On a hill located between Poggio della Fontanaccia and
Poggio di Tizzano, about 15 kms from Florence, stands the
magnificent 16th century villa/Castle of Castel Ruggero.
Both the Castle and the Estate which surrounds it, originally
belonged to the Florentine family, Alamanni, who gave
Florence distinguished diplomats such as, Piero, ambassador
to the Republic for about 50 years before being appointed
senator by the Lord of Milan, Galeazzo Maria Visconti or such
as, Luigi, a poet and politician. After the extinction of the
Alamanni family, the villa and the estate passed over to
different Italian families, and, in 1929, to the ‘Pecchioli d’Afflitto’
family. The Villa, renewed with modern criteria in the late
seventeenth century, currently belongs to the d’Afflitto family.
Castel Ruggero estate is composed by 130 hectares of land at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level, 18 of which are planted with specialized vineyards and the rest being olive groves and woods.
The land is characterized mainly by clayey soil, one of the best characteristics which gives the wines important and positive impulse. Six hectares are cultivated with Sangiovese and the remaining with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Due to the characteristics of the land, the production is very low and the grape harvest is carried out by hand, qualities which contribute to improve the quality of the vines. The alcoholic fermentation and the maceration take place in cement tanks and, immediately following the malolactic fermentation, then in Barriques for 18 months.
The estate was born thanks to the ideas of the grandfather of Nicolò d‘Afflitto who had at the time a thriving tobacco Business and bought the property in 1929. The cellar dated back to 1600 and conserves its antique structure which gives to the wines an ideal ambient thanks to a natural temperature given by a natural hole inside the cellar which picks the air from the exterior and brings it directly to the interior preserving always a 16-18 degree in both winter and summer.
La Famiglia d'Afflitto
Painting by Camille Corot in early 1800 representing Castel Ruggero. Currently at The Louvre Museum, Paris.
The d’Afflitto family is an Italian princely family from Amalfi and Scala,
which had for many centuries a great influence in military history, politics and
religion in South Italy. According to historical documents the d’Afflitto is an
illustrious and ancient family whose origins date back to Placido, who lived
in the times of Emperor Trajan, who later became Saint Eustace.
Then we lose track of them until the ninth century when a Leone d’Afflitto was
appointed Doge and first Governor of Amalfi. From the ninth century to the XIIth
we have very occasional news of the various d’Afflitto.
Regular news, without interruption, resume around 1100 when
Landolfo de Flictis and his son Jacopo left from Amalfi, with Monk Gerardo Sasso,
to Jerusalem in 1120. Jacopo d’Afflitto was the father of Landolfo, who was the advisor of Ruggero Il Bello in 1140. A Leone d’Afflitto participated in the second crusade and two d’Afflitto in the third crusade.
Branches of the d’Afflitto Family settled in Calabria in 1269 with the title of Princes of Belmonte and in Sicily in 1427 with the same title, in Abruzzo in 1492 with the Princes of Scanno titles, Dukes of Barrea, Counts of Trivento. This branch became extinct in the Caracciolo house in 1781. Three d’Afflitto participated in the defense of Malta during the siege by the turkish-Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in 1565: Gaspare d'Afflitto figure among the wounded, Mazzeo was made prisoner, Vincenzo in 1571 fought in the naval battle of Gozo and, ironically, died in Savoy "gloriously fighting on behalf of His Catholic Majesty against the French where he was captain of a small team of knights. Since 1593 to 1638 Annibale d’Afflitto was archbishop of Reggio Calabria. Donna Maria Luisa Imperiali d'Afflitto married in 1910 the duke Don Giovanni Vincenzo De Greuther, dux Romanus.
The d’Afflitto family was officially received into the Order of Malta in 1557. The first titles of nobility dating back to 1280. 49 baronies, 6 counties, 5 duchies, 5 principalities and 68 Marquees , in addition to the current title Marchesi, Patrizi of Amalfi.
Descendants still reside in Florence, Amalfi and Naples.