Archaeology and local place names agree in their testimony that Ama is located in an area already settled in ancient times. All indications point to an uninterrupted existence from late classical antiquity through the high Middle Ages. Between the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries, a local noble family, vassals of the Ricasoli, settled here, evidence being two “privileges,” the first (from 1197) issued by the emperor Henry VI, and the second (from 1210) by the emperor Otto IV. In confirming to Ranieri Ricasoli dei Firidolfi properties and jurisdiction over certain Chianti-area castles and their inhabitants, the documents also mention rights over one of their subjects, Drudolo da Ama.
Dating to a few years later (1219) is an act by which a certain Diotisalvi di Drudolo di Ruggiero da Cacchiano sold to the Badia di San Lorenzo in Coltibuono, for “80 lire senesi,” half of his belongings located in the “castello d’Ama.” At the end of the Middle Ages, when the Catasto fiorentino was being organised (1427), the status of Ama seems to have changed. It was no longer referred to as a “castello,” but seems to have a demographic profile similar to the other population centres under the church of San Polo in Rosso. Only three families lived there, however, all small landed proprietors.
The safer climate that marked Tuscany under the Grand Duchy and after the annexation of Siena in 1555 certainly had a positive effect on the agricultural economy. Ama too showed evidence of this, since between the 16th and 17th centuries larger landowners emerged, in all likelihood descendants of those same families appearing in 15th-century documents, the Pianigiani in particular, and the Ricucci.
A century later, the rural area surrounding Ama probably had become some kind of model agricultural system. Indicative of this are the remarks of Grand Duke Leopold on the occasion of his 1773 visit to Chianti as he admired the geometrically-ordered ranks of vines and olive trees: “…around the ‘castello d’Amma’ lie the most beautiful hills and valleys in all Chianti, with meticulously cultivated and fertile grain fields, olive trees, and vineyards, well aspected and sunny, all maintained as well as gardens, with a goodly population and houses scattered throughout the countryside; this is the most famous area of Chianti…”
Only Villa Ricucci has preserved largely unchanged its original 18th -century appearance, its handsome façade enhanced by a double stairway crowned with an elegant balcony.
Villa Pianigiani, on the other hand, was completely revamped into a vaguely neo-classical style; a large square building, of solid and severe elegance, its roof housing a dovecote-tower, much like the farmhouses of that era.
Throughout the 19th and to the middle of the 20th century, Ama had fully four agricultural operations and was thus a rural centre of some importance: its resident population ranked it among the main frazioni of the commune of Gaiole.
Notizie storiche (Historical notes) taken from the Quaderni del Centro Studi Storici Chiantigiani, edited by Prof. Renato Stopani.