Already known by the Etruscans and subsequently referred to in Roman times as “Fons Rutolae” and “Fons Rutilant”, it was considered a stopping-off point where travelers between Florence and Siena could find refreshment.
Fonterutoli was, since Roman times, an important village. It was here, in 998, that Otto III, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, issued an edict transferring the possessions of the church of Arezzo to the Siena Committee. Fonterutoli was again the site, in 1202 and 1208, of the signing of the peace treaties that determined the historicassignment of the Chianti region to the Republic of Florence.
With regard to this, there is a popular legend saying that in the first years of the thirteenth century, the lords of Florence and Siena, exhausted by the endless wars over the Chianti region, agreed that the borders would be defined by a horse race: the riders would start at the crowing of the cock, one from Florence and the other from Siena. The border would be set at the place of their meeting. The Florentines chose a little black rooster, skinny and starved, who crowed constantly out of hunger. The morning of the race, this rooster crowed long before dawn, which permitted the Florentine rider to start out with a great advantage and to cover far more distance before meeting his opposite number, almost on the outskirts of Siena, at Fonterutoli, to be exact.
Fact or fiction though this may be, Florence did indeed define its border at Fonterutoli, aligned with Castellina, Radda and Gaiole, and formed the Chianti Military and Administrative League, whose symbol was a black rooster.
The first documents that name the Mazzeis – originally from the winemaking area of Carmignano – date back to the early eleventh century.
The family coat of arms, bearing three wooden hammers, tools emblematic of the cooper’s trade, also dates back to this time. In the fourteenth century, the coat of arms instead displayed three iron maces that still adorn it today. Since the very beginning, the Mazzeis have been winemakers and active participants in Florentine cultural and commercial life, even holding important posts in city government.
Ser Lapo Mazzei (1350-1412), a winemaker from Carmignano, dedicated to the art of making fine wine, was a Notary of the Florence city government and Proconsul of the Art of Judges and Notaries. Ser Lapo Mazzei is also considered the “father” of the Chianti name: he authored the first known document using the denomination, a commercial contract bearing his signature, dated December 16, 1398.
” To be paid, on December 16 (1398), 3 florins, 26 soldi and 8 dinars, to Piero di Tino Riccio, for 6 barrels of Chianti wine….the above pay by letter of Ser Lapo Mazzei “. (Datini Archives)
First known mention of the term “Chianti” in an official documentIt is the niece of Ser Lapo Mazzei, Madonna Smeralda, who was married to Piero di Agnolo da Fonterutoli, that the Mazzei family owes the ownership of Fonterutoli, passed down from 1435 until today, across 24 generations.