Italian winery opens vineyard apartments

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NEW YORK -- Italy's Marchesi Antinori winery opened new visitor accommodations at its vineyards halfway between Florence and Siena, and will pay agents 15% commission.

The Fonte de Medici, a quarter of a mile from the Tuscan village of Santa Maria a Macerata, consists of two small Renaissance estates known as poderi:

  • Podere Tignanello is a large stone farmhouse with seven apartments that can accommodate from two to six people.
  • Apartments all have separate entrances, and although they retain their original ceiling beams and terra-cotta floors, they have been fully renovated with modern bathrooms, full kitchens, telephones, heating and satellite TV.

  • Podere Vivaio is an ancient lakeshore villa that also is modernized, with two apartments that can accommodate two to four people.
  • In July, Fonte de Medici will add a swimming pool, tennis court and a small cafe in the village.

    The properties are in the middle of working vineyards on Marchesi Antinori's Santa Cristina estate, where the winery has been in operation for more than 600 years.

    "While guests should not expect to visit with the Antinori family, optional tours with tastings are available at Antinori's Santa Cristina and Badia a Passignano vineyard estates," a spokesman said, "and it would not be unlikely to see one or another of the Antinoris hard at work in the vineyards."

    Badia a Passignano also is the name of an ancient monastery one mile south of the accommodations that is one of the region's best-known attractions.

    Although generally closed to the public, it can be visited by prior arrangement on some Sunday afternoons, and it hosts public concerts in the summer months.

    Rates for renting the Fonte de Medici apartments range from about $572 to $660 a week for the smallest unit with two beds to $1,716 to $2,024 for the largest with six beds, depending on the season.

    For information and reservations, visit the Web site at www.fontedemedici.com, e-mail: [email protected] or contact manager Gilberto Nori at (011) 39-0348 397-9600, fax: (011) 39-055 821-8285.

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