Castellina in Chianti and the Etruscan civilization

March 24, 2014  |  Chianti Holidays, Culture and Art

Castellina in Chianti near Villa le Barone, the Etruscan Montecalvario Mound

Castellina in Chianti, near Villa Barone, possesses many interesting evidences of Etruscan civilization, as well as an archaeological museum that all visitors interested in the Etruscan art and history of Tuscany should visit.

Close to Villa le Barone, Castellina in Chianti owes its name to its main function in the Middle Ages: to be a defensive bulwark for Florence against the expansionist ambitions of Siena. It is still possible to stroll in Castellina on the walkway (Via delle Volte)  used by the guards and you can imagine you are one of them, watching through the  openings to monitor the surrounding countryside. But human presence in Castellina dates back at least to sixth or seventh century BC when an Etruscan center developed. Archeologists think that Castellina in Chianti was crossed by a trade route through the Etruria, an Etruscan territory covering roughly the current Tuscany. Situated today about 1 km outside the city center, the remains found in Monte Calvario, as well as those near Fonterutoli, show that this Etruscan center had a certain importance. The Montecalvario tomb consists of a large circular mound of more than 50 m in diameter with 4 burial chambers that are opening on the 4 cardinal points. Each chamber consists of a vestibule and a few side cells. Because of the importance of its cells, the tumulus is thought to have belonged to an aristocratic family. Inside the tomb, iron, ivory and bronze pieces were found, as well as a stone carving representing a lion’s head, which became the symbol of the Museum of Castellina in Chianti. It is while digging a field to plant vines that farmers found these interesting remains, with many funeral pieces demonstrating the presence of Etruscan civilization. Those pieces can be seen in the Archaeological Museum of Florence and that of Castellina, the latter being installed inside buildings of the city military fortifications dating back to the XV century. If you climb to the top of the tower, you will enjoy a picturesque view of the city tile roofs, the mountains of Chianti and a large part of central Tuscany.

Castellina in Chianti near Villa le Barone, an Etruscan urn at the Archeleogical Museum

Always in Castellina in Chianti, near Fonterutoli, it is also possible to visit the Etruscan necropolis of Poggino, which was used as a cemetery for the Etruscan community that has lived in the area since the late seventh century BC. Four graves are visible in this necropolis, connected by a path that meanders through the woods.

And near Villa le Barone, there is also Volterra, a major Etruscan center, also with a superb museum, as well as Florence with its nearby hills with superb Etruscan remains and  an Archaeological Museum of Florence. The Etruscan art collection should not be missed.

Stay at the boutique hotel Villa le Barone, near Castellina in Chianti and discover the fascinating Etruscan civilization in Chianti and Tuscany.


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