MONTEFIORALLESteeply uphill and north-west of the town is the erstwhile roccaforte, or stronghold, of Montefioralle (mntay-fioh-rllay), originally a twelfth-century walled and fortified outpost with a church of the anti-Florentine Lega del Chianti, or Chianti League, headed by the gran signore or chief war-lord Castruccio Castracane (literally: The Little Castrated Dog-Castrator) of Lucca. It housed some hundred men-at-arms and their women and children. After about 1450 the hewn stones and ashlars of the by-then obsolete walls and crenellations gradually drifted off into the construction of new villas, peasantseuro houses, barns, walls and pigsties all around, and Montefrioralleeuros military aspect was lost. Nevertheless, the surviving colourful circular high street and the arched alleys, cobbled courts, crooked niches and wobbly stone steps are well worth a leisurely walk. The general character has changed little in five centuries. Here too there is a possible link to America, but it has never been and probably never will be documented. Oral tradition going back to the sixteenth century and printed by 1647 would have it that here was born Amerigo Vespucci (1454-1512), the explorer and navigator who first intuited that what Columbus had discovered was a new continent, not Asia, and in whose honour the Swiss cartographer Martin Waldeseemller gave it the name euroAmericaeuro in 1507. There were in fact Vespuccis in Montefioralle for many centuries, but this is not a rare name in Tuscany. Some not altogether negligible evidence suggests that Amerigoeuros family did own a house and some land here in the 1400s, but there is nothing to contradict his accepted birth in Florence.