Chianti - Tuscany

The Chianti wine zone of Tuscany

Chianti Tuscany

"Chianti, Tuscany" is the name of one of the most famous areas of Tuscany even though it is now a wine territory rather than a province or other political division of the region of Tuscany. The Chianti area of Tuscany is a hilly, roughly oval-shaped territory located in the middle of the region delimited by the Etruscan towns of Arezzo, Volterra and Fiesole. The history of Chianti has been studied intensively and the extant towns, villages, abbeys and towers of Chianti reflect that history. The Etruscans dominated Chianti and the rest of Tuscany for several hundred years and genetic evidence shows that their descendents and the descendents of some of their domestic animals still inhabit the area. Certainly they introduced wine production into Chianti. The Romans displaced the Etruscans as the rulers of Chianti during the first century AD. They expanded the Etruscan towns in many but not all cases, and founded their own cities, most notably, Florence (Florentia).

Following the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the years around 376 AD, several centuries of barbarian incursions known as the "Italian Dark Age" ensued. Little documentation from this period survives but it was the period when many feudal castles and fortified villages were founded by the various barbarian invaders, most notably the Longobards (Lombards). It was also the period when the first Christians evangelists were active in Chianti. Numerous place names commemorate the early saints among these evengelists - San Donato, San Cresci, San Michele, San Leolino, San Eufrosino, San Miniato and so on. Also among their number were the precursors of the monastic orders of the Vallombrosans of San Giovanni Gualberto and Romualdo di Camaldoli. It was these orders that founded the great abbeys that one can admire throughout Chianti to this day. Interestingly, many of the diocesan boundaries of today are more Etruscan than Roman - the Diocese of Fiesole being a famous example. The Dark Age lasted until about 1000 AD from which point onwards, the archives provide a rich trove of information on life in Tuscany.

The Dark Age (Early Middle Ages) were followed by the High Middle Ages (11 C, 12 C and 13 C) and the ascent of the Tuscan city states, prominent among them being Florence, Pisa, Lucca and Sienna. The Late Middle Ages (14 C and 15 C), characterised by a major increase in population, led up to the Italian Renaissance which flowered above all in Florence and Sienna, at the northern and southern tips of Chianti respectively. Not surprisingly, the influence of the Renaissance is strongly evident in the style of the numerous castles of Chianti that were converted into archetypal "Tuscan villas". However, Chianti has a rich vernacular architecture manifested in its innumerable tower houses, monasteries, abbeys, villas and walled hamlets. It is these latter, combined with a landscape of highly cultivated vineyards and olive groves, surrounded by dense forest that will catch the eye of a visitor to Chianti, Italy.

Vacation rentals in Chianti Tuscany

A travellers' Guide to Chianti, Tuscany

Here are some useful links to our Chianti Travel Guide which provide useful travel tips for both first time visitors to Chianti and long time residents.

Places to stay in Chianti, Tuscany

The posts linked below include both general information on types of vacation accommodation in Chianti, Tuscany, and reviews of specific properties.

Reviews of Chianti vacation rentals and villa hotels.

About the Architecture, History and Culture of Tuscany

Next some posts providing background information to help you get the most out of your stay in Chianti, Tuscany.

Things to see in Chianti, Tuscany

Chianti , Tuscany - food and wine

Things to see in other parts of Tuscany

Things to see in Umbria


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