History of the Church and Estate
In the 1940s Chiesa del Carmine was surrounded by prosperous farmland. This land was composed of vineyards, ancient olive groves, various cereal crops, a sizeable dam and supported over a dozen families. By the end of the 1950s most of the properties were deserted by their inhabitants, as they left for the cities with the offer of housing with modern amenities and plentiful jobs in the booming manufacturing industries.
Sadly, by the time the owners purchased the property in 2009, the land had long since fallen into a state of disrepair, was barely maintained and a sizeable fire-risk. Previously the houses throughout the valley had been tenant farms and most properties housed a minimum of 12 people with the animals downstairs providing the heating for the inhabitants upstairs. All the properties within the valley were subsistence based with a few olives, vines and animals. Any profits from the land were divided 60/40 with the land-owners while maintenance costs were shared. At the bottom of the valley was Chiesa del Carmine, where friends and family would meet on a Sunday and forget about their work and busy lives.
Slowly the land is being returned to its former productive glory. A decision was made to farm the land organically, not least because all the properties within the valley source their water from the ground and hence would be drinking whatever chemicals leaked back into the water table. A number of major infrastructure projects were also undertaken.
The old vineyards with their concrete posts and vines were removed in 2011, the land prepared and one hectare each of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Merlot were planted. The old grove of 100-year old olive trees has been pruned and organically fertilized so that they are now back producing the delicious oil you find in the villa. The pasture has been seeded for alfalfa which is cut and baled twice a year by local farmers, whose Sardinian sheep produce organic milk which in turn is used to make wonderful pecorino cheeses.
The dam, originally built in 1959 but leaking terribly, was lined with bentonite sheets so that the water could be naturally collected and retained. The streams that feed this dam have been cleared so that the 1000mls of annual rainfall is available to irrigate the farmland throughout the year. This dam boasts many fish which were moved to a neighbouring dam during the course of the dam’s refurbishment and have now been returned to their home.