Radda in Chianti, at 530 m. above the sea level, is a lovely medieval village located in the heart of Chianti’s territory, in the north of Sienna province, bordering Florence and Arezzo provinces. It rises on the top of the wonderful Poggio alla Croce’s hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards located in the dividing line between the Valleys of Pesa and Arbia.
Radda in Chianti is perfectly preserving its medieval urban elliptical design as all the old streets of the tiny centre are running around its main square: Piazza Ferruci.
According to pale ontological and archaeological researches the hill of Poggio alla Croce was already inhabited in the 11th century BC. From the 6th century BC until the AD 200 the hill was an Etruscan settlement as are denoting some vestiges of stoned dwellings as well as other elements and objects coming from that civilization. From AD 200 until the AD 500 the hill was inhabited by the Romans who in that period had to give way to the Gaul’s invasions in the area. In that epoch Chianti’s area was holding just four hamlets: Radda, Monterinaldi, Volpaia and Castelvecchi.
Between the 9th and the 10th centuries, Radda in Chianti became a feud ruled between the Counts of Guidi and Bozon d’Arles, Marquis of Tuscany and Count of Avignon, who increased its agrarian activities and consequently its population. In the 11th century the village was already the thickly populated locality in the area.
At the beginning of the 15th century Radda was the flagship city of the “Chianti League” and as a result a Podestà’s seat (magistrate-in-chief). Nowadays Radda in Chianti is the seat of “The Chianti Gallo Nero Consortium”.
In the 17th century - known as the “Chianti’s Century” owing to the flourishing increase of its wine’s exportation into Great Britain - Radda in Chianti started to strengthen its economic and social development because of the expansion of its agrarian and cattle rising activities and the birth of the landed properties owned by aristocratic Tuscan families, just for instance the Florentines Strozzi’s and Pazzi’s, who built up wonderful villas some of them still standing up and rightly conserved.
What to visit in Radda in Chianti:
- The Church of S. Giusto in Salcio and the Church of S. Polo in Rocco: coming back from the 14th century c., both of them have a fortified structure with far above the ground circular towers. Their indoors are hosting interesting ancient art works.
- The Palazzo del Podestà: the present Town Hall dated back from the 15th century. It was completely destroyed by the Aragon’s army in the same century and was rebuilt in the 18th century. It beautiful façade is richly ornamented by 51 coats of arms running from the 15th century until the 18th one. The main one is the coat of arms of Francesco Ferrucci, Radda’s Podestà in the 15th century.
Where to eat:
- Restaurant “La Perla del Palazzo”: located in the indoors of “Palazzo Leopoldo” (now a well-known hotel) is a formal restaurant offering a good selection of Tuscan and local dishes.
It has a pretty terrace with amazing panoramic views.
- “La Bottega”: is a popular traditional restaurant situated in the close Volpaia hamlet.
On the grounds it houses a Bar to enjoy a glass of excellent Chianti wine and some good local snacks. On the first floor a suitable dining room is offering a full Tuscan meal with fresh pasta, home made salami as well as a short list of superb traditional dishes.
In season meals are also served in its nice back garden.
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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