LUCIGNANO AND VALDICHIANA
Lucignano, a small suburb in southern Tuscany, is one of the most extraordinary examples of medieval urbanism because of its elliptical plant with concentric rings.
Its plant is developed through an interesting spatial and functional articulation, between the “rich street” (Borgo ricco), now Via Matteotti looking South and bright and ample where the residential buildings built by the nobility rise and “poor street”, now Via Roma (called Corsica) looking north, northwest where smaller houses rise, characterised by poor buildings and built by the lower classes of the town.
The position of Lucignano, 414 metres above sea level, overlooking the Valdichiana, and on the main route between Siena and Arezzo, has given it strategic importance since its origins and meant that it was continually at the center of battles between the surrounding territories as a medieval castle.
For the three centuries from 1200 to 1500, Lucignano passed continually between the giurisdiction of Siena, Arezzo, Firenze and Perugia. Lucignano received the gift of Perugia’s coat-of-arms, (still used today), the winged griffon, to which she added a star to show the hilltop position of the town.
The name Lucignano probably originates from a Roman castrum founded by the consul Licinio, and which became known as Lucinianum after the conquest by Lucio Silla in the 1st century B.C.. Important archaeological finds indicate that there were also Etruscan settlements in the surrounding areas.
The present day layout of Lucignano originated around the year 1200, and was completed in the 16th century, when the summit of the hill where the castle was originally was transformed into a center of religious and politcal power. In 1300, under the rule of Siena, the fortifications were completed with the city walls and three city gates (1371): Porta S. Giusto, Porta S. Giovanni, and the so-called Porta Murata.
Today, Lucignano still maintains intact its fascinating atmosphere of an ancient village where agricultural and artisan traditions offer the visitor an interesting variety of products ranging from extra-virgin olive oil and honey, the production and restoration of inlaid furniture, the production of ceramics and gold jewellery, work in pietra serena and travertine, and the making of high quality clothing, all produced by the highly skilled and professional local population.
Where is Lucignano: is located in the south of Arezzo province, on the border with the province of Siena.
CRETE SENESI AND VAL D’ORCIA
The Crete Senesi refers to an area of the Italian region of Tuscany to the south of Siena. It consists of a range of hills and woods among villages and includes the comuni of Asciano, Buonconvento, Monteroni d’Arbia, Rapolano Terme and San Giovanni d’Asso, all within the province of Siena.
Crete senesi are literally ‘Siennese clays’ and the distinctive grey colouration of the soil gives the landscape an appearance often described as lunar. This characteristic clay, known as mattaione, represents the sediments of the Pliocene sea which covered the area between 2.5 and 4.5 million years ago. In the nearby is also the semi-arid area known as Accona Desert.
Perhaps the most notable edifice of this area is the monastery of Monte Oliveto Maggiore.
The region is known for its production of white truffles and hosts a festival and a museum dedicated to the rare tuber.
CHIANTI AND FLORENCE
The first definition of a wine-area called Chianti was made in 1716. It described the area near the villages of Gaiole in Chianti, Castellina in Chianti and Radda in Chianti; the so-called Lega del Chianti and later Provincia del Chianti (Chianti province). In 1932 the Chianti area was completely re-drawn. The new Chianti was a very big area divided in seven sub-areas: Classico, Colli Aretini, Colli Fiorentini, Colline Pisane, Colli Senesi, Montalbano and Rùfina. The old Chianti area was then just a little part of the Classico area, being the original area described in 1716 about 40% of the extension of the Classico sub-area and about 10% of all Chianti. Most of the villages that in 1932 were suddenly included in the new Chianti Classico area added immediately or later in Chianti to their name. The latest was the village of Greve changing its name toGreve in Chianti in 1972.
The popularity and high exportability of this wine at the moment of introduction of the DOC, 1967, was such that many regions of central Tuscany didn’t want to be excluded from the use of the name. As a result the Chianti wine-area got about 10% more territory. Wines labeled Chianti Classico come from the biggest sub-area of Chianti, that sub-area that includes the old Chianti area. The other variants, with the exception of Rufina from the north-east side of Florence and Montalbano in the south of Pistoia, originate in the respective named provinces: Siena for the Colli Senesi, Florence for the Colli Fiorentini,Arezzo for the Colli Aretini and Pisa for the Colline Pisane. In 1996 part of the Colli Fiorentini sub-area was renamedMontespertoli.