M o n t e r i g g i o n i a n d t h e l e g e n d o f t h e h a n d m a i d s

Donna Ava Zenovi dei Lombardi

a l s o k n o w n a s t h e p r o t e c t o r o f t h e w o o d s b y l o c a l s

Along the Francigena near Monteriggioni on February 4, 1001 Donna Ava, widow of Ildebrando Signore di Staggia, founded with her children the Benedictine monastery of Abbadia Isola, richly endowing it with goods.
Legend has it that Donna Ava since the Middle Ages took care of her people through her seven handmaids, each of whom had a special dowry: Firmina Love, Aranda Happiness, Lucilla Freedom, Oletta Time, Arella Well-being, Arania Harmony, Nina Communion.
Poggio ai Laghi’s wines are dedicated to Donna Ava and her handmaids.

Donna Ava-min

 built at the request of the people of the village of Monteriggioni. (Marmoraia, Molli, Pernina, Pievescola, Simignano, Pietralata, and Pieve a Castello.) All designed with common features: west-facing facades, east-facing altars, and three sloping steps, but most commonly was the welcomeness built into the culture as well as into the masonry.

On February 4, 1,001 Donna Ava founded the Benedictine Monastery of Abbadia Isola with the help of her sons Tegrimo and Bonizio, lords of Staggia.

Around the year 1,000

A v a h a d s e v e n c h u r c h e s


The gratitude to these 8 women is still woven deeply into Tuscan culture. Unique to Italian culture is the fact that good deeds and good people are never forgotten, no matter how many centuries pass by.

The enthusiasm for these women has permeated through centuries inspiring even local artists, including our own, more than a thousand years later.

We have tried to pair each one of our wines with the attributes of one of the women to whom this town holds so dearly…

A r a n d a

was believed to be almost clairvoyant, predicting the future through dreams. Thanks to her Donna Ava was said to have saved the population from an impending epidemic.

L u c i l l a

who’s eyes were always in the sky, a dreamer and a romanitic loved watching the stars and drawing them with almost Hubble age clarity and accuracy.

A r e l l a

who loved plants and flowers used her knowledge to discover the healing properties of the local flora, with intelegance almost on par with the modern practices of eastern medicine she saved countless people from all walks of life. Donna Ava dedicated her time to teach the peasantry the properties of these local remedies so that they could use them when needed.

O l e t t a

taught the pesentry how to use the loom, and  Arella provided her with berries, earth, leaves and petals to create colorful threads. Oletta’s work was so beautiful that the countess ordered her to teach this art to the women of Montemaggio.

A r a n i a

loved children. when they got sick or cried she would bring them “pope” (rag dolls). These dolls had the power to heal, to soothe and to fall asleep.

F i r m i n a

Firmina and Arania were the handmaids closest to the family and their daily life. Firmina was told to have a passion for sounds. Locals even considered the hearing of her song on one’s wedding day to be a good omen.

N i n a

was considared to be the handmaiden of the forest, and she knew these woods like the back of her hand. Whenever someone got lost on the Montemaggio, she would help them find their way home. It was said she was like the modern day compass, but with a pleasentry unique to her


Let's Get Together!​

The estate is located 1.5 km from the Monteriggioni exit of the freeway between
Siena and Florence and can be reached by car and bus. Thanks to its proximity to the
freeway and the spaces offered in the middle of the Tuscan countryside, Poggio ai
Laghi is the ideal place to host private and corporate events
– Weddings
– Special occasions (parties, anniversaries)
– Corporate events (conventions, meetings, team building)