The Estate – Introduction
Villa Saletta is a fascinating place, as much for its history as for its potential. The estate’s rolling hills, medieval borgo (village), old farmhouses, beautifully renovated villas and vineyards all bear witness to centuries of transformation under the ownership of a series of families.
The Gambacorta family, merchants and bankers from Pisa, first amassed a large part of its lands in the 14th century, creating an important and sizeable estate. Under Canon Gabriello Riccardi, the Riccardi family extensively remodelled and expanded the estate from 1580 and 1620 to create a self-sustaining, efficient and productive “Borgo Fattoria” on the estate.
The current owners, the Hands family, have rekindled the estate’s productive vitality, returning to the traditions of winemaking, agriculture, and game hunting that had taken place on the estate for centuries before. In all areas, traditional craftsmanship and a deep commitment to quality are the hallmarks of this century’s Villa Saletta.
The estate’s agricultural tradition lies in the centuries-old mixed agriculture practice that shaped the now famous countryside of Tuscany with wheat, livestock, and vines. The last fifty years has seen the advent of mechanisation and substantial changes in traditional farming. Villa Saletta is moving towards a longer growing and harvesting cycle, using pastures for hay, rotational woodland, and low-input crops such as barley and oats. The emphasis is on the long term preservation of the estate’s agricultural resources.
With its mixed forestry, extensive areas of undisturbed countryside and river valleys, Tuscany has always been an ideal environment for wildlife. In the 20th century, the large agricultural estates became particularly astute followers of the English estate shooting tradition. Today, Villa Saletta continues these practices, having registered portions of the estate as a game reserve for a driven pheasant shoot. Close attention is paid to the science of game conservation and Villa Saletta upholds a commitment to safeguarding the environment. Shooting weekends are always tremendous fun and full of friendly competition.