Gaiole in Chianti
Gaiole in Chianti lies among the rolling hills of the famous Chianti region. We do not have certain information about the topical toponym: it might derive indeed from the medieval word "gariola" - meaning "jay" - or from the proper noun "Carius", referring to a rural barn once there. The specification "Chianti" was added in 1911, referring to village's position into the homonym region.
Numerous archaeological findings (like the splendid necropolis datable between I and III century AD) testify that Gaiole in Chianti has Etruscan and Roman origins. However the village consolidated itself during the Middle Ages, expanding along the nearby torrent Massellone. Between XI and XIV centuries, Gaiole in Chianti - which was within the jurisdiction of the Ricasoli family – passed to the hands of the Republic of Florence, that realized a massive fortification in town.
In the XIII century the village grew up impressively in terms of economic power, so that it became part of the famous "terziere" belonging to the Chianti League, along with Radda and Castellina in Chianti.
Located at Florence's border with Siena, Gaiole in Chianti was fortified even further, becoming one of the most important Florentine ramparts. Because of the strategic position, the hamlet of Gaiole in Chianti was not spared from several Senese incursions which devastate the territory again and again until 1555, when the Republic of Siena fell apart and the city was annexed to the Grand Ducky of Tuscany.
From then on Gaiole started a flourishing period of quietness and political stability under the rule of the Medicean family. The governors approved and realized a great reclamation scheme, in order to stimulate agricultural production and particularly the wine industry.
In the middle of the eighteenth-century, the coming of the Dukes of Lorena coincided with the suppression of the Chianti League and Gaiole in Chianti rose to the rank of autonomous commune. In 1861 the village was annexed to the Kingdom of Italy for want of the king Vittorio Emanuele II.
Among the noteworthy monuments in Gaiole, we must mention the Parish Church of St Maria in Spaltenna, the Castle of Brolio and the Castle of Meleto.
In September do not miss the Festival of Bruschetta, where to taste some of the best local specialities.
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Explore nearby towns
In the heart of Tuscany's Chianti zone, the less-known hamlet of Lecchi in Chianti sits amidst hills and woods near Gaiole in Chianti.
Radda in Chianti rests in the idyllic hills of Tuscany.
The castle-hamlet of Volpaia is a frazione of Radda in Chianti, and is a dreamy stone village in the famous Chianti hills.