Chianti can be compared to a unique vineyard. Hundreds of rows of vines represent the most characteristic feature of Chianti, the land where excellent wines are produced. The high quality of Chianti wine is the result of millenary knowledge and a great tradition of wine-making. Chianti wine has been of great importance since Etruscan times.
The Chianti wine region boasts delightful vistas framing the vine covered rolling hills and ever present cypresses, along with an unhurried pace of life and picturesque villages, and a balmy climate. It's no surprise that many northern European citizens have relocated to this part of Italy. Enchanting village and small towns await the visitor, where you can sojourn at a pleasant cafe or wine bar and watch the world go by.
The principal towns of the Chianti are Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti. Greve in Chianti is the unofficial capital of the region that boasts a friendly market town atmosphere with its attractive arcaded Piazza Matteotti and the church of St. Croce. While Radda in Chianti is a typical Tusacn Hill Town that invites you to stroll through its steep streets and to follow the old medieval road that circles the village within the walls of the town. Castellina in Chianti sits on ridge that enjoys splendid views in all directions. The defiant 15th century medieval walls and fortified town give an indication of the violent past of this area during the wars between Florence and Siena.
Driving from either Siena or Florence, follow the S222, known as the Strada Chiantigiana which runs through the heart of the Chianti region. The most scenic route of the road is the section leading through to Greve in Chianti where travellers can relax in the main square to enjoy a wine tasting at one of the many Enoteca's found in the arcades that surround the main piazza.
Chianti - picturesque corner
Greve in Chianti - Piazza
Greve in Chianti
Destinations in Chianti Region
Greve in Chianti
In the heart of Tuscany, between two large cities of art, Florence and Siena, lies the territory of the Chianti Classico. In the heart of the Chianti Classico is Greve in Chianti, the “wine city”, with its vineyards, olive-trees, its castles, its parishes and its medieval hilltop villages. Every season is ideal for a stay or for a visit, to admire an extraordinary landscape and to discover the richness of the wines and the flavours the Chianti land has to offer. The Chianti, in a harmonious manner, contains the past and the present in an inseparable relationship in which man’s work, his rapport with the land, his ability to deal with present-day issues bearing in mind the historical roots, play an important role. In its rows of vines, in the austerity of its huts, in the elegance of its villas, in the cordiality of its people, in the delicacy and exquisitness of its products, one can still find an authenticity and a freshness that today is rare to find.
A tour around the Chianti region departs from Greve in Chianti. The Chianti region comprehends the whole wine district with the Docg certificate and reaches the province of Siena in the south. The road that leads to Greve in Chianti is plotted with historic residences and castles which have been transformed into wine vaults. You find for example the Castello di Vicchiomaggio, from the 13th century which was transformed into a villa in the 16th century, the Castello di Uzzano and the Castello di Verrazzano, a villa/farm which was the home of the family of Giovanni da Verrazzano, a navigator from Greve who discovered the Hudson Bay, where New York now is situated.
A nice itinerary in the surroundings of Greve in Chianti starts at Strada and goes to La Panca, immerged among a lovely landscape and majestic architectonic buildings. Stop at Castello di Sezzate. The Borgo di Cintola still preserves its aspect from the 13th century. From here you reach the imposing Vallombrosian Abbey Montescalari, today transformed into a farm.
A nice excursion from Greve in Chianti is the one to Monte San Michele, the highest mountain in the Chianti region and often is covered with snow in wintertime. The forests of San Michele are protected and offers lots of tracking paths and areas suited for picnics, a running path and a small hotel-restaurant where you can taste the typical dishes of the Chianti region.
Castellina in Chianti
Castellina is a quiet and peaceful village full of old buildings, up on a hill at 578 mt high; it is set amidst the countryside of vine-yards, olive plantations and oak-woods. In XIIIth century, together with Radda and Gaiole, it was a member of Lega del Chianti, whose flags had the famous black cock, that became symbol of Classic Chianti Wine.
The town preserves the typical thirteenth century plan: the beautiful castle, which now houses the Town Council, and the unique Via delle Volte, a street almost totally sheltered by vaults. Buildings such as churches, castles and farms are spread all over the charming surroundings of Castellina.. There are many complexes that offer accommodation in a very friendly atmosphere typical of farmohouse holiday or elegant country lodges.
Radda in Chianti
This village is situated on a hill covered with woods and extensive vineyards forming the watershed between the Pesa and Arbia valleys.
Formerly belonging to the Guidi family, it came under Florentine control in 1203. After being fortified in 1400 it was, from 1415 onwards, head of the League of Chianti, and it preserves the remains of its ancient walls.
The structure of the medieval village is still intact; it grew up elliptically around the church of San Nicolò, of 14th century origin and the Palazzo Pretorio. Built about 1415, its facade adorned with the coats of arms of the podestà (chief magistrates), the latter is now the seat of the municipality.
Just outside the village, in the Vignale farm, are the headquarters of the Chianti Classico consortium (its symbol is the black-cockerel, the former emblem of the League of Chianti), and the Centro di Studi Chiantigiani (Centre for Chianti Studies), founded in 1984, with a small library and an archive devoted to the history of Chianti and its agriculture. The Montevertine farm, near the village, houses the small Museo del Chianti, with displays relating to the farming community.
From Radda, after descending in the direction of Greve in Chianti and turning left after 3km, the route climbs up the southern slope of Monte San Michele, firstly to Santa Maria Novella and then Volpaia. In a small medieval village, the church of Santa Maria Novella, rebuilt in the 19th century, has preserved its basilican plan with a nave flanked by two aisles. Inside, the capitals are adorned with medieval sculptures similar to the Lombard ones in the churches of the Casentino.