The François family, which settled in Tuscany in the 18th century, has owned the Castello di Querceto estate since 1897. Of French origin, the family has produced such illustrious personalities as Giuseppe François, a noted mathematician, and Alessandro, an expert on archaeology and the discoverer of important Etruscan works like the celebrated François Vase, which is now preserved in the Archaeological Museum in Florence. Castello di Querceto and the land surrounding it are fascinating places steeped in history. In the past, the castle, erected as a lookout point on the Via Cassia Imperiale, one of the principal arteries of the Roman period, helped to defend the immediate area. Today, encircled by the green of the forests and the hills, it seems as if it had been constructed purposely to protect the invaluable heritage of its vineyards and olive orchards. Vines and olives grow on both sides of the valley of the Dudda, from the Sugame Pass and, beyond Dudda, toward Lucolena and Mount San Michele, which reaches a height of 400 to 500 meters (1,312-1,640 feet).