The word “Piedmont” derives from the Italian for “foot of the mountain.” In the case of Virginia it is a rather broad foot, of about sixty miles, from the Blue Ridge Mountains on the west to the fall line on the east. For the purposes of this guide, the Piedmont area is defined as the counties of Albemarle (the county seat of Charlottesville is treated in a separate section), Culpeper, Fluvanna, Goochland, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, and parts of Hanover. County lines do not necessarily follow geography; thus Hanover County, which lies on both sides of the fall line, is partially treated in the Richmond section.
The landscape changes from relatively flat in the east to low, rolling hills and valleys and finally the upward surge of the mountains in the west. Native American remains are, with a few minor exceptions, completely gone. The English penetrated the area in the seventeenth century, but the earliest permanent remains are from the eighteenth century. Traditionally an agricultural and rural area, the Piedmont still retains this character for the most part, though in the twentieth century highways have allowed for the inevitable sprawl.
The entries in this section are arranged roughly in tiers across the region, beginning in the northwest and progressing east, and then returning across the southern portion to the west. The order, by county, is Rappahannock, Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Hanover (partial), Goochland, Louisa, Fluvanna, Albemarle, and Greene.
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