CASTELLINA IN CHIANTI

The Chianti Classico Area offers a wide range of opportunities, historical routes, itineraries, excursions and theme tours.
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Itineraries through Castellina in Chianti: The village is located on top of a hill dominating the valleys of Arbia, Elsa and Pesa, this justifies the strategic importance in the past of the sturdy fortification of Castellina.

The first historical testimonies start with an Etruscan settlement (7-6 century BC) on the hill of Salingolpe (today Salivolpi), where today we can see a wall and the ruins of the original Etruscan settlement. The settlement was populated later by the Romans (2-1st century BC) and was abandoned probably because destroyed by the Gallics.

In the 11th century the Countess Matilda gave it to the Counts Guidi family, who fortified it and granted it as fief to their feud vassals of the castle of Trebbio; in 1193 the Lords of Trebbio permitted the Florentines to garrison their castles.

During the 13th century Castellina joined the Chianti League and became the chief town of one of its terzieri (third part of a town). Alberico da Barbiano, a man of arm at the service of the Duke of Milan, sacked and conquered the castle in 1397. Florence was continuously forced to fortify the walls and famous architects were called to do it, among them also Filippo Brunelleschi. In 1478 while in Florence took place the "Pazzi conspiracy", Giuliano da Sangallo - as we can read in the "Lives" of Giorgio Vasari - was sent to Castellina to fortify again the defensive system of the castle. In this period in Castellina two genius of the military architecture met : Giuliano da Sangallo - sent from Lorenzo de' Medici - and Francesco di Giorgio Martini - sent there from the Senesi. The castle defensive system worked until it was attacked by Alphonse of Aragon together with the Republic of Siena. Florence won it back only in 1483.

In 1774 Leopoldo's reform abolished the Chianti League and Castellina became an independent community. In 1944 the retreating German troops placed a defence line in Castellina, causing the death of a number of civilians, the destruction of the ancient Florentine Gate and the parish church dedicated to Saint Salvatore.

VIA DELLE VOLTE: a highly interesting communication trench, in place of the old public space near the wall, it had a holy and defensive function. Originally it was uncovered, but later, as the walls lost their defensive function, it was covered by the houses built on it.

From the Renaissance period are the PALAZZO SQUARCIALUPI, visited by the Grand Duke Ferdinando the Third and Leopoldo the Second and the PALAZZO BIANCIARDI - with an ancient Oratorio dedicated to Saint Francis of Assisi - visited by Pope Leon X in 1513 and the PALAZZO STRACCALI.

The medieval TOWN FORT (15th century) and the quarter deck on the main square were restored in 1927. In the tower-hall are collected the Etruscan findings, and we can see a bronze bas-relief in homage to the fallen of Castellina during the first world-war, on its left the cot-of-arms of the Grand Dukes Asburgo-Lorena; of some interest are also the Captain Hall, the Council Hall and the courtyard with the wall.

It is interesting to notice that each tree on the Viale della Rimembranza was planted in memory of World War Two victims. More war memorials can also be found in the gardens: to the east "Le Cascie" dedicated to World War Two victims, to the south a monument in memory of the first world war victims.

CHIESA DI S.S. SALVATORE
The parish church of San Salvatore was rebuilt after World War Two in neo-Romanesque style. It contains the fresco of the Madonna on the throne, ascribed to Bicci di Lorenzo (1373-1452). It is believed that after World War Two bombardments the fresco was the only one left. The church also contains other art pieces: the Renaissance statue of Saint Barnaba, the ancient town patron; the reliquary of Saint Fausto, also patron, which was given to the church by the Ugolini family; a 17th centuryof the Annunciation of the Tuscan school; on the left of the choir a 15th century renaissance ciborium and behind the altar a crucifix of the Tuscan school from the XVII century. The three bells are dated 1797.