In July 2003 we made a trip to Italy starting with a few days in the capital of Rome and then exploring Tuscany. All the images here were made with my original Canon D30 digital camera (the very first digital SLR from Canon) sporting a 3.1 MPixel sensor! It’s still satisfying to be able to reprocess these images with the latest software and get some pretty decent results.
Volpaia is a small fortified village of medieval origins in Tuscany Italy, referred to as a castello in Italian. The village is surrounded by rolling hills covered in vines as well as olive trees.
The winery that produces the wine Chianti Classico operates within the walls of the Castello di Volpaia. The first document in which the village was clearly mentioned was written at Cintoia, another small village about 12 miles (19 kilometres) south of Florence on April 21, 1172. It notes that the brothers Franculus and Galfredus da Cintoia, after having obtained the consent of their father and of “Liquiritia, uxor Franculi” (wife of Franculus), have obtained a loan of 28 silver pounds from Spinello da Montegrossoli. Their possessions, situated in the “court and castle of Vulpaio,” were offered as security for repayment of the loan.
The castle was probably constructed in the 10th century, when others were being built in the upper valley of the Pesa River. It perches on the ridge of one of a series of hills stretching from the Badia (Abbey) of Montemuro toward Radda. Posted on the very spine of the hill separating two small valleys formed by tributaries of the Pesa, it could be defended easily. The choice of site is evidence of the basic insecurity of feudal society.
In Volpaia’s case, the siting of the castle had a more specific significance, for it was constructed in a frontier area betweenFlorentine and Sienese territories. From the political point of view, the fortified village, along with the nearby Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, was considered by the end of the 11th century to be within the jurisdiction of Florence. Any uncertainties on that point were dissipated early in the second half of the following century when the district became a dependent territory of Florence. It was at that time that the Republics of Florence and Siena first marked out their common border.
We had an interesting visit to the winery which as well as producing wine also produced olive oil.
After our visit we sat down and sampled some of the beautiful local wines along with bread and local olive oil.
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