The Colombini were one of Siena’s noble families, active in the Sienese government since the beginning of the 1000.
The first member to be quoted in the chronicles was Tignoso Colombino, after him his children were named Colombini and since then the family’s name remained. His residence was a castle in the village of Uopini, just outside Siena. The same castle became an hospital in the Middle Ages and it is still in existence.
In 1200 the family was allowed to have a Coat of Arms with the four little doves painted on a blue field and separated by a golden cross. With the years the cross disappeared, maybe because of a Crusade or, simply, to signify the compassionate attitude of the family.
On 1560 Cosimo Colombini became Podestà (Mayor) of Montalcino, the same position to be taken 470 years later by Giovanni Colombini. Cosimo was another daredevil, very jealous of his wife Girolama Salvani, because of that or maybe for the innocent game of a snowball thrown causally, he killed Alessandro Piccolomini, the nephew of the powerful Pope.
Fortunately Cosimo was liked by the Grand Duke of Tuscany who pardoned him, saving him from a death sentence. Many other Colombini served the Grand Duke as soldiers and sailors, like Antonio, Francesco, Stefano and Torquato, tha latter fought the Turks in the battle of Lepanto. Others were famous jurists, above all Leonardo and Panfilo.. Giulio Cesare Colombini was a literate who collected and published the letters of Beato Giovanni. The family split in different branches, all of them extinct a part of ours, established in Lucca in the XVIII century. In 1780 the family obtained the title of Earl by Maria Teresa Cybo d’Este, Duchess of Massa and princess of Modena.
At the beginning o the XiX century the family lived in Carmignano near Lucca. They continued to maintain a strong relationship with Siena. For this reason Paolo Colombini, a law scholar, decided to become a Notary. He followed the Bishop of Lucca who moved to Montalcino, in order to manage also his minor agricultural properties located there. It was a lucky choice, starting a new chapter of the family history, which lasts till today. His son, Pio Colombini, was an Academic, a genial Professor in Medical Science who discovered a therapy to cure the syphilis. Despite his medical profession he wrote on his passport “landowner” and he produced the first bottles of Brunello. He married Elina Padelletti, from an ancient and noble family of Montalcino, who increased the possession with the villa Podernovi, where are located today the cellar and laboratories.
Their son Giovanni Colombini, born in 1906, was an innovator, a pioneer of the modern viticulture. The opening of the first Italian public wine shop in the Fortress of Montalcino, in 1936, was his idea. The same Fortress was restored during his years as Mayor of the city.
He was the one that started the first mail-order selling of Tuscan wines and also the first sales overseas in many markets. He was also innovative in the way of selling hundreds of thousands of bottles for a very high price, changing the future of a wine, from a restricted élite of consumers to a much wider category.
Images Fattoria dei Barbi