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The Castle's History

 
 
 
 
 
 

The first document to mention the Castello di Potentino is dated 1042. It then belonged to a certain Count Pietrone or Pepone. However, the original foundations are probably Etruscan. Over the centuries the property passed through the hands of many well-known Tuscan families of noble descent - the Tolomei, the Bonsignori, and the the Salimbeni, whom in the company of Contessa Bianchina, received Saint Catherine of Siena as a guest at the castle. At the end of the 16th Century it became a centre for the charitable works of the hospital order of Santa Maria della Scala.

 

After this period of religious activity, the Medici Duke Ferdinando I conceded the estate to Marchese Giovan Battista Bourbon del Monte, famous commander-in-chief of the infantry of the Venetian Republic. His descendants finally sold the castle to a gentleman from Switzerland, Antonio Hemmeler, in 1906. Recently it was purchased and restored by the Greene family, who have given new life to the ancient traditions of the building.

 

The Greenes have owned properties in the Tuscan Maremma for over 30 years. Starting with a farmhouse near the coast, they gradually moved inland. Castello di Potentino is their second major project in the Grosseto area. 

 

In 1989 the family purchased their first ruined castle – the Castello di Montepo, Scansano. Restoration was completed, vineyards planted and a winery established. After 10 years it was sold to a well-known wine producer from the Biondi Santi family.The next castle, Potentino, was discovered in an old guide book. Abandoned, dilapidated, overgrown, the potential was still apparent. It was for sale but had to be bought from 22 different people. Negotiations took a year and agreement finally reached with all the owners. In 2000, work commenced. 

 

The Restoration

Recycling and using natural materials that are local and tradition - terracotta, peperino (a local volcanic stone), chestnut wood, earth pigments and oxides for colour and whitewash for its irregular deep textures.

 

Old beams were cut and used to face newly constructed doors. Coach bolts instead of modern screws. Rusty hinges, not shiny brass or chrome. Cobwebs and crumbly paint untouched so age-old patinas retained. And above all, the dirty rag to rub away any hint of the new.

“Places can take over the destinies of the people who live in them. If you listen, a place will tell you what it needs and how to do it.”

— Charlotte Horton

“The philosophy behind the restoration was to make it seem as though we had not done it.”