Fonte delle Donne”. Legend has it that water from this spring had magical powers. The story goes that there was once a farmer who was worried about his cow that had just given birth, but had no milk for her baby calf. One day the farmer took his cow to drink water from a spring, near the woodland of Terricciola, in the countryside around Pisa. After seeing the cow drink plenty of this whitish water, he was amazed how the cow’s udders suddenly filled up with milk. The story told by the farmer and the fact that the colour of the water was as white as milk, probably due to a high content of minerals, did the rest, and in no time, rumour spread about the spring which had the power to help breastfeeding mothers regain their milk flow. Its fame grew and grew, and the spring became the site of a constant stream of pilgrims, from hopeful mothers to the sick, all hoping for a miracle cure.
The story of the monk and the legend of the miraculous spring are inextricably linked to that of the Cantoni family. A family of farmers, whose roots go back to the 17th century, originally from Lodigiano, who have lived for generations in the same place as the monk and have cultivated the land with utter dedication and commitment. After moving to Terricciola, it so happened that within the vineyards of the Fattoria Fibbiano, they found the “Colombana” golden grape variety, identical to the one that was grown in Lombardy, in exactly the same spot as the famous “Fonte delle Donne”. From that moment on there was no doubt in their minds: their first white wine would be called “Fonte delle Donne”. They realised they had inherited something that had begun many centuries before them, and they felt they had a duty to preserve this treasure which had withstood the test of time and man’s volatile nature.