An invitation to listen
A story that deserves to be told
A story that deserves to be heard
The beginning of the story
The Mayor of Siena, Alessandro Lisini, owned five farms in the Chianti area. One of these was the Poci farm, extending over 100 hectares of forest and agricultural land. About 40 people lived here. They produced oil, wine and an excellent crop of wheat. They also bred silkworms, chickens, rabbits and sheep from which they got fine wool.
Alessandro Lisini left this property to his daughter, who then passed it on to his granddaughter, Elena de Vecchi, the wife of Giulio Bianchi Bandinelli, a teacher who was called ‘the Professor’ by the people of Siena.
A time of transformation
When Giulio retired, he decided to bring the farm, which had been practically abandoned over the years, back into production. He bought two tractors and started planting eight hectares of vineyards. Of course, he needed help. And so, he hired Duilio Pianigiani from Vagliagli to drive the tractors and farm the land.
The property was originally terraced with rows of vines and olive trees. Giulio decided to have some of the terraces demolished in order to plant the new vineyards. Meanwhile, the houses were provisionally renovated. A new well was built and also electricity arrived for the first time to Poci.
Harvest time in those days was always a celebration. People filled baskets, the tractor drove between the rows of vines, the grapes were deposited in a big trolley that was towed to the Chianti Geografico in Gaiole where the winemaking took place.
Time of change again
When Giulio turned 85, he put Poci up for sale. The new owners came from Germany, Austria and America with the intention to create a nature retreat where they could also engage in farming and wine production. With the passing of years only Batya Schwartz and Dieter Mittelsten Scheid remained here and have been Poci’s caretakers since that time.
It was on a very cold January day that they first saw Poci. They were immediately touched by the tranquility this place emanated. Away from the noise of traffic and neighboring villages, all they could hear were the sounds of nature. It was at that moment that they decided to make their home here. Down by the valley they then found Poci’s abandoned Mill House and felt instantly that this would be the future “House of Silence”.
The following years
The renovation of the 900 year old Mill House began in 1984, with the intention to preserve its authentic beauty. Over time the upper houses were also restored. Guest rooms and spaces for seminars were carefully designed.
Since 1985 many people have travelled to Poci to take part in silent retreats, breath therapy trainings and annual dance seminars with Ismael Ivo from Brazil and Koffi Koko from Benin.
Duilio Pianigiani, with his innate traditional knowledge of agriculture and his deep love for the land, continued working at Poci till today. He planted new vineyards and began producing Poci’s first wines in the old wine cellar of Le Groppole, next to Alessandro Lisini’s villa, which is still owned by the Bandinelli family.
Batya and Dieter continue to share the responsibility for all of Poci and to lead the retreats.
Duilio’s son, Daniele Pianigiani is now, together with his father, responsible for Poci’s agriculture. With great enthusiasm and the help of the “perito agrario” Elisabetta Lazzeri, Daniele has transformed Poci into a certified organic farm.
Since 2019 an excellent biological Chianti Classico is produced in the newly renovated wine cellar at Le Groppole.
Recently other family members joined Poci’s team, Daniele’s companion Cecilia Marelli and her son Alessandro.
In this way Poci has been preserved and developed from generation to generation and hopefully can continue to bring beauty joy and serenity to many people for the years to come.