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Montefioralle, a visit to a bygone era

Montefioralle, a visit to a bygone era

07 June 2023

The charm of a place where everything tells its story.

Amidst the rolling hills of Tuscany, in the municipality of Greve in Chianti, stands the little ancient world of Montefioralle. A jewel of rare beauty, a timeless place that immerses the visitor within a model of life and cordiality inspired by the sobriety of its architecture, the beauty of its alleyways, and the combination of fragrances and flavours that, coming from the surrounding nature, give rise to one of the richest food and wine experiences Italy has to offer. A location so picturesque that in 2022 it was recognised as one of the “Borghi più Belli d'Italia” (Italy's most beautiful villages) by the association of the same name.
This beauty derives from a past steeped in history: indeed, the ancient urban centre of Montefioralle emerged on the slopes towards the top of the hill. This is where the original feudal settlement was built, a reminder of which is provided by the castle that dates back to 931. From that moment, the ownership of the castle passed from one local noble family to another, until in 1325 when Castruccio Castracani took the fortified abbey by force and started changing the architecture of the village.
Subsequently, the castle came under the control of Florence, then Siena, before definitively going back to Florence. It then retained a certain political importance since, for many years, the surrounding area was administratively controlled from here, it was also where the local town hall and hospital were based. It was precisely the castle’s centrality in relation to village life that led to the unique layout of the buildings which, over time, expanded to form an elliptical plan, with a single radial street from which a myriad of small alleyways branch off. Just as in the past, these narrow streets still appear to form part of the feudal citadel, whose mighty rectangular structure is still standing.
Montefioralle is a treasure chest of unaltered beauty with its stone houses and enchanting views of the Chianti hills, a small fortified village that welcomes the visitor to a place that has remained untouched for centuries, a journey through time that refreshes the soul and intoxicates the eye. It’s a place that has to be explored on foot, to be able to take in all the many little details that make it so incredibly unique, a village that invites you to lose yourself in the past to find yourself in a present of calm and beauty.

Local cuisine, traditional dishes, interesting facts

Tuscany and the Chianti area in particular are synonymous with excellent food and wine traditions, but the village is known for a speciality all of its own: the frittella del Castello di Montefioralle (the Castello di Montefioralle fritter). A kilo of rice, three litres of milk, the peel of an orange, twelve egg yolks, six hundred grams of sugar, all flavoured with a small glass of liqueur: a recipe that originated as a collective secret, guarded by an entire community, both in terms of its preparation and cooking, but which is resurrected in March each year to delight tourists and locals alike at the much-anticipated Sagra delle Frittelle (Fritter Festival). Montefioralle is also one of the villages where Tuscany's wine production traditions play a central role: so, a village visit must absolutely include a stop-off at its wine cellars to taste one of the excellent wines from the local vineyards, such as Chianti Classico or Vin Santo.

Where to eat enjoing a bottle
di Acqua San Benedetto

Ristorante La Castellana - Località Montefioralle - Greve in Chianti

A stroll amidst art and nature

Montefioralle isn’t just about enchanting views of the Tuscan hills, since it’s so incredibly untouched by the passing of time it also offers an array of important historical buildings, such as the presumed home of the navigator Amerigo Vespucci and the chiesa di Santo Stefano, the principal local place of worship that stands at the village’s highest point. Externally, the church dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries, but internally it underwent a renovation during the 19th century. The main nave is adorned by several valuable works of art, such as the 13th-century panel of the Madonna and Child by the artist known as the Maestro di Montefioralle. The village is the perfect destination for all lovers of history and culture, a place permeated by art, beautiful landscapes and traditional cuisine for a truly unforgettable experience.

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