Greve in Chianti is the principal town in the Chianti Classico wine district, which stretches south of Florence to just north of Sienna. Greve in Chianti is situated in the Val di Greve, 31 km south of Florence and 42 km north of Sienna. Greve in Chianti is home to Chianti’s largest wine fair, held every September.
At the end of the Dark Ages, Greve developed on the flat ground of the Greve valley as the market for the fortified villages, castles and farm houses on the surrounding hilltops. In 1325 it was burned to the ground by Castruccio Castracani, the Duke of Lucca. Nevertheless, Greve expanded considerably during the 14th and 15th centuries, and, after the unification of Italy, became the most important centre of Chianti.
The rebuilt church of Santa Croce, which houses some beautiful paintings of the school of Fra Angelico, stands at the top of the asymmetrical main piazza, Piazza Matteotti. The original piazza is shown as square in old documents but the construction of buildings, porticoes and loggias has encroached on it over the years so that it is now triangular, pointing to the neoclassical facade of Santa Croce. On one side of the piazza is a statue of the explorer Giovanni da Verrazano (also spelt Verrazzano) who discovered New York Harbour. A house associated with the family of Amerigo Vespucci is located in nearby Montefioralle.