A new museum hub is born in Chianti: it's called Chianti Origo. Here are the museums that are part of it

In Gaiole in Chianti, in the heart of Tuscany, a new museum center, called Chianti Origo, is born. It includes an archaeological museum, a wine museum, an art gallery, and there is also space for sports.

A new museum center is born in the heart of Tuscany, in Gaiole in Chianti, in the wine lands. It is called Chianti Origo and rises in the spaces of the former Cantine Ricasoli, offering the public a comprehensive view of the different souls of the territory. The center houses the new Museum At the Origins of Chianti, which tells the story and roots of this renowned wine region, the area dedicated to the Lands of Gaiole, the Olmastroni Gallery, the Casa Eroica and the Luciano Berruti Cycle Workshop. Gaiole, the heart of Chianti, thus wants to present itself to the public as the promoter of a bold project that, while starting from the wine tradition, offers a complete and contemporary experience.

Chianti Origo is the fruit of a collective effort: promoted by the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti, the project saw the collaboration of L’Eroica, the Olmastroni and Berruti families and the Terre di Gaiole association. The archaeological museum itinerary was curated under the high supervision of the Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti e Paesaggio for the provinces of Siena, Grosseto and Arezzo. The cultural hub was conceived, realized and set up by Opera Laboratori, with the aim of narrating, from the earliest archaeological traces, the evolution of this territory to become a world icon of the wine industry. It is a tale that unfolds through the art of its illustrious citizens and also celebrates the value of sport, particularly linked to the world of cycling, and its social and communicative impact in the territorial context.

The Museum at the Origins of Chianti offers the public a wealth of archaeological information and artifacts, the result of fifty years of research conducted by Florida State University at Cetamura, as well as contributions from excavations and recoveries of the last century, made accessible thanks to the generosity of private individuals and institutions, under the careful guidance of the Superintendency. Examples include the marbles from the Roman villa at Monti in Chianti, granted on loan by the parish with the approval of the Diocese of Arezzo, Cortona and Sansepolcro, or the finds from Etruscan tombs unearthed around San Giusto a Rentennano in the early decades of the 20th century. The layout, curated by architect Piero Castri of Opera Laboratori, reflects the guidelines established by the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti and adopts museographic solutions that include interactive tools to engage a wide audience, from young people to more experienced enthusiasts. Using inclusive and accessible communication, the museum adopts different display modes, from traditional caption panels to cartoons.

Terre di Gaiole is the main room of the Cultural Center, created by Opera Laboratori in collaboration with ETT, dedicated to the material and multimedia display of Chianti Classico produced in Gaiole. Through representative videos, the stories of the vineyards that stretch across the rolling hills, surrounded by centuries-old forests, will be told. The voices of the winemakers, the hard-working hands, the rhythms of the cellars and the scents of the seasons will accompany visitors in their discovery of one of the world’s most celebrated wines.

The exhibition itinerary includes a large area dedicated to the world of bicycles and cycling with the Ciclofficina Luciano Berruti, a faithful reconstruction of the cyclofficina of the great cyclist who was the symbol of Eroica, and with Casa Eroica, which offers a complete view of a sporting and cultural phenomenon that over the years has acquired worldwide fame and value, while maintaining strong ties with its roots in Gaiole in Chianti and the distinctive brand of Eroica. Through exhibition, multimedia and interactive spaces, visitors will be able to explore the origin, evolution and consolidation of Eroica as a true network of events, capable of involving tens of thousands of fans around the world.

At Casa Eroica, thanks to the use of augmented reality visors, it will be possible to live a unique virtual experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the white roads of Gaiole in Chianti at any time of the year, just as thousands of cyclists experience it during the first Sunday of October, the date of the event. The 2023 edition of L’Eroica provided Opera Laboratori with the opportunity to capture exclusive footage in virtual reality, from the beginning to the end of the event. The participants of L’Eroica thus become the protagonists of the Virtual Reality experience for visitors, allowing everyone to savor “the beauty of the effort, the taste of the feat.”

Finally, also part of Chianti Origo is the artistic testimony of one of the most famous and well-known admirers of the City of Gaiole, Cesare Olmastroni. Thanks to the collaboration with his son Duccio, it was possible to realize that desire to create an exhibition space, the “Olmastroni Gallery,” to honor the memory of his personality with annual exhibitions dedicated to landscape paintings and other works by the Fonterutoli-born artist.

Museum At the Origins of Chianti. Photo: Chianti Origo
Museum At the Origins of Chianti. Photo: Chianti Origo


“Identity is an extraordinary glue of community, bringing together energies and ideas and finding its roots in the history we are going to analyze and tell. Anyone who wants to discover the origins of Gaiole can only start by visiting these spaces,” says Michele Pescini, mayor of Gaiole in Chianti. “What we wanted to create at the former Cantine Ricasoli, where the tourist information office is also located, is a true cultural and tourism hub, a privileged gateway to the various souls of the territory, from which to begin the journey to discover Gaiole in Chianti. The name Chianti Origo emphasizes the place of origin of Chianti, but it also refers to the word originality, which has the same root. In fact, Gaiole is a land capable of generating original, one-of-a-kind projects, such as Baron Bettino Ricasoli’s Chianti Formula of 1872 or L’Eroica, which allowed us to export a new concept of tourism, sport and lifestyle to the world.”

