In the years we have been importing olive oil, there is no producer more revered than Giorgio Franci. His peers stand in awe as they call him King Giorgio. They appreciate his skills and knowledge and he is held in the highest esteem for his authentic production. (See our 60 Minutes Agromafia post to learn more about olive oil that’s not authentic!)
Giorgio has built upon his father’s mission, and pushed to success. His facility is a sight to behold, from the multiple production lines, to the fabulous tasting room overlooking Val d’Orcia on the Siena side of Monte Amiata. If you gaze across the valley to the Banfi castle on the next hillside, the grove of olive trees ringing the castle belongs to Giorgio.
We were dining in Montenero at Antica Fattoria del Grottaionea, a delightful Slow Food recognized restaurant, when we realized how close we were to the Franci operation. Fortunately, Giorgio was able to meet with us the next day. (Even more fortunately, we had met him many times over the years — but thus was our first visit to “his place”.)
If you are in the area, you must arrange a visit! (We can help!) At this time of year, the trees have flowered and been pollinated. The olives are growing, and some are quite impressive compared to those seen in other areas of Tuscany.
The grove we visited must have the perfect exposure for the best growing conditions. We learned that some trees are entrusted to the north slopes as they are hardy enough for the conditions, while others to the south slopes, to enjoy warmer summers and milder winters. We saw Frantoio trees with plentiful olives, the silvery blue green of the Moraiolo trees, and the not-yet-surging Olivastra Seggianese. (A full selection of Giorgio’s olive oils can be found.
If you would like to see the location of Frantoio Franci, the map of Montenero d’Orcia can be seen here.
Go beyond the well traveled hills of Tuscany, and explore a wider range of landscapes. Journey to Val d’Orcia and you will discover views that stun and enthrall.
Visitors often know the hills in the area marked by Firenze, Siena, and Pisa. Go even further afield to the wide open landscapes of Val d’Orcia. A vast landscape patch worked with wheat fields, olive trees, and arrays of grape vines…
According to National Geographic, this UNESCO World Heritage site is the most photographed area in the world. Climb a hillside and you’ll have a hard time parting with your camera. Try as you might, it is not possible to fully capture the vast glory of this land.