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Medieval Cetamura

Castle and Church of Santa Maria of Spaltenna

Ca. 1000 CE and following centuries
Gaiole in Chianti (province of Siena)

Spaltenna was a parish center having jurisdiction over the estate of Civitamura.  The medieval bell tower of the church of Santa Maria was created around 1000; adjoining it is a fortified monastery. The shape of the architectural complex provides a suggestive model for the appearance of the Civitamura castle.

Spaltenna is an ancient name probably going back to Etruscan times, to judge from the ending of the word in –nna.  The church of Santa Maria at Spaltenna became a territorial center of the region around Cetamura by 1115 during the Romanesque period and was patronized by members of the powerful Firidolfi (Ricasoli) family.   It is referred to in medieval Latin documents (see M4 of this exhibition)  as plebes (Italian pieve), a church center for rural populations.  

The complex has had additions made through the centuries, and in its present form is very suggestive for an interpretation of the castle of Civitamura. Surrounding a central court are four wings, with a main tower on one corner and turrets on two other corners.  The property is well maintained today as a luxury hotel and restaurant on the slopes of the town of Gaiole in Chianti. Wines are created from the adjacent vineyards.

Bibl. R. Stopani, Chianti romanico, Centro di Studi Storici Chiantigiani, Radda in Chianti, 1987.