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Market day in Greve, Tuscany


Landscape near Greve, Tuscany


Vineyards near Greve, Tuscany

Welcome to Greve
from Jesse's Journeys in Italy

Population:  13,785 (2004)
Official website:
Greve
Wikipedia: Greve
Map:
MapQuest

Greve, sitting in the Val di Greve and named for the small, fast-flowing river that runs through it, is the principal town in the Chianti wine district which stretches south of Florence to just north of Siena.  Until recently it has been a quiet, almost bucolic town because it was, and still is, well-off the main roads. However, even in ancient days Greve was not isolated because it was well-connected by secondary roads to the the Via Folterran and via Francigena. 

Nowdays, Greve is connected by good secondary roads to the A1 superstrada between Florence and  Rome, and between Florence and Siena.  The old road network ensured easy access to  Florence and to other places such as Feligne where its tradesmen and farmers found ready markets for their goods and produce.  The modern transportation network connects it to the world at large enabling it to export significant quantities of wine, and import vast numbers of tourists.

The site of Greve and the surrounding territory has been long settled, probably well before the Etruscans and then the Romans dominated the area.  Historical documents of the 11th century refer to an ancient  monastic settlement on a nearby hill, which is now called the hill of San Francesco.  Before the Franciscans established their monastery in the 15th century, an earlier monastery dedicated to Santo Savi had already been built, and also a small hospital.  Larger scale settlement occurred in the 13th and 14th centuries.

The Franciscan monastery is still at the heart of the old part of the city, as is the triangular main piazza, where a market has been running more or less continuously for centuries serving the nearby castle communities and hamlets.

The piazza is fronted by numerous medieval aged buildings, including the 11th century Chiesa Santa Croce which was rebuilt in 1325 after being burned to the ground, along with the rest of the town, by the Duke of Lucca, Castruccio Castracani.  After further renovation, the church, which houses paintings of the school of Beato Angelico, now features a neo-classical facade.  In the piazza there is also a monument to the so-called discoverer of New York harbor, Giovanni da Verrazano (1485 -1528), who was born nearby.

Although an independent town for most of its history, Greve ultimately came under Florentine control and remained so until the Duchy of Florence was absorbed into the modern state of Italy in 1861.

The Chianti area, once dry and barren, has been transformed by hard, continuous work over the centuries so that it could - and does - support a variety of agricultural activities, most especially the growing of the grapes that go into the world-famous Chianti wines.

Due largely to this intense agricultural activity, and the wine and food production industries that have been built on top of it, since early medieval times, Greve evolved as the principal market town at the center of an (increasingly) densely populated area with an abundance of villages, parish churches, villas and castles.  The latter were built mostly by the rich merchants and noble classes of Florence who enjoyed the country life, and developed their estates to earn additional income and also to supply their in-town tables.

Needless to say, the town of Greve's busy quaintness and the lushness and diversity of the undulating landscape which surrounds it, have long attracted tourists and travelers, to the point now where Greve and Chianti are probably too busy during the high summer season, but not much less so during grape harvest time in late September and October. However, visitors to Greve are usually put in a festive mood by its lovely, spirited ambience, and in that context, much can be endured for the sake of its beauty, and for the sake of its hearty and delicious wines and foods.

by Vian Andrews, March 19th, 2006

This article was posted on Wikipedia as the starting article for Montalcino, on March 19th, 2006.

Region of Tuscany

4335′N 1119′E

Directions

By car: South of Florence on A1, about 31 km.  North of Rome on A1 about 270 km.  North of Siena about 42 km.

Directory

Tourist Office
Via Luca Cini
Tel: 055-854-5243

Restaurants

Da Verazzano - Piazza Matteotti 28 - good Tuscan food

Gallo Nero - Via Cesare Battista 9 - great pizza

La Cantina - Piazza Trento - pizza and light meals

Torre delle Civette - Via Veneto - light menu, good prices

 


Gonfolon of Greve


A tower near Greve, Tuscany

 

 
The Chianti Wine Festival which is based in Greve takes place every September.
 
In nearby Montefioralle, there is a house  associated with the family of Amerigo Vespucci.  The word America is derived from "Amerigo" because Vespucci sailed the Atlantic and is said to have discovered South America .
 
Tell us about your trip to Greve in Chianti. What were your favorite places to visit, stay, and dine?
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