GAIOLE, A HIDDEN MEDIEVAL GEM IN CHIANTI by Giovanni Raguso

The Chianti region between Florence and Siena hides a “Borgo”, unchanged since the Middle Ages. Elena Nappa’s Borgo Argenina tells the story of a medieval Gaiole in Chianti from which Baron Ricasoli’s Brolio Castle stands proudly in the view. Gaiole is a municipality in the Province of Siena, Tuscany, located about 40 kilometers southeast of Florence and about 15 kilometers northeast of Siena. Forbes named it number one in its list of “Europe’s Most Idyllic Places To Live.”

As Elena suggests, “The Middle Ages never left the Borgo.” A brief stroll through the area confirms her statement. Monti, whose origins date back to the high-medieval period of the ancient San Marcellino in Avane, is the first village outside of the Borgo. Monti has been one of the Ricasoli family’s territories since 963 and its bell tower still fascinates the lucky visitors.

Moreover, in 1176, a first border between the State of Florence and that of Siena was established, which was definitively confirmed in 1203 with the well-known Poggibonsi agreement. An honorable mention goes to the Torricella Villa in Gaiole in Chianti, a famous castle where Galileo Galilei was exiled at the beginning of the 17th Century following the conviction suffered for his theories on the movement of the Earth. In 1203, after controversies over the borders between the state of Siena and that of Florence, the “Turricella” was named as part of the Florentine countryside.
As visitors continue their walk through Gaiole, they will unavoidably end up at the bottom of the Brolio Castle, Baron Ricasoli’s former mansion, now a museum. The Ricasoli family is, today, the oldest out of all the families that made up the Florentine aristocracy and is one of the few still flourishing with proud feudal origins. The Ricasoli have been dedicating themselves to viticulture since 1141, without interruption, which has boasted their recognition as the fifth oldest family-run business in the world, the second in the viticulture sector. Their production is labeled “Barone Ricasoli” and is dedicated to the Chianti Classico. Borgo Argenina offers a breathtaking experience on the Chianti hills, enhanced by Elena’s cooking classes and wine-tasting sessions – Chianti Classico, of course.
Whether you wake up in the modernly-furnished Villa Oliviera or in the beautifully rustic Piccola Villa, you will not be able to escape Gaiole in Chianti’s rich history. As Elena welcomes you, along with her dog Giuseppina and her two cats Luigi and Tulla, you feel at home in the middle of  the rich history of the Chianti stone buildings and ancient hilltop castles, historic fractions, churches and monasteries.

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