Castellina in Chianti, a fortified hamlet between Florence and Siena
Castellina in Chianti is a pretty medieval hamlet located on the Chianti hills, in the province of Siena, along an ancient road connecting Florence and Siena. The archaeological sites of this area, as the Tumulo di Montecalvario and the Necropoli del Poggino, documents as the area is inhabited since anciente ages and how big was the presence of the Etruscans.
During the Middle Ages Castellina, one of the main town of the Lega del Chianti, had the important role of military outpost of Florence. Many times the hamlet was provided with walls and fortifications and many times these defences were destroyed by Siena and its allies. It seems that even Brunelleschi was involved into the construction of these defensive bulwarks. Lucky for us today we can still admire the beautiful Rocca of Castellina in Chianti which stands with its Tower between the other medieval buildings.
As the other Municipalites of the Chianti Classico, Castellina has over time become a tourist destination known for its cultural heritage and for the production of wine and oil. Inoltre Castellina enjoys a truly enviable position: half way between Florence and Siena, in the heart of the famed Chianti … What more could you want?
Things to do in Castellina in Chianti
The main monument of Castellina in Chianti is for sure the imposing medieval Fortress (the Rocca). A castle is documented since the 11th century, but the current fortress dates back the 15 century when the Florentines created a new defensive system with larger walls, towers and a massive crenellated fort. Today the rocca houses the municipality and the Museo Archeologico del Chianti senese. From the top of the tower you can enjoy a wonderful panoramic view on the Chianti countryside.
Museo Archeologico del Chianti senese
The Archaeological Museum of Sienese Chianti collects and exhibits archaeological artifacts documenting the early history of Chianti.The Museum runs inside the fortress and in particular along a series of rooms on the first floor. The items exposed come from the territory of the four municipality of the Sienese Chianti (Castellina, Radda, Gaiole and Castelnuovo Berardenga) and are largely attributable to the Etruscan civilization. The visit continues through other rooms of the rocca as the walkway halfback, and ends with the ascent to the top of the tower.
Address: Piazza del Comune
For all information on opening hours and tickets, I recommend you consult the official website of the archaeological museum of Castellina in Chianti.
Chiesa di San Salvatore
The Chiesa di San Salvatore was built during the Middle Ages but beacuse of massive damages suffered during the Second World War, it was necessary to rebuilt this church that today is in neo-romanesque style. Inside are preserved some interesting art works as the wooden statue of San Barnaba (15th century) and a fresco, Madonna with Child, by the Maestro di Signa, (starting 15th century).
Via delle Volte
Castellina in Chianti has still part of its medieval walls. Just along the walls runs a fascinating underground walkway, called Via delle Volte. This street, that today houses restaurants, workshops and shops, once was open air but it was gradually covered when new buildings were built near the walls.
Things to visit around Castellina in Chianti
In the immediate vicinity of Castellina in Chianti, you should visit the Tumulo di Montecalvario, an Etruscan tomb located on a smll hill just outside the hamlet. This grave dates back a period between the end of 8th and the 6th centuries befor Christ and is composed by 4 Chamber tombs which unfortunately were looted long before their discovery.
Other Etruscan tombs are found in the Necropoli del Poggino which was discovered on a hill near Fonterutoli. Here you can see the remains of five tombs dating back to a period between the seventh and fifth centuries BC which unfortunately were sacked in past ages.
Other points of interest to visit near Castellina
About 9 kilometres from Castellina in Chianti, along the curvy Stada Regionale 429, we find the ancient Romanesque Pieve di Sant’Agnese in Chianti. Documented since the 11th century, the church preserves an art work by Bicci di Lorenzo, Madonna witch Child and Saints. Another noteworthy parish is that of Santa Cristina in Liliano which has been known since 1139. Extensively restored over the centuries, the parish still retains its simple but beautiful original façade in alberese stone.
In Monternano there is the church of San Quirico which dates back to the XII century and the ruins of the castle of Monternano which once dominated these lands. Although partially hidden by vegetation, some ruined structures remain visible of the castle which allow you to get an idea of what this castle should have been like.
How to get to Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti is located about 20 kilometers from Siena and 40 from Florence. You can easily reach Castellina in Chianti both by car and by bus while by train you can only reach Siena or Castellina Scalo station which is 11 kilometers from the village.
By car: if you come from Florence, you must take the Firenze-Siena highway and exit at San Donato. From there continue on SP101 and SP76 in the direction of Castellina in Chianti. Alternatively you can make the Chiantigiana which passes by Strada in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Panzano (here a stop for the steak is a must!). Even from Siena you can take both the Chiantigiana and the Florence-Siena.
By Bus: Castellina in Chianti is served by some bus routes that connect it to Siena.