Barberino Val d’Elsa is a lovely medieval village situated on the top of a hill, at 373 meters above the sea level, overlooking the west fraction of the Chianti Classico wine territory, half way between Siena and Florence. The village is crossed by the Via Cassia which divides the territory into two fractions: Val d’Elsa and Val di Pesa.
The village preserves its medieval structure encircled into ancient walls and two towered gates as well as an historic centre, faithful to its original architecture.
Its municipality covers 15 villages and hamlets widely spread over the area.
The first historical records pertaining Barberino are from the 11th century. The village started to noticeably develop in the early years of the 13th century, during the times when the powerful neighboring Fortress of Semifonte, contrary to the expansionist politic of Florence, was completely devastated after a long siege by the Florentines in 1202. The surviving population took refuge in Barberino. It is said that before Florence’s invasion the men of Semifonte gambled with death going as far as Florence’s walls screaming: “Fiorenza fatti in là , Semifon divien città” (“Florence move aside, Semifonte is growing far and wide”) as mentioned by Dante Alighieri in the “Divina Commedia”.
Sixty-two years later, Francesco da Barberino (1264-1348) was born in the village. From noble extraction he was a celebrated poet (as well as a notary) and a contemporary friend of Dante. Today there is a beautiful statue placed in Barberino’s main square, opposite the Town Hall, to commemorate him.
Nowadays, Barberino Val d’Elsa is a well-off village, mostly due to its prominently agrarian economy practiced on the numerous close farms and castles where the well-known extra virgin olive oil and “Chianti Classico” wines are produced.
In 2003 the “Paesi Bandiera Arancione” award was conferred to the village. (“The Orange Flag” is an important recognition of tourist and environmental quality in inlands areas).
Click here to see main monuments to visit in Barberino Val D'Elsa :
Where to eat:
- “Il Paese dei Campanelli”. Located in the neighboring Petrognano village is a beautiful and exclusive restaurant with a refined cuisine based on the best local and Tuscan roots. The wine cellar houses more than 200 labels of selected Chianti, Italian and foreign wines.
-“L’Archibugio”. Located in the historic centre of Barberino is a popular five-star pizzeria-spaghetteria. It has a pretty terrace for meals in season with some amazing panoramic views.
Where to sleep :
Hotels and B&B:
Main Towns of Chianti
Badia a Passignano,
Barberino val d' Elsa,
Castellina in Chianti,
Castello di Brolio,
Castello di Gabbiano,
Castello di Meleto,
Colle Val D' Elsa,
Greve in Chianti,
Mercatale Val di Pesa,
Panzano in Chianti,
Radda in Chianti,
Tavernelle Val di Pesa,
Badia a Coltibuono.
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