Greve in Chianti
In the triangle more or less defined by the Tuscan borders, the fascinating town of Greve in Chianti occupies approximately the geometrical centre. A countryside position, highly influenced by the vicinity of two major cities: Siena and Florence.
Paradoxically, or just for spirit of contradiction, two of the greatest Italian navigators have "Grevigiane" origins: Giovanni da Verrazzano (who discovered the river Hudson, where nowadays lies New York) and Amerigo Vespucci (who gave the name to the whole American continent).
The most ancient urbanized settlement that originated Greve, has been localized on top of the current hill of St Francesco, mentioned into a XI-century deed of gift from St Bernardo degli Uberti to the Monastery of St Salvi. Later on it became an hospital and, at the end of the XV century, hosted a small monastic settlement of Franciscan Friars, today is the seat of the Museum of Holy Art.
Grave in Chianti born at the edges of important communication networks, under the Via Volterrana and Francigena. In compensation, the street courses made it easier to reach Florence, through the current Passo del Sugame, the Val d'Arno, where to find some important markets (such as Figline Valdarno).
An attitude of openness about the commerce contributed to originate the market of Greve (the current Piazza del Mercato), at the centre of a highly populated area, already rich in parish, rural churches and strewn with mediaeval hamlets and castles that, after the conquest and subsequent transformation at the hand of the Florentines, have become posh residences, villas and house-farms.
The Chianti Region has always been an incredibly precious area: the great production of local wine has begun in the XIV century, gladdening the tables of dozens of noble Florentines.
The oldest part of the village gravitates around the convent of St Francesco and Piazza del Mercato: this structure remained almost intact until the XIX century. Only after the Italian Unification the old "mercatale a Greve" became the most important centre of the whole valley.
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