||A tower of the walls next to the
medieval suburb of Vertine rise on a hill of 357 meters high above the
town of Gaiole in Chianti. From Florence it can be reached leaving the
motorway A1 to the exit 'Valdarno' and following from Montevarchi the
indications for Cavriglia-Gaiole. After about twenty kilometers, and after
passing under the rests of the Castle of Montegrossi,
we will find the signals that will bring us just under the walls of Vertine.
castle, or walled town, of Vertine rises to the extreme north-oriental
layer of the Chianti area, in the middle of a series of relief, called
Chianti's Mountains, the watershed between this area and the Valdarno
Superiore [Upper Arno Valley]. This zone is particularly rich of castles
because it match to the ancient territory of the medieval 'Chianti League',
Florentine rampart at the borders with the territory of Siena.
|The mighty keep dominate the north
In the zone the feudal presence was always strong and
the castle of Vertine, as the near Montegrossi
and Brolio, was remembered in public acts
before the year 1000. Vertine was also the Chianti's castle that reached
the greatest consistence as walled town. Already in 13th century it was
under control of the Ricasoli, Florentine commissioners of the zone and,
as a token of its great importance, was many times residence of the same
feudal family. According to circumstances Vertine was never at the center
of war events as sieges or fighting, so the castle reached us without
traces of the destruction and reconstruction that were the cause of the
modification of many other medieval settlements. In 15th century the fortifications
suffered a restoration and an expansion but this modified not radically
|The north gate.
The castle is still today surrounded by its almost intact
walled enclosure and, on the southern front, rise a splendid rectangular
tower that had the function of keep: in my opinion this is one of the
most beautiful and better preserved of all Tuscany.
On the left side of the keep is opened the north gate,
once twin of the opposite partially disappeared south gate, still today
the only two entries of the suburb. The arch of the south gate is lost
but we are still able to notice the tower that defended it. The splendid
worked stones used for the construction of the walls and the keep give
Vertine a typical medieval image and the visitor that crosses its narrow
streets can still today have a real 'full immersion' in the ancient times.