RADDA IN CHIANTI | TUSCANY REGION
At a height of 530m above sea level, Radda in Chianti has a population of about 1,700 and located in the Siena Province. Radda’s history is documented from the IX century BC, thanks also to the numerous archaeological findings, but the first reference to its castle dates back to the XI century, when it was listed in an inventory compiled for Emperor Ottone III which summarises the territories included in the Florentine abbey.
In 1220 the territory was purchased by a family of the Tuscan feudal aristocracy, the Guidi Counts, under authorisation of Frederick II. Already from the end of the XIII century, however, the territorial extension of the Council of Florence, at the end of its bitter struggles with the Guidi Counts, incorporated the area of Radda into its confines.
Radda was first the capital of one of the three districts of the Chianti League, and then, from 1384, the podestà jurisdiction of the League itself. The leagues represented at the time the highest autonomous institutional organ of the Florentine county, supplied with an autonomous statute and very precise defensive dispositions. Only with the reforms required by the Leopoldo Grand Duchy, Radda was definitively transformed into an autonomous commune.
The territory of Radda, in the Middle Ages, was characterised almost exclusively by the agricultural economy, centred on the production of oil and especially wine, even though there was no lacking in pasture activities and artisan production linked to the spinning of wool, hemp and linen. Later on, the share-cropping system was diffused, bringing about the construction of farms and estates in the Radda countryside. Today agriculture has specialised in the production of quality oil and D.O.C. (guaranteed quality) wine, while artisan work has evolved into a mechanical and wood-working industry.
Of the numerous castles that rose in the Radda area only that of Volpaia was brought to a good level of expansion. Its walls with towers and bridge house are still, in a large part, visible while other fortresses, such as Albola and Monterinaldi, are today in advanced states of ruin. Still others, such as is the case of Castelvecchio, have been transformed into noble houses or farms. Other examples of this type are the castles of Castiglione, Trebbio and Paterno. Furthermore it is still possible to find numerous fortified medieval residences that the council has inherited from the ancient lords of the warrior aristocracy.
OTHER THINGS TO SEE NEAR RADDA IN CHIANTI
In Radda’s surrounding countryside it is also possible to visit the parish of Santa Maria Novella which, despite having undergone numerous renovation works, has succeeded in conserving its original Romanesque installation, as well as numerous works of art. Among the many Romanesque installations scattered around the territory, of great importance is the convent of Santa Maria in Prato that still today holds a 15th-century “Madonna with Child” by Neri di Bicci.