The Piano Wine Cellar

There’s a place not far from Rome where you can go on a fascinating journey through time: the futuristic Rocca di Frassinello winery, designed by Renzo Piano.


The Rocca di Frassinello estate is a joint venture between the family of Paolo Panerai, a well-known journalist, and the Domaines Barons de Rothschild-Château Lafite.

It lies in the Maremma region of Tuscany, an area of great beauty that is particularly suitable for producing superb quality wines. The red tower was designed by Renzo Piano and is a tribute to airiness with its system of mirrors that capture the sun and light up the barrel cellar carved out of the rock to a depth of 50 metres. Here in the darkness lie 2,000 barrels of wine extracted from Sangioveto (a clone of Sangiovese), Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Vermentino grapes, the perfect union of wine-growing techniques and know-how from Italy and France. The greatest product of this union is the Baffonero.

Renzo Piano’s winery is designed to lend itself to the operations of what is essentially a production facility, with a revolutionary division of spaces and outstanding attention to the vinification process. The initial phase in this process employs the effects of gravity to allow the grapes to fall naturally without using pumps, which would damage the quality of the grapes, which are exclusively hand-picked.

Wine growing has re-established the link between modern viticulture and the ancient Etruscan civilisation that grew up around 3,000 years ago. The burial mounds of the San Germano necropolis are concentrated in the Rocca di Frassinello archaeological area, built between the latter half of the 7th and first half of the 6th century BC. Eight monumental tombs have been uncovered, and a tour route is now open to the public. The winery has an exhibition of artefacts from the site.

For guided tours of the winery with tasting sessions, please email