Radda, a hamlet in the heart of Chianti: the guide
Radda in Chianti is a small hamlet in the province of Siena, located in a nice position in the heart of Chianti, on the border between the val d’Arbia and the val di Pesa. Well protected, at least in part, from its defensive walls, Radda is a suggestive place able to charm the visitor with its palaces and its urban characteristics. A little gem nestled in that jewel which is Chianti.
The area around Radda is inhabited since ancient ages; the archaeological findings evidence the presence of an ancient village dating back around 4000 years ago. Radda as the other towns in Chianti is famous for the production of wine, and seems that also the Etruscans that were living here more than 2000 years ago, were producers of wine.
The first document that mentions Radda dates back the year 1002. At the end of the 12th century the village was a feud of the Counts Guidi but during the following century Radda became part of the dominations of Florence as administrative center of the Lega del Chianti, which included also Castellina and Gaiole. These were troubled centuries for Radda that was involved into the war between Siena and Florence, that sent here a podestà (a governor).
Starting from the 17th century, ended the long war between Florence and Siena, the castles of Chianti were converted into villas and landowners in the area gave started that wine production that continues today.
Things to do in Radda in Chianti
You’ll probably be attracted from Radda and from Chianti by the reputation of the wines produced around here, however, between a tasting and another, between a winery and restaurant, I suggest to enjoy also the monuments and the beauty of this small hamlet of Chianti.
Among the historical monuments of Radda in Chianti, you can visit:
- The walls
- Palazzo del Podestà
- Propositura di San Nicolò
- Ghiacciaia Granducale
- Chiesa and Convendo di Santa Maria in Prato
As we said, Radda has had a strategic relevance and was involved in some wars. That’s why it was provided with defensive walls; the city walls were built during the 14th century but after some battles, Florence decided to enhanche these defences. The walls are preserved in some sections, clearly visible especially close to the public gardens, also some tower is still standing.
Palazzo del Podestà
On the very pleasant main square of Radda, Piazza Ferrucci, we find the Palazzo del Podestà. A first version of the palace, built during the 15th century, was destroyed during the aragonese invasion in 1478; so the palace was rebuilt and successively extended.
The Palazzo del Podestà of Radda is charaterized by a nice loggia as well as the ubiquitous coats of arms on the façade that bear witness to the passage of the Magistrate sent from Florence to govern in Chianti.
Propositura di San Nicolò
Piazza Ferrucci is splitted in two parts, a lower part where is the Palazzo del Podestà and a higher part where, at the top of a staircase, is located the Propositura di San Nicolò. Originally built in the 13th century, unfortunately the church was badly damaged during the Second World War; in fact, very little is preserved of the medieval walls, only some traces in the back of the building and into the base of the tower.
Near viale Matteotti, along the city walls, ther eis an interesting structure: the Ghiacciaia Granducale. Built in 1897 by the Municipality of Radda in Chianti, is a cilindric structure once used to store the winter snow to convert into ice. Over the ghiacciaia there is a small terrace with a small metal pyramid in the center. Even if the ghiacciaia is not open to visitors, it deserves a visit due to the nice panoramc view you can enjoy from its terrace.
Church and Convent of Santa Maria in Prato
Known as a Marian shrine before the year 1000, the current Chiesa di Santa Maria in Prato was born as a simple Romansque church that over time have added other elements such as the portico on the facade. The Franciscan convent located just behind the church was created during the 18th century.
Te convent of Santa Maria in Prato has been choosen as the house of the Museum of Sacred Art of Chianti, established to collect art works from the churches of the surrounding area.
How to get to Radda in Chianti
By bus: from Siena line 125 by Siena Mobilità
By car: from Firenze take the raccordo autostradale Firenze-Siena til the exit San Donato, then turn on the left on SP101. Just beyond San Donato in Poggio turn left on Strada Sicelle/SP76 in direction of Gaiole/Panzano till the cross with Strada Chiantigiana/SSR222: here you hae to turn left again and, after 1,5Km, on the right in direction of Gaiole and Radda.
From Siena, the exit from the raccordo autostradale Firenze-Siena is Badesse. From there continue on SP119 and on Strada Chiantigiana/SSR222 for about 15km; then turn right on SR429 in direction of Radda (8km).