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frame dal video vr chianti origo realizzato da ett per Eroica e Opera Laboratori

In the former Ricasoli cellars, part of the same building housing the tourist information office and “Casa Eroica,” a new zone has been set up to narrate the various essences of the local area: the “Museum of the Origins of Chianti,” “Terre di Gaiole,” the “Olmastroni Gallery,” and the “Luciano Berruti Cycle Workshop.”

The “Chianti Origo” cultural hub is located here in the former Ricasoli cellars. It narrates the diverse spirits of Gaiole in Chianti through the new “Museum of the Origins of Chianti”, the area dedicated to “Terre di Gaiole”, the “Olmastroni Gallery”, “Casa Eroica” and “Luciano Berruti’s Cycle Workshop”. Gaiole, the heart of the Chianti region, starts from its winemaking tradition and presents itself to the public as the promoter of a bold project developing an original and comprehensive contemporary experience.

“Identity is an extraordinary bond for the community, bringing together energies and ideas, rooted in the history we examine and impart. Those who wish to discover the origins of Gaiole should begin with a visit to these spaces,” explains Michele Pescini, Mayor of Gaiole in Chianti, as he explains the initial idea that drove the municipal administration to establish such an ambitious and comprehensive cultural operation; designed for both residents and tourists. This became possible thanks to prestigious cooperation. “What we wanted to create in the former Ricasoli cellars, where the tourist information office is also located, is a real cultural and tourism hub, a privileged gateway to the various life forces of the area; a starting point on the journey to discover Gaiole in Chianti. The name ‘Chianti Origo’ highlights the birthplace of Chianti, but also evokes the word ‘originality,’ and shares the same root. Gaiole is certainly capable of generating unique and original projects, such as the Chianti Formula devised by Baron Bettino Ricasoli in 1872 or L’Eroica, which allowed us to export a new concept of tourism, sport, and lifestyle.”

“The narrative of this territory starts, therefore, with the ‘Museum of the Origins of Chianti,’ which tells of our roots,” adds the mayor. “It continues with ‘Terre di Gaiole,’ explaining the wine-making vocation of this land up to the present day, and then on to the Olmastroni Gallery, which bears witness to Gaiole’s sentiment towards a great artist, with human relationships still being an important value for our people. It finally concludes with Casa Eroica and Luciano Berruti’s bicycle workshop, our honorary citizen and symbol of Eroica, a mixture of passion, territorial vision, and projection of our small and proud community into the world.”

“Chianti Origo” is the result of group-working. Promoted by the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti, the project grew with the cooperation of L’Eroica, the Olmastroni and Berruti families, and the Terre di Gaiole Association. The archaeological museum route was curated under the supervision of the Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape Superintendence of the Provinces of Siena, Grosseto, and Arezzo. The cultural hub was designed, produced, and set up by Opera Laboratori, with the clear intention of narrating, since the earliest archaeological evidence, how this piece of land has evolved into a global wine brand. It has communicated through the art of its esteemed and honorary citizens and exported the value of non-competitive sport, linked to the world of cycling and the social and communicative phenomenon of the land it represents.

“Contributing our best energies to the birth of ‘Chianti Origo’,” says Giuseppe Costa, President of Opera Laboratori, “fully reflects the vision of the Group, which has always aimed at enhancing cultural heritage by supporting local institutions with our work.”

The “Museum of the Origins of Chianti” gives the public a hitherto inaccessible heritage of archaeological information and material; the result of fifty years of continuous research by Florida State University in Cetamura. It also includes artefacts from recovery and digs carried out over the last century under the expert coordination of the Superintendence and made accessible to the public thanks to the sensitivity and cooperation of private individuals and institutions. As an example, consider the marblework from the Roman villa of Monti in Chianti, loaned by the parish with the approval of the Diocese of Arezzo, Cortona Sansepolcro, or the Etruscan tomb grave goods retrieved in the San Giusto a Rentennano area in the early decades of the twentieth century.

The setup, designed and produced by Architect Piero Castri of Opera Laboratori, faithfully follows the guidelines issued by the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti and reflects the most advanced museography solutions using interactive tools. It adopts a caring approach to all types of visitors, from children to the most demanding adults. For inclusive and accessible communication, it employs various methods, from traditional didactic panels to cartoons.

“After a long process of concept and scientific design, a museum complex with a multifaceted nature is ready for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It represents various aspects of an area as famous as Chianti although still fairly unfamiliar,” comments Marco Firmati, director of the “Museum of the Origins of Chianti.”

“The commitment and cooperation of public entities, businesses, professionals – even if newly trained, and numerous citizens have enabled the creation of this archaeological exhibition route that narrates, in contemporary language with material evidence, the ancient history of the hills overlooking the valley of the Massellone stream, roughly corresponding to the municipal territory of Gaiole.”

“The creation of the new ‘Museum of the Origins of Chianti’,” states superintendent Gabriele Nannetti, “has managed to instigate virtuous collaboration between public and private sectors, making teamwork its added value, in what we hope will become a reference point for new research in the Gaiole area. Interaction between the Municipality and the Superintendence will therefore help us better understand the past, written amidst these hills, and convey it to the public through various forms of storytelling and the use of innovative communication methods.”

