Toscana - Places to Visit - San Casciano Val di Pesa
The communal territory amounts to 107.98 square kilometres (41.69 sq. m.) and extends over the low hills that divide the Pesa from the Greve valleys. Altitudes never exceed 400 meters (1,312 ft.) and the town itself is situated at a height of 316 meters (1,036 ft.).
It lies entirely within the Chianti Classico zone with the exception of a portion on the left bank of the Pesa. San Casciano borders on Impruneta, Greve in Chianti, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Montespertoli. San Cascianos population is 16,212 (1991) and only 9% of the working population is engaged in agriculture: wine, oil, cereals and other crops.
The history of San Casciano Val di Pesa - Archaeological evidence and surviving place names indicate that the area was settled in a remote period. It appears that the population was sufficiently large to support as many as four parishes (besides Decimo, San Pancrazio, Sugana and Campoli) and a large number of dependent churches.
That pattern of dense settlement, which is still a characteristic of the countryside around San Casciano, clearly took shape in the Middle Ages. Settlement was encouraged by the many castles, now villa-farms, in the area.
Later, the growth of agricultural productivity as a result of the introduction of crop rotation made a fundamental contribution to the trend.
San Casciano is first mentioned as a fief of the Bishop of Florence but beginning in the second half of the 12th century it was directly controlled by the governing body of the Tuscan capital.
Shortly thereafter, San Casciano became the administrative centre of the League and then passed under the jurisdiction of a podest.
The Statute of the Podest of the City of Florence, dated 1325, described San Casciano as an important community because of its position at a major crossroads.
From its medieval past San Casciano retains portions of its 14th-century walls. The churches, like the Collegiata, Santa Maria del Ges and San Francesco, are in general better known for their works of art than for their architecture.
However, the interiors of those churches have preserved their original structures. Other churches are interesting from an architectural standpoint, such as the small Romanesque church of SantAndrea at Luiano or the Gothic churches of Santa Maria at Bibbione and SantAngelo at Vico lAbate.
The latter displays a panel by Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Among the many villas located in the countryside around San Casciano and in areas closer to Florence, those of the Guicciardini family and Tattoli, Corti, Borromeo and Casarotta deserve mention.