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Fattoria di Maiano: A Culinary Pilgrimage in the Heart of Tuscany

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Place Details

Name: Fattoria di Maiano

Rating: 4.4 / 5

City: Fiesole

Country: Italy

Address: Via Benedetto da Maiano, 11, 50014 Fiesole FI, Italy

Phone Number: +39 055 59049

Website: Visit the Website


About Fattoria di Maiano

Step into the rustic embrace of Fattoria di Maiano, a haven where Tuscan tradition blooms amidst rolling hills and silver-leafed olive groves. This agriturismo gem offers a sensory mosaic of earthen fragrances and flavors, showcasing authentic countryside living. Revel in cozy apartments fashioned from ancient stone structures.

The farmstay experience is enriched by the organic bounty cultivated on the estate—where olives transmute into liquid gold. Indulge in a culinary pilgrimage at the traditional restaurant, where farm-to-table isn’t a trend but a way of life. Typically, a visit unfolds leisurely over a sun-drenched afternoon or a pastoral weekend retreat.

Regional Guides

The lyrical Tuscan hills, steeped in history and beauty, reveal several hidden gems to those who dare to venture off the beaten path. The Fattoria di Maiano is an emblem of heritage, culture, and quintessential Italian charm.

This sprawling estate, some parts of which date back to the 11th century, straddles the apex of art, agriculture, and irresistible allure for all things authentically Tuscan.

Fast Facts from Our Visit:

  • Fattoria di Maiano’s history is enriched by Michelangelo’s recognition and John Temple Leader’s transformation, including preparations for Queen Victoria’s 1893 visit.
  • The estate features a large botanic garden with 24,000 olive plants and has been committed to organic agriculture since 1991.
  • The olive tasting and tour offer an immersive experience of the estate’s cultivation process and organic farming practices. You’ll also be educated on the nuances of olive oil’s flavor, texture, and culinary applications.
  • The tour represents a unique blend of Italian heritage, natural beauty, and culinary excellence, promising a memorable experience.

The Legacy of Fattoria di Maiano

Tuscan estate with olive groves, Fattoria di Maiano
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The foothills of Fiesole and Florence cradle the Fattoria di Maiano, a locale enriched by the efforts of famed historical figures, including Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo – revered and venerated artists who left their indelible marks on this pastoral hilly canvas.

The verdant expanse of Maiano has always been a place of significant artistic reverberations, right from when vine – an inherent part of Italian culture and civilization – found its roots here. Yet, it was to truly come into its own in the hands of a seemingly improbable owner.

See Related: Things to Do in Florence, Italy

Dynamic Land, Diverse History

Serene Tuscan landscape with olive trees at Fattoria di Maiano
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The Fattoria’s fortunes took an intriguing turn in 1944, with its acquisition by Sir John Temple Leader, a wealthy London industrialist fascinated by the Renaissance period who sought solace in the enchanting Tuscan countryside.

His love for the landscape’s humbling beauty and interest in medieval and humanist culture triggered an extensive renovation project over nearly two centuries.

A man ahead of his times, Temple Leader nurtured the estate for more than four decades, expanding and modifying structures such as the Vincigliata Castle and the Maiano Village.

The latter was transformed into a stunning commune almost suspended in time. Crisscrossed by stream paths and botanical trails, the village promises a heady mix of aromatic and visual delights today.

This isn’t, however, the only extraordinary transformation that our man of letters undertook. Amid the lush greenery that mirrors the hills, he built the lush Regina Park, aptly bestowed the title ‘Queen” by none other than Queen Victoria in April 1899.

The park is a testament to his love for the sweeping Italian landscape and is an attractive pit stop for nature lovers today. It’s an excellent day trip from Florence to experience a local culinary experience.

Olive Oil Production Tour

Modern olive oil production facility at Fattoria di Maiano
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

During the tour at Fattoria di Maiano, you’ll be invited to explore the oil press, an integral part of the estate’s operations. The production season there concludes earlier than usual, with olive harvesting starting at the beginning of October and finishing by November 18th. This particular year saw a lower yield in quantity, marking it as an exception.

The estate takes pride in its certification to produce Laudemio, a top-quality extra virgin olive oil. Laudemio is celebrated globally as a premier extra virgin olive oil, a testament to the estate’s commitment to excellence.

Being part of an exclusive group of 20 producers worldwide is no small feat and bears testimony to the farm’s rigorous standards and passion for excellence. Achieving certification for all tanks to produce Laudemio highlights how special it is to visit this place.

Keeping it Organic: The Harvest and Cleaning Process

Modern Olive Oil Production Line at Fattoria di Maiano with Advanced Equipment
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

At Fattoria di Maiano, every step of olive cultivation is done organically. Even the seemingly mundane process of removing leaves is done carefully to preserve the purity of the olives. They use only water without any additives to clean the olives, which shows their commitment to organic principles.

This attention to preservation goes beyond the groves and is foundational to the quality of the olive oil produced. After the gentle cleansing, the olives are transformed using a pressing machine with seven precise knives that ensure the olive pits are finely cut.

The result is a pâté that embodies the essence of the olive, including the pit, which is a blend of richness and complexity. This pâté is considered a treasure reserved for the highest tiers of culinary art.

From Acidity to Perfection

Artisanal olive oil production with modern equipment at Fattoria di Maiano
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

In the pursuit of finding the perfect extra virgin olive oil, several misunderstandings revolve primarily around acidity levels. Fattoria di Maiano focuses on educating visitors and demystifying the complex process of olive oil production.

Acidity standards are stringent and non-negotiable, and only oils with levels below 0.80 are eligible. You can observe firsthand how a simple number, like 0.12 acidity, goes beyond mathematical limits and symbolizes excellence and certification ease.

Interior Dining and Restaurant

Artisanal cheeses and cured meats at Fattoria di Maiano deli
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Inside Fattoria di Maiano, you’ll find a charming dining room and a small market serving fresh artisanal products from locals in Tuscany. I spoke to the owner, which was passed down to him as a family business.

His bedroom was in the main dining room as a kid growing up. Moments like these are why I truly love hearing the background of multi-generational-run businesses, particularly regarding food and wine.

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