Who we are
Montalto Castle has long been family owned, first by the Berardenga family, then by the Palmieri, and finally by ourselves, Giovanni and Diana Coda-Nunziante, who acquired it from cousins in 1970. (See Montalto’s History for more details on the castle’s rich past, going back over 1,000 years).
Giovanni is Italian, Diana is American; we both speak fluent Italian and English and fairly fluent French, some German and a very little Spanish. We live here all year round, with more space than we need – space that we are happy to share with our guests.
Who you will meet on your arrival
Diana & Giovanni are assisted by Melanie, a knowledgeable, generous and enthusiastic young woman from Germany who will look after all your needs, and by her helpers who prepare the houses for our guests’ arrival and can be engaged to cook and clean for you if desired.
The grounds are maintained by Santino and Luciano, the farm hands.
Only Giovanni and Diana actually live in the castle now, but there are many others on call, to cook or give lessons, guide tours or coach seminars, baby-sit, cater for parties and solve any problem.
The population is completed by a friendly German shepherd, Leo, and two cats. In summer and at Christmas time we are frequently joined by our children and grandchildren, while one daughter, Anna, lives nearby and appears often.
And of course, as in all self-respecting castles, there is a ghost: la Dama Blu (the Blue Lady) might deign to visit you – if you believe in her.
The farm and its producs
Montalto Castle is in the center of an estate of 270 hectares, about 650 acres. While two thirds are woodlands, the rest is planted. Annual crops include wheat, sunflowers, alfalfa, canola and others, depending on the year. A portion of the land is planted in olive groves. There is also a vegetable garden and a chicken coop, and a bee keeper sets out his hives on our land.
The farm is certified organic. No pesticides, chemical fertilizers or weed killers are used.
Tenants of the houses at the castle can buy our extra-virgin olive oil, honey, eggs and garden vegetables in season, at cost.
Also available at a discount are good Chianti wines produced at the Spalletti winery belonging to relatives of the owners, in the Chianti Rufina area near Florence. (read more about Chianti wines)
In addition to these agricultural products, we often have ceramic and porcelain objects for sale, hand-decorated by local artists.
We enjoy this life, not only because the income helps to maintain the estate, but especially because the people who choose to come out to the country to spend their vacation in beautiful surroundings in an historic context, who welcome the simple life and the opportunity to visit the famous and less-known art treasures of this incredibly rich area of Italy, are people we like. We enjoy the opportunity to invite them into our home, to show them our collection of ancient weapons and to recount the history and legends of the castle, and we enjoy talking to them. Many have become our lasting friends.