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Monday 18 December 2017
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Castellina in Chianti and the Via Chiantigiana Towards Siena

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Castellina in Chianti stands on a hillock that dominates the Arbia, Pesa and Elsa basins. The unearthing of a 7th-6th century BC burial ground a short distance out of town, on Monte Calvario, has prompted academics to believe that Castellina was in fact originally an Etruscan settlement.

The earliest documents that refer to Castellina date from the 11th century and list it as part of the estate of the Castle of Trebbio, known today as Trebbia, which belonged to the Counts Guidi. In 1200 Castellina joined the Lega del Chianti league of towns, becoming the chief city of one of the terzieri that made up the league.

An important military strategic point during the Middle Ages, Castellina was fiercely contended by Florence and Siena. The frequent incursions into its surrounding domains by Senese troops, who also sacked the town itself on more than one occasion, prompted Florence to considerably reinforce the fortifications of Castellina.

In the 15th century square defence towers were placed along the defence walls, which had only two gateways: one towards Siena and the other towards Florence – neither survive today. The higher part of town has a crenellated rectangular keep that was converted into the town hall in 1927 after undergoing substantial restoration works. One of the most interesting elements of Medieval Castellina to survive remains Via delle Volte, however – a sunken walkway with narrow openings through the walls that afford magnificent views over the surrounding countryside.

One of the main communication routes across Tuscany, the Via Chiantigiana runs between Florence and Siena. Prior to the construction of the motorway that connects these two cities, the Via Chiantigiana was the quickest route from Florence to Siena and remains today one of the best ways of discovering the many artistic and historical treasures of Tuscany.

Travelling southwards along the Via Chiantigiana, after about 20 kilometres from Florence the first important town is Impruneta. Originally an Etruscan settlement that developed further under the Romans, during the Middle Ages Impruneta was one of the focal points of the war between Florence and Siena. Today the town is famed for its wine and oil, but perhaps its best known export is ceramic – a craft that has been alive here for many centuries, as testified by the fact that the entire roof of the dome of the Duomo in Florence is tiled in Impruneta ceramic.

A little further on down the Via Chiantigiana is Greve in Chianti, a small town that developed as a market town as from the 13th century thanks to its strategic position at the crossroads of two of the main roads that led to Florence and Siena. Each year an important market fair of Chianti Classico is held in the main square of Greve.

The Via Chiantigiana then runs along the banks of the river Greve to Panzano, a beautiful old hamlet perched amidst vineyards and olive groves, with an important church and a well-preserved castle. A little further south is Radda in Chianti, which in the Middle Ages was the flagship city of the Lega del Chianti league of towns that included Castellina, Gaiole and Greve. Today the town is the seat of the Consorzio del Chianti Gallo Nero consortium. Its 15th century Palazzo Pretorio, decorated with the coats of arms of the town’s Podestà through the ages, is well worth a visit.

Castellina in Chianti is to the south east of Radda and has become a highly popular international holiday destination. A little further south is Gaiole in Chianti, in an area that is particularly rich in castles and chapels such as the castles of Vertine, Meleto, Barbischio and Brolio – owned by the Ricasoli family and an important Chianti winery. The Romanesque Pieve di Spaltenna is well worth a visit, along with the Abbey of Coltibuono, erected in the 11th century by the Vallombrosa monks.

Still further along the Via Chiantigiana towards Siena, in the southern part of the Chianti, is Castelnuovo Berardenga. This is already in the upper Ombrone basin and the breathtaking landscape of the Crete Senesi is already visible from here. Founded in the 9th century, Castelnuovo Berardenga has a fine old town centre with a 14th century tower known as the Torre dell’Orologio, the Church of St Giusto and St Clemente and the Museo del Paesaggio. Surrounded by magnificent grounds, Villa Chigi Saracini dominates the town from above. As well as for its wine production, Castelnuovo Berardenga is also renowned for its wrought iron.