“The tale of the territory starts, therefore, from the Museum at the Origins of Chianti, which testifies to our roots,” adds the mayor, “it continues by passing through ’Terre di Gaiole’ explaining the evolution of the wine vocation of this land up to the present day, and then with the visit of the Olmastroni Gallery, which instead testifies to Gaiole’s feeling towards a great artist, human relations that are still an important value for our people. Finally, it closes with Casa Eroica and the cycle workshop of Luciano Berruti, our honorary citizen and symbol of Eroica, a mixture of passion, vision of territory and projection into the world of our small and proud community.”

“Contributing to the birth of ’Chianti Origo’ through our best energies,” says Giuseppe Costa, president of Opera Laboratori, “fully reflects the Group’s vision, which has always been aimed at enhancing cultural heritage, working alongside the institutions of the territories with our work.”

“At the conclusion of a long journey, of conception and scientific planning, a museum complex with a composite nature, representing different aspects of a territory as famous as Chianti, but in some ways still little known,” comments Marco Firmati, director of the Museo Alle Origini del Chianti. “The commitment and collaboration of public bodies, businesses, professionals, including newly trained ones, and numerous citizens has enabled the creation of this archaeological exhibition itinerary, which tells with contemporary language through material evidence the ancient history of the hills overlooking the valley of the Massellone stream, in principle corresponding to the municipal territory of Gaiole.”

“The realization of the new Museum At the Origins of Chianti,” stresses Superintendent Gabriele Nannetti, “has been able to put in place a virtuous collaboration between public and private sectors, making teamwork its added value, in what we hope will become a point of reference for new research in the territory of Gaiole. The synergistic activity of the Municipality and Superintendence will therefore help to learn more and more about the past written among these hills and to transfer it to the public through different forms of storytelling and the use of innovative communication choices.”

“The exhibition project,” adds archaeological officer Maria Gabriella Carpentiero, “finds its completeness and organicity thanks to a narrative that unfolds on different registers with a language accessible to all and that combines traditional tools together with digital technologies and interaction with reproductions and reconstructive models, recognizing them as new essential forms of communication. The goal, then, is to make archaeology a tool for telling and engaging different audiences, from children to tourists, from enthusiasts to local residents, with the intention of exploiting the narrative potential of this discipline to its fullest potential. Our past can be an experience that involves everyone and has a real impact on the territory in terms of relationships, communication and access to knowledge.”

“As the Gaiole Winegrowers Association,” says Manuele Verdelli, AGV president, “we are proud to have taken part in such an ambitious and important project. We wine producers represent here ’Terre di Gaiole’ and we are glad to participate in the enhancement of a territory and a community that we promote every day and all over the world thanks to our Chianti.”

“The idea of faithfully disassembling and reassembling with its original furnishings the old workshop,” says Jacek Berruti, Luciano’s son, “was born from the will of my father Luciano Berruti, Heroic Number 1 in the world forever, who with the help of his wife Zofia decided to revive vanished emotions: to re-propose an original work environment from the beginning of the last century, with every tool and detail carefully sought and placed, to take a true and profound leap into the past. A past made of passion, will and great professionalism, of which the old workshop was the cradle and custodian, as well as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. With the donation of the workshop to the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti at Casa Eroica, the Berruti family wants to make sure that more and more people have easy access to this wonderful corner of dreams, where enthusiasts and the merely curious can jump feet first into the world of Eroica, into the world of Luciano Berruti, to experience even more intensely the strongest emotions, in the country where it all began.”

“Regarding the presentation of the Gallery named after my father Cesare,” comments Duccio Olmastroni, “I like to emphasize the bond born with Gaiole in Chianti in the late 1960s when still very young he was called to restore the Meleto Castle; this is one of the reasons why in the exhibition of paintings, made in those very years, significant places are represented such as Meleto precisely, the parish church of Spaltenna and San Sano where several times he participated as an exhibitor in the artistic and cultural event at the end of summer the ”Golden Frog.“ In those years he went to consolidate his relationship with what would later be his future wife, as well as my mother, Fernanda Pianigiani who lived right there; that is why the painting Pievi e Castelli (Parishes and Castles) he did on the wall of the Palazzo Comunale of Gaiole, reads ’Gaiole moglie mi dette ed io onorar la voglio con questo dono’ (Gaiole wife gave me and I want to honor her with this gift). Once again I return to be moved in this town grateful on several occasions to his memory and I want to thank in particular two dear friends: Stefano Di Bello, who has always been linked to my father and with whom he shared ’artistic’ thoughts, and the first citizen Michele Pescini, who has always been an admirer of my father’s art.”

A new museum hub is born in Chianti: it's called Chianti Origo. Here are the museums that are part of it
A new museum hub is born in Chianti: it's called Chianti Origo. Here are the museums that are part of it

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