The property has an unmistakable appeal reminiscent of Giovanni Boccacio’s epic 14th century novella collection The Decameron, which is considered one of the grand masterpieces of classical early Italian prose. But when the European Heritage Project acquired San Martino in 2014 from the catholic church along with 20 hectares of estates, including olive orchards and vineyards, as well as an adjoining patrician landhouse dating back to the 17th century, it was in an undeniably neglected state. The heritage building stock had suffered from various unprofessional renovation steps that had altered the original substance in an atrocious way. Yet, worst of all, some buildings were near to collapse. Especially the church needed significant removal measures to strip historically unsound building materials and inadequate augmentations; hence, revoking previous distortion.
Sezzate is part of a territory that has been the cradle of Etruscan civilization, and later of Italian high culture that would have spread from Tuscany all over Europe during Renaissance. The estate together with its historical olive trees, autochthonous Chianti Classico grapevines, and consecrated sacral buildings, represents European cultural identity in a nutshell and embodies the birth of the humanist ideal. The awareness that such historical rarities need to be protected, is the obligation the European Heritage Project has subscribed itself to, including the preservation of the archetypal Tuscan landscape, and regional wine-and-food culture, acclaimed all over the world.