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Radda in Chianti

 

The territory of Radda extends over the whole of the upper Pesa valley, among the beautiful Chianti woods. The whole of this area was populated by the Etruscans and Romans. Traces of inhabited centres have been found at Paterno, Lo Smorto, La Petraia and in the immediate vicinity of Radda. The remains of what was probably the most important Etruscan-Roman settlement have been discovered up on the Poggio of Cetamura, situated in the centre of a road system that was connected with all the most important towns nearby. In 1201, the Florentine Commune, which already controlled the whole region, organized the Chianti population into "Leagues". Radda, Castellina and Gaiole led the Terzi ( a terzo was a subdivision of the league territory). At Radda there are many mediaeval buildings, as well as several defence towers set into the boundary walls. Gates of access led into the city and a Cassero (castle) completed the fortifications. Few of these fortifications still remain today. The Pieve of Santa Maria Novella is of particular interest and was once considered one of the most important and wealthy parish churches in the Chianti area. It contains several works of art, including a processional cross in gilded bronze (XII-XIII century), an hexagonal-shaped baptismal font, a rich collection of vestments and church furnishings. There are many other churches in this area, such as San Fedele a Paterno, the Radda parish church and the Franciscan Convent of Santa Maria. There are also some beautiful palaces of 1500 in this town.