About 30 kilometers from our villa is Greve in Chianti, one of the most beautiful and picturesque towns in Tuscany, where time seems to have stopped in the Middle Ages. Located halfway between Florence and Siena, it is considered the gateway to Chianti. The town is surrounded by a very suggestive landscape, characterized by vineyards and olive trees.
What to see in Greve in Chianti? Here are 5 things not to miss!
#1 – Piazza Matteotti
The visit of the town can only start from the ancient Piazza Matteotti, the center of the social and commercial life of Greve in Chianti. The square, with its characteristic funnel shape, has suggestive arched loggias on three sides, which, during the summer, offer shelter from the sun. These characteristic arcades host numerous shops, restaurants and artisan shops. In addition to being the meeting point for locals and tourists, it is also the scene of all the most important events, from the Saturday market to the Chianti Classico Expo. At the center of the square is the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the famous explorer who discovered the Bay of New York born in 1485 in the nearby Verrazzano Castle.
#2 – Propositura of the Holy Cross
Undoubtedly, the Propositura di Santa Croce, the main place of worship in Greve in Chianti, deserves a visit. It was built on the remains of an ancient medieval church between 1833 and 1835 on a project by the architect Luigi Cambray Digny. The imposing building has a neoclassical facade while inside the style is that of the Florentine Renaissance. It houses several valuable works, among which the following are worthy of note: the fifteenth-century triptych depicting the Madonna on the throne, signed by Bicci di Lorenzo; the fourteenth-century Madonna with Child, attributed to the Maestro da Greve; and the Ciborium in glazed terracotta made in the 16th century by Santi Buglioni.
#3 – Parish church of San Leolino
The Chianti area is dotted with Romanesque churches, which, surrounded by nature, constitute one of its most fascinating aspects. Among these, one of the most beautiful is the Parish church of San Leolino, located in Panzano in Chianti, a hamlet of Greve in Chianti. It is remembered since the 10th century but its origins are probably older, as suggested by two sculptural fragments preserved inside. Today it appears in the Romanesque form with which it was rebuilt in the 12th century. It preserves a rich heritage of works of art, including: a dossal depicting the Madonna and Child between Saints Peter and Paul, attributed to Meliore di Jacopo; and a polyptych depicting the Madonna with Child and Saints by Mariotto di Nardo.
#4 – Museum of San Francesco
The Museum of San Francesco, inaugurated in 2002, is set up in the spaces of the former convent of San Francesco, built in the 16th century. The tour is divided into three main thematic sections: paintings and sculptures, goldsmiths and sacred furnishings from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century, and Tuscan-made vestments of the sixteenth – eighteenth centuries. The oldest work is the fourteenth-century panel depicting the Annunciation by an anonymous Florentine artist, coming from the Church of Santa Croce in Greve. Instead the most important is the sixteenth-century polychrome terracotta with the Lamentation over the Dead Christ attributed to Baccio da Montelupo. There is also an archaeological section, which collects the artifacts found in the surrounding area.
#5 – Montefioralle
The municipal territory of Greve in Chianti includes several villages, among which the hamlet of Montefioralle stands out, a jewel of rare beauty that preserves the charm of its medieval origins intact. The village, fully included in the prestigious club of “The Most Beautiful Villages of Italy”, is enclosed in an elliptical wall, largely preserved. Here the family of the great navigator Amerigo Vespucci seems to have originated: a house is traditionally indicated as belonging to this important noble family. In the center of Montefioralle you can visit the Church of Santo Stefano, of great artistic and architectural interest. Outside the walls is the Pieve di San Cresci, dating back to the 10th century.
Photo Parish church of San Leolino © Wikipedia | Museum of San Francesco © Sistema Museale Chianti Valdarno