According to boundaries drawn up in 1929, the Chianti region ends here.
 

All'inizio

  General information
Town map 
Siena in the Renaissance 
Siena in the Middle Ages 
Siena in Antiquity 

  Transport in town
Town Map Siena 

  Transport out of town
Train services 

  Where to Stay
Historical Residences 
Hotels 
Farm Holidays and Country Houses  
Residence, Apartments 
Bed & Breakfasts 

  OFFERS & LAST MINUTE
Reservation Services Siena 
Last Minute Siena 

  Where to eat and drink
Disco Dancing 
Restaurants 
Pubs & Wine Bar 

  Education
Siena University 
University for Foreigners 

  Art and monuments
Palazzo Piccolomini and Palazzo delle Papesse 
Palazzo Chigi-Saracini 
Palazzo d’Elci degli Alessi 
Loggia della Mercanzia 
Palazzo Sansedoni 
Palazzo Chigi-Zondadari 
Fonte Gaia fountain 
Carthusian Monastery of Pontignano  
Forte di Santa Barbara 

  Art and religion
Church of Sant’Agostino 
The Duomo – The Cathedral of the Assunta 
Church of the Osservanza  
The Oratory of San Bernardino 
Church of San Francesco 
Short Biography of St Catherine of Siena  
St Catherine Sanctuary 
Church of S. Niccolò al Carmine 

  Museums and galleries
The Museo Civico 
Bologna-Buonsignori museum 
Accademia dei Fisiocritici 
I Musei Senesi 

  Art and tourist attractions
Cappella di Piazza 
The Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia 
Piazza del Campo 
The Montagnola Senese and the Fortified Village of Sovicille 
The Castles of Belcaro and Quattro Torri 

  The Palio of Siena
The Origins 
The July and August Palio 
The Contrade 
The Days of the Palio 
The Drappellone 
The Eve of the Palio 
The Corteo Storico Procession 
The Race 
The Patron Saint and Oratory of Each Contrada 
Weekly Appointments in each Contrada from April onwards 

  Sightseeing
Via di Città (formerly Via Galgaria), Siena’s Most Elegant Street 
Croce del Travaglio Place 
From Piazza del Campo to the Duomo Along Via di Città 
The Curves of Piazza del Campo 
Costarella dei Barbieri street 
Borgo d’Ovile 
The Terzo of Camollia – main streets 
Casato di Sopra e Casato di Sotto 
Terzo di San Martino district  
The Terzo di Città District - Via Stalloreggi, Via San Quirico 
The Terzo di Città District – The Pinacoteca Nazionale 

  What to see & do
Wedding in Siena 
Golf courses in Siena and Tuscany 
Wedding in Tuscany - Siena area 
San Casciano dei Bagni 
Chianciano Terme 
Bagni San Filippo 
Bagno Vignoni 
Rapolano Terme - Baths of San Giovanni and Baths of the Antica Querciolaia 
The Countryside around Siena and its Thermal Water Springs 

  Monte Amiata
Monte Amiata - nature tourism the year round 
SkiPass Monte Amiata 
WebCam sul Monte Amiata 
Meteo Monte Amiata 

  Specials - Out of town
Gift Ideas for traveling 
The Val d’Orcia and Its Main Towns 
Pienza - the old town centre 
Montepulciano - the old town centre 
San Quirico d’Orcia - the old town centre 
Montalcino and the Land of Brunello 
The Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and the Crete 
The Crete Senesi 
Castellina in Chianti and the Via Chiantigiana Towards Siena 
Siena and Southern Chianti - from the Castle of Montalto to the Castle of Brolio and on to the Castle of Meleto 
The Chianti Hills - Monte Calvo, Monte Luco and Monte San Michele 
Cortona and the Valdichiana 
San Gimignano - The old town centre and its major sights 
The Val d’Elsa - Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d’Elsa 
Along the Old Via Francigena 

  Typical products
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