Art & Culture
Wine mastery is a gentle, passionate calling inherently linked to other artistic pursuits. These are reflected in the environs and daily activities of the Castello Banfi estate.
The Giovanni F. Mariani Museum of Glass, situated in the 13th century wing of the castle keep, traces the evolution of wine and glass from the 5th century BC to present. Most significant is the display of ancient Roman glassware, considered to be the most comprehensive private collection in the world. It also houses Etruscan and Roman artifacts, including burial urns and intricately painted pitchers and drinking cups, all found in the castle dungeons which were once the basis of an ancient settlement on this walled hilltop. Visitors are welcome daily, and a small entry fee funds the museum foundation for preservation of local art.
Within the museum complex, preparations are underway to house the fossilized bones of a 5-million year old whale recently unearthed on the estate just south of the castle. The oldest and most complete discovery of its kind in Europe, the skeleton is physical testament to the minerals and nutrients deposited in our vineyard terroir millennia ago to yield wines of character and depth.
The wealth of our surrounding countryside includes the civic museum in Montalcino. Principal works include paintings by early Sienese artists, 15th century Della Robbia terracottas, polychromic statues of the 14th and 15th centuries, religious artifacts from the 12th century on, and archeological finds from Neolithic, Bronze and Iron ages as well as from Etruscan and Roman tombs. Montalcino’s Duomo di San Salvatore houses the Immaculate Conception of 1588 by Francesco Vanni, Ventura Salimbeni’s John the Baptist, and Antonio Rossi’s statues of John and the archangel Michael. The 14th century Romaneque-Gothic churches of Sant’Agostino and St. Egidio are adorned with well-preserved frescoes by Sienese artists. The 17th century Church of Madonna del Soccorso has an exquisite Baroque alter and other significant works of art.