RADDA IN CHIANTI
Located in the heart of the Chianti hills, Radda has maintained
its charm intact from time immemorial. In the 50's its land and
farmhouses were abandoned, but with its rediscovery in the 70's
the old terraced olive groves and vineyards which by this time had
fallen into disuse gave way to more intensive and extensive farming.
Consequently the resumption of activity by the numerous large and
small Agricultural Aziendas of the area, which fall within Chianti
Classico boundaries along with top-quality wine and olive oil production
famous even abroad, in recent years new artisans and small industries
- particularly in the construction, furniture, ceramic and terra
cotta sectors - have begun to make a name for themselves. Further
development of the Agritourism sector and an increase in accomodation
facilities has gone hand in hand with the increase in tourism.
Radda's origins go back to 2000 BC when the first hiuman settlement
was established at Poggio alla Croce, where remains of the ancient
village and archeological finds have been brought to light in recent
years. The Etruscan settlements wich followed left only a few traces,
which are visable today as the foundations of some farmhouses and
in clay pottery. In the V century AD when the Roman Empire fell
due to the invasion of the Barbarians, Chianti consisted of small
villages made up of 5 0 6 houses, whose name ring tru today: Radda,
Monterinaldi, Volpaia, Castelvecchi , Albola. In IX-X AD and the
beginning of the fedual area, fortification of Chianti began under
Count Guidi and the Marchesi of Toscana: Radda became populated
and started to grow. ln 1100 Radda was the largest and most important
in the area, also due to its central position and the vast area
it could control.
the birth of Municipalities through 1500 Radda was in the middle
of warring between Siena and Florence for the establishment of their
boundaries. Beginning in the middle of the XIII century, when the
Republic of Florence organized its people into "Legues",
Chianti became one of the mayor ones, and Radda became the seat
of Podestà. The sixth century has been described as that
of the Chianti, in that it became known for its wine, which was
already being exported to England in the mid '500. In the same are
the farms and villas called of the lords who came to Chianti to
pass their summers in the country were built, among others Strozzi
and Pazzi familes of Florence.
Today the fortified part of Radda encompasses within its walls the
incact medieval village including the Podestà Palce built
in '400 with its fifth century fresco belonging to the Fiorentine
school. The Coats of arms on the exterior walls of the palace date
from '400 to '700. Across from the town hall is the Church of S.
Niccolò with the wooden crucifix from the 1500's; and of
notable are the Castle's Square, the Medieval Passageway, the Grand
Duke's Ice house, and the fortified walk. Nearby is the Franciscan
Convent of S.Maria in Prato whose history goes back to the Medieval
age, was rebuilt '700 and houses the "Madonna col Bambino"
of Neri di Bicci dated 1474; the medieval village of Volpaia with
its unsual religious structure, the church of S.Eufrosino called
"La Commenda" ( 1443); the Castles of Albola e Monterinaldi;
the village of Badia Montemuro called "La Badiaccia".
A significant symbol of the religious organization is rapresented
by the Pieve of S.Maria Novella, which altough remodeled inside
last century, retains its original design as evidenced by the rich
Roman capitals; of interest, the batptismal font with maiolica tiles
of the school of della Robbia. The town of Radda is at an altirude
of 530 m., extends over 80 square chilometers and has 1600 inhabitants.