Benvenuti! Enjoy your time on this special website!

Maria Montessori • Antinori

Maria Montessori • Antinori

Did you know?
Who lives in the Italian Presidential Palace called the Palazzo del Quirinale? When Italian politics are discussed in other parts of the world, the name most often mentioned is that of the elected Prime Minister. However, the President of Italy is Sergio Mattarella. President Mattarella, the 12th president of Italy since the end of World War II, presides for heads of state and is serving a 7 year term which began in 2015. 

He resides at the Quirinale Palace in Rome. The President is guarded by the Corazzieri, the mounted division of police formed in 1868 as an escort of honor and security first to the sovereigns.

The changing of the guard at the palace, which includes close to 200 military and a marching band, is quite spectacular. The Romans have perfected pomp and ceremony after over 2500 years of practice!

Famous Italian
Maria Montessori, M.D., was born 31 August 1870 in Chiaravalle, Italy, to Alessandro Montessori and Renide Stoppani. Montessori schools are located around the world now, thanks to the successful teaching method devised by Maria Montessori. She was Italy’s first woman to graduate from medical school, and the first female doctor in Italy. Pope Leo XIII helped her to gain acceptance to the University of Rome's medical program, and Pope John XXIII was an advocate, as well. The Montessori Method creates environments that foster the fulfillment of a child’s highest potential – spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual – as a member of the family and the world community. Dr. Montessori traveled to the United States first in 1913 when Thomas Edison and Helen Keller were strong supporters of her teaching programs to help children attain their fullest potential. Italy paid tribute to Montessori by featuring her on the 1000 lire note in 1990, and she was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 1951. She died on 6 May 1952 in Noordwijk, Holland.

New phrase
“Nessuno puo essere libero se non è independente .” No one can be free unless they are independent. Maria Montessori, MD

Place to visit
Badia di Passignano, located in the heart of Chianti Classico country in Tuscany, is a picturesque town which includes an abbey founded in 395 by the Archbishop of Florence. Monks of the Vallombrosian Order, a reformed branch of the Benedictines, have specialized in viticulture for centuries from the times of St. Giovanni Gualberto, the order’s founder. His relics have been preserved in the abbey since his death in 1073. The Antinori family now owns the vineyards surrounding the abbey. Tours of the abbey’s cellar and lunch at adjacent Osteria di Passignano can be arranged by contacting Marcello Crini or Maurizio Colia at 055.8071278.

Osteria di Passignano. Marcello Crini, owner and enthusiast of Tuscan enogastronomic culture and his wife Milva make lunch or dinner here an epicurean feast. Head chef Mattia and his team rein vent classic dishes in an original way and prepare homemade ravioli di Pappa al Pomodoro, gnocchetti di zucchine (gnocchi with small flowering zucchini) and pici all’uovo (t hick egg spaghetti) with crunchy vegetable cubes and prawns, Tagliata di Manzo (Sliced tenderloin), pan fried turbot accented by impeccable wine pairings such as Chianti Classico Riserva Badia a Passign ano, produced in the 1600-year-old abbey, and Solaia. A true Slow Food experience. Attentive and friendly service. Wine tastings at their wine shop La Bottega and local wine tours are organized by Marcello Crini and Maurizio Colia, Grand Sommelier. One day cooking classes for 4-10 people are available. Coveted Michelin two forks. Michelin calls this an “enchanting location…on a par with the modern-style cuisine firmly rooted in the past.” Via Passignano 33, Loc. Badia a Passignano, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, FI Firenze Italy 50028 Telephone 055.8071278 FAX 055.8071278 email

Hotel Belvedere San Leonino *** The Hotel Belvedere di San Leonino is situated near the 11th century church of the same name and surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, cypress trees and woods. Located in the heart of the Chianti region, the land of the famous Black Rooster wine, it has a splendid panoramic views stretching from Siena to Monteriggioni. Siena is 15 minutes away and San Gimignano 30 minutes. Belvedere di San Leonino offers 28 rooms with authentic furniture in rustic Tuscan style, terracotta floors and old beamed ceilings. Beautiful garden and large outdoor swimming pool. A buffet-style breakfast is included in the price and you can enjoy the delicious dinners in the hotel restaurant," Il Cortile". Falassi and Orlandi families own this fabulous property and Christina Zanderwerss from Holland has served as the engaging and helpful manager since 1988. Loc. San Leonino -Castellina in Chianti, SI Siena 53011 - Tel. 0577.740887 - Fax 0577.740924 e-mail: |

Marchesi Antinori: Tenuta Tignanello, Tuscany. The Antinori Family is one of the world’s great winemaking dynasties! Antinori has been a name synonymous with fine wine since 1385. Il Marchese Piero Antinori and his three talented daughters Allegra, Alessia and Albiera, the 26th generation to work in the family business, and Renzo Cotarella, the managing director and talented oenologist, continue to take our breath away.

Italy Heralded by Mauro Battocchi, former Consul General of Italy in San Francisco:

If kids made all the rules in school, the lesson plan would consist of ice cream eating and recess. But what if the teacher set the curriculum, and the children themselves decided how to learn the subjects? That would be the Reggio Emilia approach to early learning, developed by Loris Malaguzzi in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy after World War II. This approach, which emphasizes making children the protagonists of the learning process, has influenced early education all over the world – including La Scuola Internazionale di San Francisco. In fact, the first official visit I made as consul general was to inaugurate this remarkable school at the beginning of September.

The Reggio Emilia approach posits that children find their individuality at an early age, and thus, must have some control over their learning. Emphasis is placed on children exploring and discovering the world around them on their own terms – and ultimately expressing themselves as individuals.

Sounds good on paper, but does it actually work? You be the judge.

Since the 1940’s, the Reggio Emilia approach has spread far beyond Italy and is valued worldwide for its innovative approach and tangible results. It turns out that children learn well when they collaborate with their teacher instead of obey educational dictates. For example, if the lesson plan is “colors”, the Reggio Emilia approach would pepper the students with open-ended questions about color. Based on their responses, a project-based approach to learning would emerge. (The children want to paint each finger a different color? OK, that’s the lesson plan!) The teacher then participates alongside the children as a co-learner and collaborator.

Here in Northern California, the Innovative Teacher Project is working to encourage this powerful approach to early education; and schools like The Room to Grow preschool in Rockridge, Oakland are embracing the Reggio Emilia pedagogy with excellent results.

An interesting aspect to the Reggio Emilia approach is that confusion is not viewed as an enemy, but as a contributor to learning. Confusion breeds curiosity which motivates learning. Teachers allow mistakes to happen so the children can learn their way out of them. Projects are allowed to begin with no clear sense of where they may end. In this way children are challenged to make sense of their self-created initiative.

This spirit of trial and error – of learning by doing – is at the core of Californian entrepreneurialism. It shares a kindred spirit with the hands-on credo of the Reggio Emilia approach that was conceived over half a century ago in Italy and continues to inspire our young leaders of tomorrow. 

Learn more at learn more at or

Giuseppe Garibaldi • Bellagio

Giuseppe Garibaldi • Bellagio

Antonio Meucci • Deruta Ceramics

Antonio Meucci • Deruta Ceramics