A Visit with the “Kids” in Chianti

Radda is one of my favorite places in Chianti and it’s all about location. Radda is located 50 km southeast of Florence and 30 km north of Siena. On the see and savor map that means it’s well placed for day trips throughout the region visiting some of Chianti’s most storied villages and towns. Castellina in Chianti, Greve, Gaiole, Castelvecchi, Volpaia, Certaldo are only a few of the many postcard stops you can make along the way eating the food and drinking the wine that connects you to the historical landscape of medieval villages, still intact, set on hilltops with ancient walls that overlook the woods and vineyards of Chianti.

On my mind map, Radda is a place that connects me to artisan producers that are still committed to preserving the handcrafted traditions of the region. L’Azienda Agricola La Pensiola in Radda in Chianti is one of those places. It is here that Eugenia and “the kids” live and work. The “kids” I’m referring to are a herd of Cashmere goats husbanded by Nora, the owner.  In an era that has marked the destruction of the small farm and lessened the ability of artisan producers to remain true to their traditions L’Azienda Agricola La Pensiola remains a model for small-scale agricultural enterprise and a guarantee that MADE IN ITALY means all fine things Italian. With meticulous care and attention, Nora oversees the entire process that transforms the raw materials of wool into finished cashmere yarn used to make hand-woven shawls and scarves of unsurpassed quality.  Capra (goat in Italian) Eugenia and her family freely roam the Tuscan hillsides busily producing the milk and wool used to make skin care products and hand-woven shawls and scarves with production methods that go beyond organic using sustainable agricultural principles to renew and reclaim the land .

I spent an afternoon in the farm house kitchen at La Pensiola discussing the craftsmen and artisan producers behind the brand. Over un caffe’ Nora and I shared our thoughts on small business enterprises in the States and in Italy and what it was like to take a dream and a passion and make it into a life’s work.