Wine, tradition and nature
Rufina lies on the banks of the Sieve river in Valdisieve, part of the Montagna Fiorentina mountain community. Populated since Etruscan times, it was a fief of various dynasties during the Middle Ages until a convent was built and the town developed around it. Here, Chianti Rufina wine was produced. It was the local friars who started cultivating the vines and the wine is still produced to this day.
The 16th-century Villa di Poggio Reale houses the Vine and Wine Museum. Here you can admire the so-called Carro Matto (Crazy Wagon) composed of 1,500 wine flasks. It is used on the occasion of Bacco Artigiano, a large village festival celebrating wine and held at harvest time. The cart, pulled by oxen, reaches the cathedral churchyard where the blessing of the wine takes place.
At Easter in Rufina, the lighting of the Berta takes place. It is contraption armed with fireworks and firecrackers creating a spectacle very similar to Florence’s Explosion of the Cart on Easter Sunday. The Romanesque church Pieve di Santo Stefano is worth a visit in the hamlet of Castiglioni, which is also known for the beauty of the surrounding hilly landscape.