There is no doubt that Montevarchi, situated on the edge of Chianti, is well worth a visit. As you visit its characteristic almond-shaped historic centre you can still breathe the atmosphere of this medieval centre which has always been open to trade. The open- air Market is a perfect example of the Montevarchi history of trade and exchange and has been going strong for over eight hundred years, and is still held every Thursday morning..
On via Isidoro del Lungo (via dei Musei) it is worth visiting the Collegiata di San Lorenzo, initially Romanesque and today Baroque, which is where the venerated Reliquia della Sacro Latte (Relic of the Holy Milk) is kept and which boasts the altar by Massimiliano Soldani Benzi.
Nearby there is the Museo di Arte Sacra (Museum of Sacred Art) which preserves the precious tempietto by Andrea della Robbia, dated 1505.
Also worthy of note is the fourteenth century Madonna del Giglio e della Misericordia, known as “Chiesa delle Monache” because it was the place of worship of the monastery of Santa Maria Del Latte.
Another building linked to worship which deserve a visit is “La Ginestra”, which was for many centuries a hospital for pilgrims, then a convent and now is the town library. Also worth a look is the Colle dei Cappuccini – a hill from which you can enjoy a great view of the town and enjoy the shade of a centuries-old oak tree.
On the via dei Musei, there are some wonderful civic buildings such as the Palazzo del Podestà, a Medieval structure which was sacked and burnt in the sixteenth century by the troops of Charles V and rebuilt admirably well. Another place to discover is the Museo Paleontologico (Paleontological Museum) which is situated in the ex- Convent of San Lodovico, and preserves important fossils including the complete cranium of an Elephas Meridionalis.
The whole of via dei Musei is a wonderful surprise to be savoured during a leisurely walk with its numerous workshops of antique dealers and restorers where it is not unusual to find little treasures from other times, and where every fourth Sunday of the month a large antique market takes place.
If you are seeking something more commercial and modern the parallel road via Roma is the place for you. The surrounding hills and their wonderful villages and castles bordering the Chianti territory are unique and suggestive. We recommend a trip to Moncioni which is home to the oldest Arboreal Park in Italy- the “Pinetum” created in 1850 to acclimate and collect trees from all over the world.