Radda - Volpaia walk
Radda in Chianti – Volpaia- Santa Maria Novella- a 21km circular walk.
Leaving Radda in direction Gaiole you turn right at the bottom of the hill. After approximately 1,5 km you reach an intersection with several signs, the main one (large, blue) indicating Volpaia. Take this right – hand turn, at first going downhill a bit, then going up again, always keeping to your right. The panorama you enjoy ascending the hill towards the little gem Volpaia (about 4,5 km) is one of the most beautiful the Chianti has to offer. The castle in Volpaia was surrounded by a wall in the form of an ellipse, with the defence towers rising up in a quadrangular arrangement. Today good parts of the wall are still visible, as well as one of the smaller towers (now the enoteca). The Chiesa di Sant’ Eufrosino, the church known as La Commenda, shows magnificent architecture of brunellesque order.
From Volpaia you continue on through the village, taking the gravel road ascending up towards the mountains. Although the road is as of this point only a dirt road you will find it worth the effort. You continue on through the woods until you come to a crossroads with a sign indicating Castelvecchi.
The route takes you through woods full of oak, chestnut, fir and broom. Along the way you come across lovely farms whose names will help you maintain the right direction: Villalmonte, Montanino, Casa del Pievano, Croce di Bracciano, Casa Balza and finally Castelvecchi, a larger estate of which very little historical information exists. Certain is only that in the 11th century it was ruled by the Rinaldi and that its name does not derive from vecchio Castello, but from the presence of the family Vecchi who owned it. Just below it you find the beautiful parish of Santa Maria Novella. The church is mentioned for the first time in a parchment of the year 1010. The church underwent complete reconstruction during the first decades of the 19th century, altering it to the extent that in fact only the arches separating the three naves remain resting on the original supporting walls. The most outstanding element of the parish church is certainly the sculptural decoration on the capitals, unusual for the Florentine.
The itinerary ends with the visit of Santa Maria Novella. Continuing on downhill you once again reach the main road taking you back to Radda.