Legend has it that this city has Etruscan origins, and that it was founded by the two sons of Remo, Senio and Ascanio. This noble city is able to SIENA – Piazza del campodocument lots of history: Romans, Guelfs and Ghibellini… All this is confirmed by the presence of places and buildings of remarkable importance, like the gothic town hall with its Torre del Mangia, the Fonte Gaia, Palazzo Sansedoni, Palazzo Salimbeni, il Chigi – Saracini, Palazzo Tolomei, Palazzo Piccolomini and the numerous little churches like that of San Francesco, S. Domenico e Santa Maria dei Servi. The centre is surrounded by walls from the 1300s. The roman-gothic style Duomo, with its black and white zebra bell tower, and its indoors filled with works of art. But, the marvels of Siena don’t end here: the Pinacoteca Nazionale, the Museum of the Opera Metropolitana, with its masterpieces from the “Scuola Senese” are splendid demonstrations of the local art. Siena is a city full of atmosphere, the small steep cobble stone roads converge into the famous Piazza del Campo, the shell shaped piazza more simply called ‘Il Campo’. This piazza is certainly one of the most beautiful in Italy, on the 2nd of July and on the 16th of August, it hosts with extraordinary enthusiasm the ancient Palio of the Contrade.
Founded in 1343 and reconstructed in the second half of ‘500, already property of the Camaldolites, with its church, its priest’s house and its three cloisters it became one of the most beautiful carthusian monasteries in the territory.
THE VILLAGES OF THE CHIANTI:
Of Etruscan origin, Castellina in Chianti, played a primary role for its key position connecting the Etruscan towns in the Centre and the North.
Fortified by the Florentines, in 1203, Castellina grew in importance since it was on the main road connecting Florence and Siena.
The historic medieval centre, the town’s defensive walls, the Rocca and Via delle Volte are excellent examples of its history.
Medieval fortified village in the centre of the Chianti Classico Black Rooster area.
It was capital of the Chianti Federation and point of balance between Siena and Florence, the two main towns which always had quarrels and divided the territory.
Radda maintained from its history the beautiful elliptic form.
Besides the military fortifications, until today relics of the walls are still visible.
Gaiole was already prosperous in the Middle Ages.
The town plan, arranged around the main street, which opens up to a triangular piazza, is typical of Tuscan market towns.
Although the street plan of the historic centre and a few medieval buildings, Gaiole is predominantly a modern town.
From Siena, remaining on the “Chiantigiana” one arrives at Greve in Chianti.
Before the 16th century, Greve was a small village which grew in size with the arrival of various “castle” people to the valley and also for its weekly market.
Of remarkable importance is Piazza Matteotti with its galleries and the adjoining village of Montefioralle.
The Castle originally belonged to the Benedictine monks of the Coltibuono Abbey and the name “Meleto in Chianti” appears for the first time in 1269, in the Florentine Guelphs precious “Libro degli Estimi”, as the property of the family Ricasoli. The Ricasoli family extended and embellished the building over the centuries, and today the Castle still has its massive 15th century fortifications with an imposing cylindrical tower, but also the aristocratic grace of the “villa nobile”, with its sequence of furnished and decorated rooms, and an unparalleled 18th century theatre.
The castle rises in the centre of the Sienese Chianti area, at approximately half way between Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga.
Brolio castle is strongly connected to the Ricasoli Firidolfi family, who were invested as lords of Brolio by Frederick Barbarossa in 1167.
Today Brolio resembles no longer a manor house, but a Neo Gothic Villa, as a result of works carried out in 1861 for Baron Bettino Ricasoli.
Although the castle is private , it is open for visits, except the palace.
It is located on the southern edge of Chianti Classico, on a road off the main road between Gaiole in Chianti and Cavriglia.
Badia a Coltibuono is, with Badia a Passignano, Badia Berardenga and Badia a Monte Scalari, one of the four oldest abbeys in Chianti.
The origins of the abbey, in a magnificent, panoramic setting, dates back to the 11th century. Today, Badia a Coltibuono comprises the Church of S. Lorenzo, a farm with cellars and wine shop, a restaurant and a shop selling local products.
It is located nearby the motorway Firenze – Siena, exit Tavarnelle or S. Donato.
Passignano resembles more a fortified village than an abbey and is surrounded by buildings of various periods. The earliest document drawn up at Passignano dates to 884. Badia di Passignano is one of the most famous and richest cenobies in Tuscany.
It is located on the southern border of Chianti Classico, at 18 km from Greve in Chianti.
The buildings that make up the Vallombrosan abbey include the church of S. Cassiano, the dormitory, cloister, library and Abbot’s quarters.
The big St. Galgano’s Abbey was built between 1220 and 1268, when in Italy the Romanesque style was merging with the newborn French Gothic style.
The Abbey’s shape is the classic Latin cross.
The building made up of the Hermitage (also called Montesiepi’s Round) and of the ruins of the big St. Galgano’s Cistercian Abbey, is one of the most enchanting views in Tuscany. In Montesiepi’s Round you can find St. Galgano’s Sword in the rock.
At the end of 1789, after that Montesiepi’s Round had been put up in Pieve, the big abbey was deconsecrated and left for good to lie in ruin. Today, for its enchanting setting the abbey Santantimois a place for concerts.
Sant’Antimo rises in the Starcia valley and is one of the most beautiful monuments in the Romanesque style, probably cistercian. There are no particular frescos in the abbey, but a Jesus who comes out of the grave, accompanied by two angels, in the crypt. There is also a beautiful wooden cross over the greater altar. The acoustics of the church are exceptional. All the masses are celebrated with Gregorian chants.
In the centre of the Crete Senesi, a characteristic countryside, nearby the beautiful village of Asciano, Monte Oliveto Maggiore has the looks of the big benedictian abbeys.
A tower with drawbridge stands at the entrance to the monastery, the road leading to it is surrounded by cypress trees and small chapels. The tower is decorated by a terracotta representing the Madonna and Child flanked by two angels. The interior of the Church which is in the shape of a Latin Cross, was redesigned at the end of the 18th century. The highlight of the monastery is its Great Cloister.
THE VILLAS AND GARDENS :