Overlooking the gracious Florentine hills, Castello Sonnino is the family home of Baron and Baroness Alessandro and Caterina de Renzis Sonnino. With its eclectic charm and heritage, the historical wine estate and the International Education Center, it embodies the essence of the Italian culture.
Tuscany is dotted with castles throughout the countryside and cities, but Castello Sonnino stands regally apart from the others with its mix of intriguing history and modern day sustainable farming. The Castello dates back to the 13th century where it was originally a customs post between the territories of Florence and Siena. Inside the Castello’s diverse architectural structures are a collection objects, books, furniture, paintings and memorabilia than spans more than 500 years. The original fortress was transformed into an aristocratic home in the 17th century by the Machiavelli family. In the 19th century Baron Isacco Sonnino and later his son, Sidney, the Prime Minister of Italy and later Foreign Mister of WWI, revolutionized the estate creating a modern agricultural farm, one of the largest rural properties in the Chianti region. The rooms in which the politician lived and worked are preserved and feature the Sidney Sonnino Archive, a collection of over 200,000 historical documents, which includes the Treaty of Versailles Peace Congress agreement. Inside Castello Sonnino’s vast library is an abundance of Italian history and the role played by the Sonnino family during the birth of the Kingdom of Italy. Alessandro and Caterina de Renzis Sonnino reopened Castello Sonnino in 1989, after the house had been shuttered and unlived in for almost 100 years. Together they transformed the house with all of its treasure trove of 50 rooms and its farm estate into a thriving organism of living history. The Castello, the farm and its renovated vines and olive groves have all contributed to the maintenance of the countryside, as well as to the preservation of the working practices on the estate. Castello Sonnino is now an internationally recognized example of sustainable development and an educational centre—hosting international universities—to study preservation of the environment, culture and historical heritage.
Castello Sonnino and Gucci
The castle was the setting of the Gucci Cruise 2016 campaign shot by Glen Luchford. Scenes from the campaign also featured the elaborate rooms’ décor that depicts local flora and fauna within imaginary landscapes. Two years later, Caterina de Renzis Sonnino owner and cultural conservator of Castello Sonnino, appeared in the Gucci Cruise 2018 campaign, Roman Rhapsody, shot by photographer Mick Rock.