Dating from the mid-11th Century, Castello di Potentino is an ancient castle built on an Etruscan site. It lies in a secret valley in one of the last undiscovered corners of Tuscany – Monte Amiata. The medieval building is surrounded by unspoilt countryside, dotted with the vines and the ancient olive trees used for the estate’s small production of high quality wine, grappa and oil.
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.
Bought and restored in 2000 by the Greene family, today the castle is operating as a dynamic cultural centre. Agriculture and viticulture are about growing and living, so eating and drinking well are an important element in the Potentino ethos.
The Greene Family 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.
Charlotte Horton has been making award-winning wines in Tuscany for over 20 years. She has restored two Castles in Tuscany. At Castello di Potentino, she has revitalized an abandoned estate, planting new vineyards, bringing back olive trees into production and recreating the castle as a cultural centre and a bed and breakfast. She and Alexander have been running food and wine pop-up events in London, Ireland and France since 2010. She is currently working on a book about Potentino Life with photographer Michael Woolley. Before moving to Italy, she worked for Vogue Magazine, Secker and Warburg Publishing House and then as a freelance journalist. In 2013, she was recognized as one of the Barclay’s Women of Achievement.
Alexander Greene was part of the team that set up the Frontline Club, a members’ club and restaurant in Paddington that specializes in Independent Journalism, hosting the likes of Wikileaks and Litvinenko. He then went on to work at the book publisher Little, Brown Book Group whose authors include J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and Patricia Cornwell. He is now a director at Castello di Potentino and Raymond Chandler Ltd. He is currently developing the Winemakers’ Choice App and Website.
Charlotte has been living at and restoring Potentino since 2000 when the family purchased the ruin. Alexander gave up his job in publishing in London 2011 and moved to Potentino. After a tearful goodbye, he hasn’t regretted it once and loves working with his sister.
Castello di Potentino