Discover the small towns and forts in the hills around Gaiole in Chianti
2kms before Gaiole, there is a road on the right which leads to the castle of Meleto. This castle was built at the end of the twelfth century by a branch of the Ricasoli family. It was occupied by the Sienese for a short time in 1478 and was put under siege again in 1529, although that time without success.
The construction is square in shape with an ancient tower at its centre. In the southern and eastern corners there are 2 cylindrical towers which are said to date back to the fifteenth century. The rest of the building was turned into a villa towards the middle of the eighteenth century and now has an elegant Renaissance style courtyard, painted ceilings and trompe l’oeil. There is also a pretty theatre which is the only one of its kind in Chianti, where the Ricasolis used to hold operettas and concerts.
Further along the road towards the Chianti mountains, at an altitude of around 850m, are the rural villages of Rietine, San Martino and Castagnoli. Here there is another castle which was also put under siege by the Sienese in 1478. The castle of Castagnoli is an impenetrable-looking polygonal shaped stone building with rounded corners and a picturesque central courtyard.
From the summit of Monteluco T.V., the road continues down on the Valdanese side towards the mountain villages of Nusenna, Starda, Fietri, Linari and San Vincenti. San Vincenti is home to an ancient Romanesque church dating back to the eighth century. This church was the cause of a conflict between the bishops of Siena and Arezzo, which was finally resolved by the Longobard king, Liutprando.