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Visita il Mugello, culla dei medici, a due passi da Firenze e le bellezze toscane
 

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Chianti

Chianti lies between two important cities, Firenze and Siena, and extends from the Arno basin to that of the Ombrone; it takes in the Valdelsa to the west, while to the east it reaches the Valdarno Superiore. Chianti has always been a wine-producing area (there is evidence of viticultural activity right back in Etruscan times), and it is worth visiting both for the unmatched beauty of its natural landscape (inextricably inter-related with the work of man) and for the many villages, castles, and farms dotted around the area. Known throughout the world, this area is divided into two parts, the Chianti Fiorentino and the Chianti Senese.
Running through this historic territory is the Via Chiantigiana, which joins Firenze and Siena. Off this main route there are innumerable roads (both asphalt and dirt roads) leading to ancient parish churches, castles, and farms.

Starting from the north, the first important village on the Via Chiantigiana is Impruneta, famous not only for the production of wine and olive oil, but also and above all for its terracotta. The most famous 'cotto' comes from here, and it was even used to cover the dome of Firenze cathedral.

Continuing southwards you come to Strada in Chianti, which got its name because it developed along the old Via Cassia Imperiale built by order of Emperor Hadrian in 123 AC. Further south there is (amongst others) the Castello di Verrazzano, birthplace of the famous navigator Giovanni.

After crossing the river Greve at Ponte di Rimaggio, you arrive at Greve in Chianti. This sprang up in the Middle Ages as an extension of the Castello di Montefioralle (still within its walls), and then developed as a market village because of its position at the crossroads of two main routes. The Via Chiantigiana proceeds along the river Greve, then leaves it and runs between oak trees and vineyards until it reaches Panzano, a small village where many people take their holidays. There is an interesting and well-preserved old castle here.

The road runs between the Chianti hills and after a few kilometers you arrive at Volpaia, where you can find the Commenda di S. Eufrosino, a fine example of Renaissance culture. Not far south there is Radda in Chianti, which today is the headquarters of the Consorzio del Chianti Gallo Nero. The history of this village, which has experienced many ups and downs over the course of time, has been documented since 1984 by the Centro Studi Storici Chiantigiani, which is based in the Fattoria di Vignale.

To the south-east of Radda there is the well-known wine-producing village of Gaiole in Chianti, which saw considerable development in past centuries as a market centre because of its position on the route towards the Valdarno.
To the south-west of Radda is the village of Castellina, which occupies a kind of panoramic balcony over Chianti, positioned on a high hill at the centre of three valleys. It is one of the most important centres of inhabitation in the Chianti, and many people take their holidays here; its medieval structure is intact both in the centre and in the buildings dotted around the surrounding countryside, which today are mainly holiday homes.
A visit to the famous Castello di Brolio to the south of Gaiole is a must; a Florentine outpost in the territory of Siena, in the past it was the scene of conflict between the two cities. Since the first half of the nineteenth century it has been the property of the Ricasoli family and is one of the largest wine estates in the Chianti area.

Carrying on towards Siena, you come to Castelnuovo Berardenga, one of the points of entry to the Chianti area for those arriving from the direction of Rome. Besides the production of wine, this village is also well-known for its wrought iron craft trade. This village to the north-east of Siena is on the edge of the Chianti, whose boundaries were fixed by law in 1929. Its main product, Chianti wine, was the work of Barone Bettino Ricasoli who in 1800 established the proportions of the various grape varieties from which it is made and which make it unique.

Picture by Sandro Santioli

 
 
 
   
 
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