• Salvatore Fuda

The door of Chianti: Greve in Chianti and the Verrazzano Castle

Updated: May 12, 2021

Greve in Chianti is a small town located on the "Via Chiantigiana" in the countryside of the province of Florence and connects the latter to Siena, called the "Door of Chianti "because it is considered the gateway to the famous Chianti Wine, one of the most famous red wines in the world . With its Piazza Matteotti in the center of the town it is the main reference where it is possible not only to taste some local Chianti wines but there are some famous Butchers that attract many tourists for the specialties of cured meats and fine meats.

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Castello Di Verrazzano

The Castle of Verrazzano is located in Greve in Chianti, in the heart of the Chianti Classico area, between Florence and Siena. Initially the Castle was an Etruscan then a Roman settlement and it has remained within its boundaries for over 1000 years: it has represented a firm and safe post in an area interested for many centuries by political and dynastic conflicts. There is a great tradition of winemaking here: the “vineyards situated in Verrazzano” are mentioned in a manuscript which dates back to 1150 and is preserved at the abbey of Passignano (wrongly reported as “1170”). The Castle became the property of the Verrazzano family in the VII century. Giovanni da Verrazzano, the navigator and discoverer of the bay of New York and of the majority of the East coast of nowadays U.S. was born here in 1485. The famous bridge in New York between Brooklyn and Staten Island was named after him in 1964.

The important Florentine family of Ridolfi succeeded to the Verrazzanos after the death of the last descendant, in 1819. In the 20’ of 1900 Luigi Ridolfi promoted the building of the Football Stadium in Florence and in 1926 he founded the Fiorentina, the football team of the city of Florence. Ridolfi was the President of the Athletic Association and in 1936 he allowed the National Athletic team to train at Verrazzano for the Olympic Games. 1958 the Cappellini family took over the Castle on the road of decadence and brought it back it to its former glory by restoring the villa and rebuilding the agricultural tissue and the vineyards, according to an ancient model, respecting the historical and architectonic features of the place. Cavalier Cappellini understood since the beginning the importance of the history and the beauty of the Chianti area for a better promotion of farming productions. He laid the foundations for that awareness that inspired the institution of the Agritourism practice.

Giovanni da Verrazzano

Giovanni da Verrazzano, native of the castle in Greve, was born in 1485 to the Florentine noble parents Pier Andrea Bernardo da Verrazzano and Fiammetta Capelli. Between 1507 and 1508 he settled in Dieppe, France, where he came into contact with the leaders of the French Navy. Between 1522 and 1523 he persuaded King Francis I to promote an expedition aimed to find a passage to the west from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. Verrazzano was thus the first to explore the east coast of the current United States of America. April 17, 1524 he reached the New York Bay. In 1528, during his third expedition, Verrazzano was captured and eaten by a tribe of cannibals. With Columbus, Vespucci and Cabot, Verrazzano is one of the great Italians who contributed to the exploration of the New World.

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