Toscana - Places to Visit - Greve in Chianti
The communal territory is spread out over 169.04 square kilometres (65.27 sq. m.) on moderate-high hills between the Monti del Chianti and the beginnings of the Greve and Pesa valleys. Its highest point is Monte San Michele at nearly 900 meters (2,952 ft.), while the town of Gaiole in Chianti is situated at a lower elevation, 236 meters (774 ft.).
It is bordered by the communes of Bagno a Ripoli, Rignano, Incisa Valdarno, Figline Valdarno, Cavriglia, Radda in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Impruneta.
The population is 11,139 (1991) and only about 11% of the working population is engaged in agriculture. Various crafts contribute to the economy, especially artistic embroidery.
The history of Greve in Chianti - The area around modern Greve was settled in ancient times, as demonstrated by surviving place names and archaeological finds. In the Middle Ages, it was part of the Florentine possessions of the diocese of Fiesole.
Greve was at that time a small hamlet in the parish of San Cresci di Monteficalli but it was destined to develop into a regional marketplace because of its location at the point where roads leading to Florence, the upper Arno Valley and the Chianti zone intersected. Greve grew to such a degree that Duke Leopold selected it as an administrative centre.
In the second half of the 19th century, it replaced the leagues of Val di Greve and Cintoia. The inhabitants of the castles in the surrounding countryside descended regularly to the market in Greve.
The most important castles were Montefioralle, Panzano, Lamole and, farther away and on the opposite slope of the Monti del Chianti, Lucolena, whose fortifications fell into ruin long ago. Cintoia, perhaps of Longobard origin, is located on the western slopes of Montescalari.
It was the most important centre of the Ema Valley in the 12th and 13th centuries but today it is only a small village. The same is true of Dudda. Sezzate, once the capital of a rural district, appears to have had better fortifications.
Many of the castles in the jurisdiction were later transformed into villas and farms. Others have lost their original characteristics or have incorporated some medieval features.
No less than five parishes attest to the religious organization of the period in the territory of Greve: Rubbiana, Cintoia, Sillano, San Cresci and San Leolino, each of which preserves Romanesque elements.
However, almost all of the many churches controlled by those parishes have lost their medieval characteristics. The most important monastic complex was the Vallombrosian Abbey at Montescalari.