THE DIVERSITY OF
/extra virgin oil/
/history of a family/
There’s no point in looking for the origins of our family, so distant as to seem that it has always been present in San Polo in Chianti: we should cross too many centuries, too many battles, too many vicissitudes.
At any rate, thanks to some written records and to the memory of the older citizens of the town, we can go back as far as the mid-nineteenth century and narrate how a numerous family took up residence in this very house that long ago, when Antonio di Tanghe – Pasquale’s son – Pruneti by surname (at least according to the municipal records) decided to leave the “Valle”, a few kilometers away from San Polo, to move to and settle in “Rinforzati”, at the town gates.
That land, certainly more suitable for farming and for establishing what was to become the Pruneti farm, was, in fact, more central and already served by a provincial road “…dove vi si scambiavano anche due muli o due giovenche in marcia opposta…” [where even two mules or heifers could pass each other in opposite directions] and already had, in those times, its own blacksmith’s mill, a arish and a hostelry “…una casa e pezzi di vigna ove si fa taverna…” [a house and pieces of vineyard made into a tavern].
There is news of how Tanghe, a skilled mule-driver and woodsman, grew wheat and produced oil, wine, figs and anything that nature bestowed on him, but it was only with the help of Girolamo (his fourth child) that, towards the end of the nineteenth century, he began to sell the products grown on the family plot, setting out for the Florentine markets and selling directly along the road joining Florence to the Arno Valley.
A little later Gladiolus (or Iris) farming began, the bulbs of which were in demand from the biggest and most famous French perfumeries which used it as an essential basis for their perfumes. It is from this moment that one can really speak of the Pruneti farm being founded.
In the next generation, composed of Natalino (“Napoleone for his fellow villagers given his outstanding qualities as a commander evident from a tender age) and Sabatino, who today we would define as “single by choice”, the Pruneti farm began to make a name for itself on the market, establishing direct contact with important French companies interested in buying Iris bulbs.
In the meantime, as well as producing Extra Virgin Olive Oil and growing Gladioli, which complemented each other perfectly as regards timing and use of the land, increasing attention was paid to the production of wine. And… between the “sodo” [firm ground] to hoe, the oil to be produced and the many late evenings spent taking the roots off and cleaning the Gladioli bulbs, fulfilment and wealth came to the entire Pruneti family, which became one of the most important and famous farms in the area.