Tours Around Tuscany

three examples  from each Itinerary....

Red Itinerary
Montalcino
Monte Oliveto
Pienza

Blue Itinerary
Gaiole in Chianti
Radda in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti

Green Itinerary
S.Gimignano
Volterra
S.Galgano

 

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   Castellina in Chianti

Castellina in ChiantiCastellina in Chianti is another quietly affluent hilltop town, yet it was at one time at the very frontline of the ebbing and flowing wars between Florence and Siena. A striking remnant of those times is the Via delle Volte, a covered gallery that was once part of the town fortifications. The old fort, in the central square, is now home to municipial offices. Also we ca see a clear example of Etruscan tomb, with the typical cypresses at the top of the hill containing the tomb, and the 4 entrances rapresenting the 4 cardinal poles.Near Castellina in Chianti there have been the most considerable archaelogical finds of Chianti: the four graves dating back to VII-VI century b.C. under the tumulus of Montecalvario make the reaserchers to assume the existence of an important Etruscan centre between Casa Vico and Salivolpi (testified by recent proofs), even if the territory of Castellina is rich of other archaelogical (Rencine, Vignale) and toponomastic finds, which prove considerable Etruscan and Roman settlements. Castellina is reminded from the XI century as depending from the noblemen of the castle of Trebbio (the current Trebbia in the council of Radda) and from the Guidi family. In the following years Castellina had a primary role in the fights between Florence and Siena (the region of Chianti represented the main theatre for these fights), even if according to the peace of Fonteruroli (1201) and to the "lodo" of Poggibonsi (1203) - which followed a first agreement reached in 1176 in San Marcellino - the border line between the two republics was already defined. The development of Castellina was due to the fact that it was positioned on the shortest road link between Florence and Siena (the so called "strada regia romana"), so that, when the Lega of Chianti was established, it became its administrative centre and it maintained this function in its own "terziere". At the end of 1300 it was involved in the war between Florence and the Duke of Milano, who was allied to Siena, and during these fights Castellina was sacked and burned, so that the republic of Florence decided to build new fortifications. These fortifications are still existing and they are formed by a tour of walls shaped as an irregular and stretched polygon, reinforced by angular towers, and with two doors (now disappeared) in the minor sides. On the southern side and on the highest point of the walls was included a powerful quadrilateral building which, restored, is today the city hall; on the northern side of the walls, the leaning of the houses against the walls has given origin to a particular "sotterranea" (underground) street, the so called "volte" (vaults). The built-up area inside the walls, except for the new romanesque parish, has kept an important environmental value, from which some buildings arise, such as the ones of Bignardi and Segni-Straccali. .