The family is described in documents dating back to that period and kept in the Church of San Miniato in Florence. They were feudatories in the Chianti and the Val d'Elsa areas and settled in Florence in 1100 following the death of Matilda of Tuscany. They founded the Republic of Florence. Two centuries later, they took part in the fights between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines and subsequently between the White and Black Guelphs; they were with the "White" faction and were opposed to the transformations which led to the birth of the Signoria. Oneof the leading figures of the family during that period was Gherarduccio Gherardini, whose tombstone in the Church of Sant'Appiano is the oldest knightly tomb in Tuscany.
Civil War and Exile
Following many years of civil war, the Gherardinis were exiled in 1302 because they were accused of having forged an alliance with the neighbouring city of Siena. According to historians (and contemporaries of the time), the accusation was based on false documents and invented by Cante Gabrielli, the Podestà, to stamp out this family and its allies once and for all. Following this accusation, Florence attacked the Gherardinis. The land they owned or controlled went from the first sighting centres near the southern walls of Florence, and from Marignolle up to Impruneta. It then went on up to the main fortresses of Montagliari and Montaguto near the current Greve in Chianti. To the west, their land went all the way up to the fortress of Linari near Barberino Val d'Elsa. In the summer of 1302, following a siege, both Montagliari and Montaguto were burned to the ground. The Republic of Florence then decreed that it was no longer possible to build on this area. This edict was breached by the Gherardinis in 1632 when they built a chapel. The western part of the Gherardini's land and properties withstood the attack by the Florentines because Andrea Gherardini was ruling the nearby city of Pistoia and the Gherardinis enjoyed greater strength in Valdelsa (a valley south of florence). A few years later, Henry VII, Holy Roman Emperor tried to remove this family from Valdelsa but did not succeed because the Castle of Linari, led by Vanne Gherardini, withstood the summer siege of 1313. Following the death of Gherarduccio Gherardini in 1331 (buried in the Church of Sant'Appiano, near Linari), the family lost its last great commander and the last remaining properties were gradually lost too.
After the fall of Montagliari, and the subsequent loss of their land and properties in Val d'Elsa, the last Gherardinis (except a small group) went into exile to Verona that, at that time, was under the Empire. Dante Alighieri went into exile with them too. At the same time, the Florentines finished to destroy the Gherardinis' buildings in the city as well as other evidence of their life there. This was their third exodus. The previous expulsion of the Ghibellinis, half a century earlier, meant that some Gherardinis moved near Verona and Rovigo (they came together again later on). The first exodus took place around 1120 with the death of Matilda of Tuscany. One of the heads of the family, Gherardino, and his children (Tommaso, Gherardo and Maurizio) decided to leave Tuscany.
- "I Gherardini ed il Castello di Montagliari", Giuseppe Corazzini, Ed. Landi, Firenze 1897
- "Storia di Poggibonsi" by Francesco Pratelli – Lalli Editore. Poggibonsi, 1990.
Source: the Wikipedia article Gherardini family, published under the GNU Free Documentation License.
 Source: The Italian Gardens | www.vignamaggio.com
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The famous "Mona Lisa" is probably the portrait of Lisa Gherardini known as "Gioconda" because she was married to Francesco Bartolomeo del Giocondo
Sepulcher of Gherarduccio Gherardini (1331), Pieve di Sant'Appiano, Barberino Val d'Elsa