CHIANTI, THE OTHER SIDE OF "CHIANTISHIRE" (Italy)
The Chianti is the geographic area which extends on the hills between the Siena province and the Florence province, including villages as Gaiole, Radda, Castellina, Castelnuovo Berardenga, as well as ancient parish churches and important castles as Brolio and Meleto. At the beginning of the XIII century the territory was organized by the Lega del Chianti, whose badge was the black rooster, now symbol of the Consorzio Vino Chianti Classico (Farmer's Union Wine Chianti Classic). In fact, since1700, the name Chianti is associated to the famous wine that is produced in this area. Around 1960, when the sharecropping and the farmer's domestic organized work finished, most of the isolated farms, where the share-croppers lived, were left. The new industrial farms with huge vineyards and modern machines took their place.
The farmers become workers depending by the industrial farms, and the Chianti's aspect changed. New inhabitants coming from abroad brought the old isolated farms and the country houses to make their residences, saving the rural architectonic heritage from the destruction, but heavy influencing the original culture. The diffused definition "Chiantishire" openly means the English presence, but disregards the coming of Hollanders, Swiss and Germans, who too are appreciators of the Chianti's beauty. The great presence of foreign people has created a particular high-level socio-cultural background, which anyway lives together with the simple and ancient Tuscan country-culture, fortunately still surviving.
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