Toscana - Places to Visit - Castelnuovo Berardenga
The eastern portion, home to the town itself, lies along the banks of the Arbia and is crossed by the Ombrone as it flows from its headwaters. Only half of this portion is included in the Chianti Classico zone.
A series of hills separates the Chianti area from the Crete di Siena. Campi is perched at the highest altitude, 648 meters or 2,125 ft., while the town is at 351 meters (1,151 ft.).
Castelnuovo Berardenga borders on Gaiole in Chianti, Bucine, Rapolano, Asciano, Siena, Monteriggioni, Castellina in Chianti and Radda in Chianti. The commune has 5,905 inhabitants (1991) and 24.1% of the working population is engaged in agriculture. Farmers grow grapes, olives and cereals and also engage in hog and cattle breeding.
The history of Castelnuovo Berardenga - The commune took its name from the noble descendants of Berardo, of Frankish lineage, who flourished during the second half of the 10th century and was a descendent of Guinigi, Count of Siena in the preceding century.
By the beginning of the 13th century, the term Berardenga had been commonly accepted as a place name and has remained unaltered since then.
At that time, Siena began to incorporate the villages and castles under the rule of the Berardenga family in its territory. That process continued until the beginning of the 14th century when the Berardenga area became the seat of a vicariate.
In 1366 the Siena city council approved the construction of a new castle at the centre of the territory. Due to its proximately to Siena, the zones landscape is more manicured than the more distant areas of the Chianti district.
That becomes more and more evident in approaching the city. The area contains numerous traces of the past. The parishes of Asciata, San Felice and Pacina perpetuate the memory of ancient religious entities.
Medieval elements predominate in the rectory at Cerreto, the churches of Querciagrossa, Catignano and Guistrigona, and in the octagonal chapel of SantAnsano at Dofana.
In addition to the Abbey of Berardenga, there is another large and noteworthy monastic complex, the Charterhouse of Pontignano.
The numerous castles include Arceno, Querciagrossa, Aiola, Selvole, Pievasciata and Cerreto, as well as Sesta and Cetamura (both in ruins), and San Gusm, which developed extensively beyond its walls, which was also true of Vagliagli. Some castles survive only in documents, among them Calcinaia, Capratusa, Cerrogrosso and Chesamonti.
Others, like Barbaione, Caspreno, Castellin Villa, Dofana, Barca, Montapertaccio, Orgiale, Pancolaccio, Valcortese, Montalto and Vitignano were converted into villas.