Poggio a Caiano
About Our Sister City
Birthplace of "All men are created equal." Home to a 15th-century Medici villa designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Less than an hour's drive from Florence in the heart of Tuscany. A Charlottesville Sister City since 1977.
The municipal territory of Poggio a Caiano extends for 5,97 square kilometres on the slopes of Italy Montalbano, in the valley dell’Ombrone Pistoiese. Its origins go back to 1962 when the districts of Pogetto and Poggio a Caiano were detached from the municipality of Carmignano and made autonomous municipality.
Poggio a Caiano is the most recent and the second to smallest municipality of the region. The locality, already inhabited in the Roman era was important in the Medieval for the presence of a small fort built between the XII and the XIII century by Prato to defend the bridge over the Ombrone, and for the fact of being from XIII to XVIII century the internal gate of Prato, and for being the departure point by river on the Ombrone and the Arno for the barges of the merchants going to Pisa and Livorno.
Charlottesville’s sisterhood with Poggio a Caiano is rooted in Thomas Jefferson’s friendship with Poggio native Filippo Mazzei. Mazzei was working in London to promote the importation of Italian produce to England when he met and befriended Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Adams, signer of the Articles of the Confederation and member of the Continental Congress. They persuaded him to move to Virginia to expand his business. In Virginia, Adams introduced Mazzei to Jefferson, with whom he shared his extensive knowledge of Italian wines, cheeses, and olive trees. Jefferson introduced Mazzei to Virginia politics. Mazzei and Jefferson shared views about democratic principles and Mazzei introduced Jefferson and Charlottesville to Italian grape vines that are still used in both Virginia and Poggio today for the production of wine.
History with Charlottesville: The multi-dimensional friendship between Mazzei and Jefferson inspired Poggio and Charlottesville to officially link the two cities in 1977 in commemoration of the bicentennial celebration of the American Revolution.
A Poggio a Caiano Project
A chef exchange led to new skills and lasting friendship in 2015-2016, as well as a memorable 2017 reunion.
2016 Chef Exchange. Downtown Belmont's Tavola restaurant and Charlottesville's Sister City Commission sponsored a chef exchange with Ristorante il Falcone, a restaurant in Poggio a Caiano with a 150-year history. Chef Roberta Vivetta Cintelli, 70, left Italy for the first time to cook at Tavola alongside Tavola Chef Caleb Warr. In July 2016, Warr in turn traveled to Poggio a Caiano at Il Falcone.
"With Chef Vivetta in particular, she's been cooking for 30 years, she's a third-generation restaurateur," Caleb told Newsplex CBS19. "To have that experience, have someone come here and give us that Old World knowledge, is priceless."
The week at Tavola included a public event styled after an Italian street fair, with numerous dishes prepared by Chef Roberta.
In 2017, a Charlottesville delegation traveled to Poggio a Caiano to celebrate 40 years as Sister Cities. Chef Roberta Vivetta Cintelli welcomed the full delegation--more than 20 Americans including Tavola's owners--at Ristorante il Falcone.