So, how did we find Fonte Martino, or did Fonte Martino find us? We are often accused of taking the scenic route when telling stories, so we’ll do our best to share the high points!
As we were planning our trip to visit Italy in August of 2016, we did what we always do, began searching for properties online. There are so many websites with properties listed, we really needed to find a way to focus. We ultimately decided that our ideal area to have a property would be in an area that made a triangle – with the points of the triangle being Siena, Cortona, and Montepulciano. Once we had decided on the area, next was finding a realtor and then once again, properties.
Thanks to some dear friends (and mentors) we met in 2014, Charles and Peter, we had the name of a realty company they used and trusted. We contacted them and after exchanging a few emails, began working with a Saint named Cristina. She was the realtor assigned to work with some crazy Americans who want to buy a property in Tuscany!
Cristina did her best to find out exactly what we were looking for in a home. We explained to her that our ultimate intention was to open a Guest House and share with others the Italy we fell so madly in love with. Cristina completely understood and we had an instant connection with her.
Over the next few weeks, she would send us properties she thought were a fit for us. We finally had it narrowed down to about five that were the most intriguing. There was one particular property that Cristina focused on. Much to our surprise, it was the first property we visited – Fonte Martino. Fonte means “spring”, as in a spring of water coming from the ground. Martino is for “San Martino” (Saint Martin), who coincidentally is the patron saint of Inn Keepers – how’s that for fate?
We can’t explain the truly incredible feeling we had as we approached the gate to the property. There was, and not to sound corny, an amazing magical feeling. It’s the kind of feeling you have that you are in the right place at the right time. Upon entering the gate, there is a winding drive that leads to the main house. With each bend of the drive, we oohed and aahed as we saw the woods, the nearby olive grove, and then finally the house. We stepped out of the car and immediately lost our breath by the most stunning panoramic view of historic Montepulciano. You see, the way Fonte Martino is positioned is so uniquely stunning that you will just have to see for yourself! There isn’t a neighbor in site but it’s not secluded at all: A lovely 5-minute drive to town.
The date the house was built is unknown, however, we learned that it was renovated in 1992 and was owned by an architect whose main residence was in Sicily. When we entered the house, we could see that great care went into the design and renovation. Although it was completed some years ago, the work was done with an architect’s skill and flare. Each room we visited built our excitement. We instantly had the feeling of “we found it”. We were home.
Being logical, we did not want to fall in love with the first house we saw, especially with others yet to see. Cristina gave us a bit of a coy smile and said, “Ok, but I wanted to show you the best first.” She is “Una Piccola Scimmia” – A Little Monkey, which is the nickname we lovingly gave her! She knew how special Fonte Martino was…
We proceeded to visit a few other properties and had many adventures while driving through the Tuscan countryside. One in particular involved our car being surrounded by 10 to 15 large fluffy white dogs that would not let us drive away! They followed us for what seemed like miles, barking and surrounding the car as if we were sheep to herd. At one point during our herding, David playfully rolled down Cristina’s window – just a little! This of course was met with a little screaming and then all of us all laughing afterwards! David picked up the lunch bill after that!
No matter which other houses and properties we saw, somehow, we just knew that Fonte Martino was going to be our new home.
We thought finding the right property would be the most difficult part…but oh boy, were we wrong. That story is coming up next!
Missed Part 1 of our adventure? Read about The Italian Spark…