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Greve in Chianti

 

Unusually for Chianti, Greve is a flatlands town - which means that it has the space for an attractive and relatively large (triangular) Piazza. On the top right and below are the regular "antique" fairs held here, and there are also weekly markets on Saturdays.  Greve is also a leading "slow town", the civic leaders of which travel around slowly doing slow things like eating slow lunches in each others' towns.

 

 

 

Giovanni da Verrazzano (c1485 - 1528 (43)) - A Greve lad (from Castello di Verrazzano - a castello with a history of settlement going back to the Etruscans, a history of winemaking documented in the eleven hundreds, and a history of Verrazzanos since the six hundreds) he was the one who did the hard yards in the discovery of the East Coast of America (Columbus having landed in the south, Amerigo Vespucci, who was born in the hills above Greve, mapping the south and recognizing it for the new continent it was and the Brits having hung out in the far north east).

 

Giovanni set out in 1524 with four ships, promoted by the French King Francis I, and paid for by Italian Bankers and Merchants from Lyons (Kings did not pay for things).  Two ships sank early on and a third got no further than the coast of Spain before having to return home as it was fully laden with booty taken from other less well armed travellers - an interesting commentary on the times!  Our lad however made it across the Atlantic in the remaining vessel,  and amongst other things he discovered New York Harbour (hence the bridge there bearing his name - the longest suspension bridge in the World) and lots of different tribes of native Americans. 

 

He made two more expeditions before being captured and eaten by natives in Guadeloupe in 1528.  Well that's the Italian culinary version of his end.  Spanish records indicate that he was captured off the coast of Cadiz and executed on the orders of Charles V, who was probably still smarting about the loss of a treasure ship loaded with priceless loot sent to him from Mexico by Cortés, and captured by Verrazzano in 1522.

 

 

 

Giovanni da Verrazzano (c1485 - 1528 (43)) - as reimagined in 1913

 

Falorni - macelleria estraordinaria in the picturesque Greve Piazza.  Anything remotely connected with a pig can be bought there in any quantity, and they have the full range of Chianti Classico wines (at full prices).  On the right is the house label from the Verrazzano Castello.

 

 

The US WWII  Cemetery is just north of Greve.  It contains 4,402 headstones guarding the remains of some of the young American soldiers who fell in the WW II battles after the fall of Rome, and tablets with the names of a further 1409 who rest in unknown places.  The German surrender in Italy occurred on 2 May 1945, only 10 days after the death of this soldier, all a very moving reminder of the terrible toll of war and the debt Europe owes to the young men of distant America.

 

LINK TO MORE PHOTOS OF THE US WAR CEMETERY AT GREVE

 

LINK TO INSIGHT PAGE ON WW II IN ITALY

 

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