From the nineteenth century up to today: the history of a family
 
 
There’s no point in looking for the origins of our family, so distant as to seem that it has always been present in the San Polo in Chianti area:
one would have to cross too many centuries, too many battles, too many vicissitudes.
At any rate, thanks to some written records and to the memory of the older citizens of the town, we can go back as far as the mid-nineteenth century and narrate how a numerous family took up residence in this very house that long ago, when Antonio di Tanghe - Pasquale’s son - Pruneti by surname (at least according to the municipal records) decided to leave the "Valle", a few kilometers away from San Polo, to move to and settle in "Rinforzati", at the town gates.
 
 

That land, certainly more suitable for farming and for establishing what was to become the Pruneti farm, was, in fact, more central and already served by a provincial road "...dove vi si scambiavano anche due muli o due giovenche in marcia opposta…" [where even two mules or heifers could pass each other in opposite directions] and already had, in those times, its own blacksmith’s mill, a parish and a hostelry ".. [a house and pieces of vineyard made into a tavern]..

There is news of how Tanghe, a skilled mule-driver and woodsman, grew wheat and produced oil, wine, figs and anything that nature bestowed on him, but it was only with the help of Girolamo (his fourth child) that, towards the end of the nineteenth century, he began to sell the products grown on the family plot, setting out for the Florentine markets and selling directly along the road joining Florence to the Arno Valley.

A little later Gladiolus (or Iris) farming began, the bulbs of which were in demand from the biggest and most famous French perfumeries which used it as an essential basis for their perfumes. It is from this moment that one can really speak of the Pruneti farm being founded.

In the next generation, composed of Natalino ("Napoleone" for his fellow villagers given his outstanding qualities as a commander evident from a tender age) and Sabatino, who today we would define as "single by choice", the Pruneti farm began to make a name for itself on the market, establishing direct contact with important French companies interested in buying Iris bulbs.
 


This photograph, taken in 1923, shows the girls and women preparing the gladioli. In the background are some members of the Pruneti family: Girolamo (in the middle at the back) and his wife Elvira, Martino (his brother), Maria (his sister) and - in the middle - Anna, Antonio’s widow and Girolamo’s mother, with her grandsons, Sabatino and Natalino on either side of her).
 
 

In the meantime, as well as producing Extra Virgin Olive Oil and growing Gladioli, which complemented each other perfectly as regards timing and use of the land, increasing attention was paid to the production of wine. And... between the "sodo" [firm ground] to hoe, the oil to be produced and the many late evenings spent taking the roots off and cleaning the Gladioli bulbs, fulfilment and wealth came to the entire Pruneti family, which became one of the most important and famous farms in the area.



Towards the Sixties, still under the controlling eye of Natalino, helped by his son Gilberto, the farm began to be mechanized (with the purchase of the first tractor) and to become more commercial (with the purchase of one of the first FIAT vans) though never abandoning the traditional and faithful mule.




This photograph shows, among others, Girolamo, Natalino and Sabatino with his wife Adriana and son Gilberto during a pause in the preparation of the gladioli. - Photo 2e: 1954: Girolamo Pruneti, then almost seventy years old, intent on preparing the gladioli.
 



his photograph, taken in 1923, shows the girls and women preparing the gladioli. In the background are some members of the Pruneti family: Girolamo (in the middle at the back) and his wife Elvira, Martino (his brother), Maria (his sister) and - in the middle - Anna, Antonio’s widow and Girolamo’s mother, with her grandsons, Sabatino and Natalino on either side of her)




1954: Girolamo Pruneti, then almost seventy years old, intent on preparing the gladioli.
 
 




1957: threshing at the PRUNETI farm




1973: the faithful companion of much labour, the mule Cesira, who died in 1975. – Photo 2l: May 1973: Natalino Pruneti with his wife Adriana in a field of gladioli in full blossom)

 



1960 - Natalino Pruneti and his wife Adriana.




1960 - Sabatino Pruneti.
 
 
Paolo and Gionni Pruneti took over the family business after the third generation. The Pruneti brothers decided to specialize in oil production, paying special attention to each production phase: from recovering old olive groves to choosing the terrain and cultivars for the new ones, from pruning techniques to improving olive pressing and conservation. The choice of widening the oil market, compared with traditional direct sale, lead to the selling of the product in Italy and abroad.
 
 

At the start of the Nineties the recovery of another product began, one that has always been present in the house’s vegetable garden: Saffron.

After twenty years filled with crisis for the Iris market, direct contact with French perfume houses was reinstated in 2001. Interest in Iris and its bulbs has been renewed, yet for us they have distinguished the life of our family for many years.
High quality cosmetic companies more and more frequently are asking us to restart our traditional production.


Radda in Chianti, 14 May 1974: Girolamo Pruneti receives a diploma from the Chianti Classico Consortium for the merits acquired in 25 years of "constant and intelligent" work




1984 – Gionni can be seen by the Iris bulbs left out to dry and Paolo Pruneti can be seen further away.




2003 - Gionni and Paolo while preparing a shipment of Iris

High quality cosmetic companies more and more frequently are asking us to restart our traditional production.
In 2009 the mill was built, which was joined the following year by the “Oil-Tasting Room”.

Currently we make nine types of extra-virgin olive oil that differ in their aromas and flavours, yet are all of extremely high quality, created out of the fusion between family experience and culture, new manufacturing systems and the characteristics of the Chianti land.
Today we are happy and proud about bringing we have from the beginning.

 



Natalino Pruneti with his wife Adriana in a field of gladioli in full blossom).




Gionni Pruneti together with his grandmother, Adriana, both busy picking saffron flowers.




Irises in bloom fill the garden of the family’s historic house.




Some of Pruneti’s most prestigious labels.


 
 

The new production facility