No trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to Chianti. We took the back road from Siena through Castellina to Greve. We couldn’t resist showing Charlie and Isabel the deli in Greve particularly as Isabel’s business is dairy. Although we have been to this deli a number of times (here for example), as with most things tuscan, there is always a surprise. This time it was finding their cheese cellar where rounds of various cheeses lie slowly maturing under the floor of the deli.
Another suprise Greve had in store for us was a visit from the local Fiat 500 car club who proceeded to line their cars up in the middle of the square. I think I took more photos of the members and their cars for the members than I did for myself.
On the return journey we stopped at Castellina for lunch and then visited the walled town of Monteriggioni.
We last visited Monteriggioni about nine years ago. At that time it was almost deserted. One cafe and a Gelato shop was about it from memory. We mentioned this to our visitors but the collective decision was to take a look. From the moment we walked through the entrance we knew things had changed. Inside the walls were a collection of bars and cafes, a hotel, a restored church and numerous small boutiques selling arts, crafts and souvenirs.
Monteriggioni was constructed between 1213 and 1219 and formed the frontline in the disputes between Florence and Siena. It was situated on the Cassia Road and was a key defensive fortification. In 1554 it fell to Florence’s Medici family when Monteriggioni’s leader – an exiled Florentine called Zeti – simply handed over the keys to the town. This was considered a “great betrayal” by the townspeople.
Thanks to restoration work carried out in the last few years it is possible to walk around the parapets as those who defended this town hundreds of years ago would have done.
More recently the town featured in the video game Assassin’s Creed II and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. How cool is that.
Given our last visit was in 2002, we were impressed by how much had been done to this town over the last few years.
After that it was home for Graeme’s famous (infamous) Chicken and Parmigiano Risotto, a vino or two and then a bit of a lie down as Charlie and Isabel were heading to Parma the next morning.