Situated between the Chianti Mountains and the initial stretches of the valleys of the Greve and the Pesa, the commune of Greve in Chianti was settled in ancient times and in the Middle Ages became an important commercial and cultural center, as indicated by the presence of numerous castles and parish churches. Greve in Chianti has always been characterized by a perfect symbiosis between town and countryside, which has favored its development over time.
The communal territory of Greve in Chianti covers a total of 164.04 square kilometers (63.3 square miles) spread out over slopes of moderate height. The highest point is the summit of Monte San Michele, which rises to a height of 900 meters (2,953 feet). The total population exceeds 11,000 persons, only 11% of whom are directly involved in agriculture.
Inhabited many centuries ago, the zone formed part of the Florentine possessions of the diocese of Fiesole in the Middle Ages. At that time, Greve was a small village in the community of San Cresci but it developed as a market town at the crossroads of routes leading to Florence, the upper Arno Valley, the Pesa Valley and the Chianti zone. Greve grew to the point that it became the center of a commune in the second half of the 17th century during the reign of Grand Duke Leopold when it replaced the leagues of Val di Greve and Cintoia. The interests of the many castles situated in the vicinity of the town were centered on Greve’s market, staged in the attractive, triangular square lined by porticos. Montefioralle, Panzano and Lucolena on the opposite slope of the Chianti Mountains were among the most important castles. Located on the western slope of Montescalari, Cintoia, which might be of Lombard origin, became the most important center of the Val d’Ema in the 12th and 13th centuries but it is now only a small country village. Many of the castles in this district were converted later into villas and farms. Five parish churches provide evidence of the ecclesiastical organization of the zone. They are Robbiana, Cintoia, Sillano, San Cresci and San Leolino, each of which has preserved numerous traces of the Romanesque period. However, most of the many churches controlled by the communities in the zone have lost their medieval structures.