If on the map we draw a line that connects Firenze, Arezzo, and Siena, we get a triangle that has at its center the Podere Marrontorto, as well as all of the Valdarno di Sopra (upper Valdarno) and 90% of the Chianti hills.
The Valdarno di Sopra occupies a declivity, site of a prehistoric lake, about 40km and 20 wide, bound on one side by the Pratomagno, a massive extension of the Apennines, and on the other side – where we are located – by the more modest chain of the Chianti hills, whose maximum altitude never reaches more than 900 meters.
The alluvial plain of the valley, shaped by the prehistoric lake, has yielded fertile hilly plateaus that have favored agricultural colonization of this area since pre-Roman times.
Located almost in the center of Etruria, Valdarno di Sopra is dotted with urban settlements that have almost more than half a millennium of life. The architectural heritage of the zone testifies to its centrality in the birth and development of Tuscan civilization.
The impressive network of Medieval pievi, or parish churches, along the Cassia Vetus and along the Cassia Adrianea, and the three “Terrenuove fiorentine” (Florentine new towns built around 1300) of San Giovanni, Terranuova and Castelfranco are the tangible memories of its territorial importance, while the names of Masaccio, Poggio Bracciolini and Marsilio Ficino give an idea of the contribution of the Valdarno di Sopra to the Tuscan presence in western culture.
Just after Italian unification in the mid-19th century, this territory emerged as one of the most successful episodes of the Industrial Revolution in Italy: the railroad arrived in 1867, and five years later the exploitation of the rich supply of lignite brown coal in Castelnuovo dei Sabbioni, powered the steelworks in San Giovanni.
The availability in loco of an energy source, and the good network of communications with the North and the South of Italy created the basis of an industrialization that will also stimulate the numerous artisan activities already present in the region: mineral water, bricks, lime, ceramic, glass, wool, silk, felt.
The agricultural production of the upper Valdarno has always been among the most valuable in Tuscany and by far the favorite in the marketplace of Florence (the Valdarno di Sopra was the seat of the Grand Ducal farms and of the most prestigious Florentine families, including Serristori, Ricasoli, Firidolfi, Pitti, Cerchi, da Filicaja and Inghirami. In 1716, their wines, usually classified as Chianti, were protected by grand ducal decree.
The historic division between Chianti and Valdarno has, however, never been the ridge of the Chianti hills, but has followed over time different boundaries: those one prior to the Napoleonic administrative reorganization differed partially from the current ones and, for the part that concerns us, followed the edge of the lands historically owned by the Abbey of San Lorenzo in Coltibuono that reached the Borro de’ Diavoli; which is why often Tribolino is already in the Valdarno area for the residents of Chianti and in the Chianti area for the residents of Valdarno.
None of the two is wrong and we too at times we feel closer to Siena and other times to Florence.