Villa Il Palagio estate lies amid the rolling hills of the lush, fertile Tuscan countryside south of Florence. The private home of Sting and his wife Trudie Styler and the favorite retreat for their friends and growing family, this truly remarkable sixteenth-century estate nestles among the vineyards of the Chianti region.
Il Palagio is set above the picturesque Tuscan town of Figline Valdarno. It has been the summer home for Sting and Trudie’s family for the last two decades, and the setting for many of their intimate parties, private concerts and anniversaries. The estate — the villa, its guesthouses, vineyards and olive groves — has been lovingly restored by Sting and Trudie, and is now a vibrant and fully functioning organic farm and vineyard.
From the mid-1500s Il Palagio has harvested, fermented and bottled its own wines. Sting and Trudie have gone to great lengths to keep the tradition alive. Using organic farming methods, they have replanted 27 acres of vineyards since 2000, resulting in four beautiful reds: Roxanne, Casino delle Vie, Sister Moon and When We Dance.
From its very beginning, in the 1500’s, Il Palagio has been an agricultural property. In the late 1700s the Martelli family purchased the estate, which grew in size with their prosperity. In 1819 it was sold to the Countess Carlotta Barbolani of Montauto, widow of the Duke of San Clemente. Il Palagio, in the family’s hands for 178 years, produced wine, oil, wheat, corn, sugar beets, peaches, apricots and cherries.
Trudie and Sting have a well-documented commitment to philanthropic efforts. In 1989 they founded the Rainforest Foundation which has raised more than $40 million to support indigenous rainforest peoples and help them protect their ancestral lands. As a UNICEF ambassador, Trudie has raised $10 million for their efforts. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Il Palagio products is earmarked to benefit charities.
In 1990, Trudie Styler began what would become a seven-year search for an Italian retreat. In 1997 she found Il Palagio. With stewardship of the historic Il Palagio passed to Trudie and Sting, there followed a decade of restoration and expansion; hundreds of acres that had been sold off by the Duke were reacquired, doubling the size of the estate which now comprises 865 acres, much of it given over to forest. The buildings on the property— some of which date back to the 16th century—were restored and modernized.
Concurrently, the couple began renovation of the vineyards replacing 27 acres of vines in 2000 under the direction of the late famed viticulturist Alan York whose in career in organic and biodynamic agriculture spanned more than forty years. As Trudie commented in a September 2007 story in Food & Wine Magazine, “I think biodynamic is the way to go.” The vineyards have been expanded and today 65 acres are planted to grapevines.
At the same time, the olive groves on the property—some 8,000 trees, hundreds of years old—were sensitively returned to full production under the watchful eye of the estate manager, Paolo Rossi. The olive groves are, incidentally, Sting’s favorite spot on the property.