in the heart of Chianti

by Raffaello Sali

About thirty kilometres south of Florence towards Siena one comes across a small town of around, incorporating the surrounding countryside, 12,000 inhabitants: Greve. Sitting at an altitude of about 236 metres it's a region full of character that stretches between the provinces of Florence and Siena in the heart of Chianti.

Springing from the river of the same name Greve developed during the late Middle Ages as a fortified market hamlet that today goes by the name of Montefioralle. Only towards the middle of the sixth century did it attain a certain importance thanks principally to its geographical position, situated as it is at the crossroads that link Florence to Chianti and Siena to Valdarno. Nowadays it is on the whole an agricultural town specializing particularly in the production of oil and wine.

The market
in the piazza of Greve

Tourism is the other very important activity that has grown considerably during recent years, thanks to the beauty of the surrounding countryside and the gastronomic traditions of the zone. An interesting itinerary can be made of the fascinating castles in the area: Sezzate, Vicchiomaggio, Verrazzano, Uzzano, Vignamaggio, Panzano, Volpaia, Meleto. The heart of Greve however remains the beautiful triangular piazza with the monument dedicated to its presumed fellow citizen Giovanni da Verrazzano who on behalf of the king of France discovered the bay of New York.

The piazza hosts many activities like the weekly market and the market of "cose del passato" (things from the past) that is held every Easter Monday. In the month of May one can pay a visit to the "Festa dei Fiori" - a splendid display of flowers and plants and in autumn the annual show market of classic Chianti.

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