Toscana - Places to Visit - Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti extends over 99.45 square kilometres (38.40 sq. m.) on the hills separating the valleys of the Elsa, Pesa and Arbia rivers and lies entirely within the Chianti Classico zone.
The heights of Macia Morta and Monte Cavallaro exceed 600 meters (1,968 ft.), which is nearly the altitude of the town itself (578 m. or 1,895 ft.). Castellina in Chianti borders on the communes of Greve, Radda in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Monteriggioni, Poggibonsi, Barberino Val dElsa and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.
In 1991, Castellina in Chianti reported 2,512 inhabitants and 30.4% of the working population is engaged in agriculture. Nearly half the cultivated land is planted in cereals, while the remainder is devoted to vineyards and olive orchards. Crafts include terra-cotta, wrought iron and woodworking.
The history of Castellina in Chianti - The most substantial archaeological finds in the Chianti region have been made near the town of Castellina but the entire area around the town contains relics and place names indicating substantial settlement during Etruscan and Roman times.
Castellina was mentioned as early as the 11th century as a possession of the nobles of the Castle of Trebbio. The town played a prominent role in the disputes between Florence and Siena, which continued for many years.
The growth of Castellina was favored by its position on the shortest route between Florence and Siena. When the League of Chianti was founded, Castellina was initially chosen as its administrative centre.
At the end of the 14th century, the town was involved in the war in which Florence was pitted against Sienas ally, the Duke of Milan. After sacking and burning the town, the Florentines erected new fortifications, most of which are still standing.
The built-up area within the walls, with the exception of the recent neo-Classical parochial church, has generally maintained its historical integrity.
The countryside around Castellina contains many castles, some of which, like Monternano, belonged to feudal dynasties. That castles ruins still stand as a solid reminder of the power of the Squarcialupi family.
Other ruins, like those of Rencine, recall the small fortress that stood outside the walls of Monteriggioni.
Pietrafitta and Grignano, mentioned in the donation made by Marchese Ugo to the Marturi Abbey in 998, and Leccia, which has been transformed into a villa, are other historic structures. The territory also possesses churches that have preserved traces of their original Romanesque structures.
Among them are the parish buildings of SantAgnese, Lilliano (faade) and San Leonino in Conio (apse), the rectory at Rencine and the churches of Piazza, Ricavo, Monternano, Cispiano, Montanino, Protine and Leccia.