The wooded Chianti landscape is the backdrop to Badia a Coltibuono former Vallombrosian monastery now villa, with its charming garden inspired by a Medieval “hortus conclusus”.

Badia a Coltibuono, is located at the top of a hill not far from the important Cetamura Etruscan settlement, where the crest of the hill marks the border between Chianti and Valdarno, on the road that connects Gaiole in Chianti with Montevarchi. Today Coltibuono is still surrounded by vast conifer woods originally planted by the monks followers of Saint John Gualbert, San Giovanni Gualberto. Since the Middle Ages, Badia has been the centre of a vast agricultural and wine estate that expanded over the centuries thanks to donations from the land owners of the area. The name “Badia a cultus boni” (Abbey for a good harvest) was chosen by the monks for good fortune. The earliest mention of “Chianti wine” can be found in the late 12th-century records preserved in abbey’s archives. The garden, bordered by a long wall along one of the two long sides of the property, has been replanted in recent years but still presents clear traces of the ancient Medieval garden layout. The expansive rectangular space is divided by orthogonal paths partly covered by a rustic grapevine pergola with wisteria and common laburnum plants. The biggest section – that can be seen from the monastery windows, today a private residence – presents a geometric design with tall square boxwood hedges and large spheres at the corners; at the centre there is a simple rectangular stone basin. At the bottom of the garden, bordering the road, there is another small formal garden that can be accessed by some steps.