Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Tuscany Part 3.....

After the excitement of Rome we had to be up and out early next morning for our next sightseeing trip to the Chianti Region.   This is a view overlooking the Chianti valleys.

Travelling through the beautiful Tuscany countryside, our first stop was the beautiful little village of Radda, situated on a hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards forming the watershed between the Pesa and Arbia valleys.

The structure of the medieval village is still intact; it grew up elliptically around the church of San Nicolò, of 14th century origin and the Palazzo Pretorio. Built about 1415, its facade adorned with the coats of arms of the podestà (chief magistrates), the latter is now the seat of the municipality. Formerly belonging to the Guidi family, it came under Florentine control in 1203.   After being fortified in 1400 it was, from 1415 onwards, head of the League of Chianti, and it preserves the remains of its ancient walls.

The winding streets and architecture were a delight.

 Beautiful fountains and piazzas.

San Nicolò church, where the sounds of singing drifted over the peaceful silence of the village.

We wound our way through the village

stopping for a short coffee and cake break

before joining our group again for the quick photo stop on the journey, Pienza, if you have seen the film The English Patient you may recognise these photos.

Through vineyards, are far as the eye could see,
on to Monteriggioni - the Balcony Of The Valley.

Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hillock, built by the Sienese in 1214–19 as a front line in their wars against Florence, by assuming command of the Via Cassia running through the Val d'Elsa and Val Staggia to the west. During the conflicts between Siena and Florence in the Middle Ages, the city was strategically placed as a defensive fortification.

It also withstood many attacks from both the Florentines and the forces of the Bishop of Volterra. In 1554 the Sienese were able to place control of the town's garrison to Giovannino Zeti, who had been exiled from Florence. In 1554, in an act of reconciliation with the Medicis, Zeti simply handed the keys of the town over to the Medicean forces - considered a "great betrayal" by the town's people

We stopped here for a lunch of bread, cheese and a cold and very refreshing lemon beer.

Then we explored some more

until it was time to make our way to the last stop of the day the Aiola Winery, where, besides tasting their delicious wines, we also enjoyed sampling their superb olive oil, (we brought a bottle home).   Built as a fortress during the local wars between the Florentine Republic and the Republic of Sienna which ended in the 17th century, the Aiola Castle went through a radical transformation. The original aspect, characterized by town walls, drawbridge, secret underground tunnels has gradually left space to an elegant manor villa during the Renaissance, although it maintained some original elements.

In 1934 Aiola was bought by Senator Giovanni Malagodi, who started bottling the Classic Chianti, with its own label since the 60s.

In 2012 the ownership passed to some Russian entrepreneurs which paved the way to an important program concerning the replanting of new vineyards and cellar refurbishment through the renovation all of equipment. Today Aiola lies at the heart of a modern farmhouse in the Classic Chianti, where vineyards, entirely surrounded by ancient holm forests, stretch across 36 hectares. The respect for the environment and its traditions, the rich experience gained during the years alongside of the deployment of cutting-edge equipment are a good recipe to keep up the brand prestige.
It was the perfect end to the day's sightseeing and we enjoyed sitting back and enjoying the ride back to the hotel, where we had time for a short rest before dinner.

Please join me for Tuscany Part 4 when we visit Assisi and Perugia.


Ron said...

Fabulous post, Pearl! OMG...I would love to have been there with you an MWM experiencing the Tuscany wine country. What a charming little village!

"San Nicolò church, where the sounds of singing drifted over the peaceful silence of the village."

I bet that was such an incredible experience!

Fantastic photographs! Love the ones of the vineyards and countryside. Your lunch of bread, cheese and a cold lemon beer looked and sounded heavenly! Great shot of you and MWM drinking your wine. And I bet it was delicious wine too!

Thanks so much for sharing this post and for all the historical research you did.


Have a great week, m'dear!

Cloudia said...

Your photos are so evocative! And you both look so nice too. This is an embarrassment of riches, dear; I'd post a bit of it daily over a week!

Thank you both SO much for bringing us along :-)

Valerie said...

I was going to ask if you bought ay olive oil but I see you did. Don't you just love those alleyways between the houses?
One think I wondered about... were you able to pronounce Monteriggioni?

Beach Bum said...

Totally awesome! We keep talking about doing a trip to Europe but it always falls through.

mrsnesbitt said...

Fantastic Pearl loved this did my Hanibal Lecter voice when I read Chianti i i i i lol!

Akelamalu said...

It was a fabulous day all told Ron!

I'm please you enjoyed it Cloudia. x

Yes I do love the alleyways, I took LOTS of photos of them Valerie! Yes that pronouncement was reasonably easy the one I had trouble with was San Gimignano. LOL

You have to do it Beach!!

Ah yes I can understand why Chianti reminded you of that Denise!