Radda in Chianti – Badiaccia a Montemuro
Length: a 22km circular walk
At the bottom of the slope leaving Radda in direction Gaiole you arrive in front of a small chapel, The Cappella di Mercatale, built 1720 in honour of Santa Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi. Here you turn off to your left following the signs indicating Badiaccia Montemuro – Parco di Cavriglia.
First the road takes you on down through the woods until after a few minutes you begin to ascend amidst vineyards. On the way you encounter numerous signs of nearby fattorie where you may stop to taste the Chianti Classico. Montevertine is a very old hamlet that in ancient times provided a tower serving as look out for defence. Presently it’s a winegrower’s farm accommodating a small Chianti Museum showing agricultural tools and implements used for decades for daily work in the fields. Across the road from the way leading to Montevertine you may take a small detour arriving at the small village of Selvole, whose name derives from the Latin meaning selve or boschi, woods or forest. Inferred by the remains of pavement still visible winding off the Chiantigiana, the public road, for about 2 km up into the Castello di Selvole, this must have been a Roman way- station. The castle was of strategic importance during the Etruscan – Roman age. From the 11th century on it was transformed into a small rural village with its houses grouped around the church.
Continuing on uphill on the main road you come by Poggerino, “little hill” which at one time also served a logistical as well as an agricultural purpose. Shortly thereafter, turning off to the right onto a narrow gravel road you find the church San Pietro Apostolo a Bugialla, a single nave with a vaulted ceiling at the back covering up the original truss – beamed ceiling. Another place with a long story to tell is Capaccia. The sign indicating the way is just across the road from the access to Bugialla. Capaccia had once been chosen as an observation point and outlook linking and informing the other castles in the vicinity by means of other signals, for example nightly fires. The ancient castle complex consisted of seven houses of which one was a tower. At this point your attention will be attracted by a beautiful house with typical Tuscan features lying on a hill on the main road. This is Le Marangole.
Continuing on uphill you reach the large estate and winery Pian D’Albola. Across from the fattoria you see the imposingly beautiful Castello d’Albola (602 m). Some think that the names comes from the Latin for piccola alba, little dawn, but more probably it derives from the Etruscan Albula, the personal name of the Lucumone (Etruscan ruling class) from the area. Here the road becomes a strada bianca (term for gravel road) that you follow for about 2 km until you reach the main road, turning left to arrive at Badiaccia Montemuro where our itinerary ends.
The town took its name from the Monte Muro (720 m). It was called Badia because of the monastery that was founded there, in the middle of the plateau amongst the houses and church, by the Camaldolesi monks in the 11th century. In the 1794, removed of the monastery, it became the parish church of San Pietro as it is today. Over the entrance there is still the coat of arms of the Camaldolesi monks: two doves drinking from the same goblet. After 1616 it was called, by the pejorative, “Badiaccia” because of the state of abandonment it was in until 1658.