“The exhibition project,” adds archaeologist Maria Gabriella Carpentiero, “has a complete and coherent narrative unfolding on different levels, using a language accessible to all. It combines traditional tools with digital technologies, and interaction with reproductions and reconstructive models, recognising them as new essential forms of communication. The goal, therefore, is to make archaeology a storytelling tool to involve different types of audiences, from children to tourists, from enthusiasts to the local population, to harness the narrative potential of this discipline to the fullest. Our past can be an experience that involves everyone and has a real impact on the area in terms of relationships, communication, and access to knowledge.”

“Terre di Gaiole” is the Cultural Centre hall, created by Opera Laboratori in collaboration with ETT, dedicated to the material and multimedia exhibition of the absolute star: Chianti Classico produced in Gaiole. The expanses of vineyards tracing gentle hills amid ancient woods will be narrated in emotionally engaging and illustrative videos. The voices of Chianti, industrious hands, the rhythms of the cellars and the scent of the seasons will accompany visitors while they discover one of the most famous wines in the world.

“On behalf of the Association of Gaiole Winemakers,” declares Manuele Verdelli, President of AGV, “we are proud to have taken part in such an ambitious and important project. We wine producers represent ‘Terre di Gaiole’ here, and we are pleased to contribute to the development of an area and a community that we promote every day throughout the world thanks to our Chianti.”

The exhibition route also includes a large area dedicated to the world of cycling with “Casa Eroica”. It gives a comprehensive view of a sporting and cultural phenomenon that has gained fame and value worldwide over the years, without forgetting its Gaiole origins. This small community has been exported to the world on two wheels with the iconic burgundy brand of L’Eroica. Among exhibition spaces, multimedia, and interactive displays, visitors can discover the birth, evolution, and formal affirmation of the Eroica as a true network of events. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts worldwide explore all the gear, objects, and accessories that make Eroica a unique brand on the sports scene. Through augmented reality visors at “Casa Eroica,” visitors experience a virtual cycling experience, regardless of the time of year, and discover what thousands of cyclists feel in Gaiole in Chianti every first Sunday of October. The 2023 edition of L’Eroica provided Opera Laboratori with the remarkable opportunity to capture exclusive virtual reality footage throughout the whole race. Participants of L’Eroica are now leading characters of visitors’ virtual reality experience and everyone can now experience “the beauty of fatigue, the taste of achievement”.

“Luciano Berruti’s Cycle Workshop”

It was essential, in a place seeking to re-experience its origins, to include a faithful reconstruction of Luciano Berruti’s most familiar surroundings and one of the symbols of Eroica: his bicycle workshop.

“The idea,” says Jacek Berruti, “to take apart and faithfully reassemble the old workshop with its original furnishings, was originally the wish of my father, Luciano Berruti, forever the world’s Heroic Number 1. With the help of his wife Zofia, he decided to revive faded emotions and recreate an original working environment from the beginning of the last century, with every tool and detail carefully sought out and positioned to make a true and profound leap into the past. It was a past of passion, willpower, and great professionalism, of which the old workshop was both cradle and custodian, as well as an inexhaustible source of inspiration. By donating the workshop to the Municipality of Gaiole in Chianti at Casa Eroica, the Berruti family ensures that a growing number of people have easy access to this wonderful corner of dreams. Enthusiasts and mere curiosity-seekers alike can fully immerse themselves in the world of the Eroica, in the world of Luciano Berruti, to experience the strongest emotions ever more intensely, in the place where it all began.”

The “Olmastroni Gallery”

To enhance “Chianti Origo,” there is also the artistic testimony of one of Gaiole’s most celebrated and well-known admirers, Maestro Cesare Olmastroni. Thanks to the cooperation of his son Duccio, the wish to create an exhibition space, the “Olmastroni Gallery,” has been achieved to honour his memory with annual exhibitions dedicated to landscape paintings and other works by the artist from Fonterutoli.

“Regarding the presentation of the Gallery named after my father Cesare,” comments Duccio Olmastroni, “I would like to underline the bond formed with Gaiole in Chianti in the late 1960s when, still a young man, he was commissioned to restore Meleto Castle. This is one of the reasons why the paintings on show, produced at that time, are of meaningful places such as Meleto, the parish of Spaltenna and San Sano, where he was several times an exhibitor at ‘La Rana d’Oro’ artistic and cultural events in late summer. In those years, he strengthened his ties with Fernanda Pianigiani, who lived there and would later become his wife and my mother. That is why the mural ‘Pievi e Castelli,’ painted by him on the wall of Gaiole Town Hall, has an inscription, ‘Gaiole gave me a wife, and I want to honour her with this gift.’ Once again, I am moved by this town’s many shows of gratitude to his memory. I especially want to thank two dear friends: Stefano Di Bello, who has always been close to my father and with whom he shared ‘artistic’ thoughts, and Mayor Michele Pescini, a long-time admirer of my father’s art.”