Few territories can offer such a rich and evocative panorama as that of the Chianti Classico in Tuscany: green hills crossed by kilometers and kilometers of vineyards and olive groves, small villages and medieval walls, winding roads, castles, fortresses and villas. The Chianti stretches between Florence and Siena and includes the municipalities of Greve, Panzano, Gaiole, Radda, Castellina and Castelnuovo Berardenga.
You need a car to visit well, the Chianti region.
To visit the Chianti region in a strategic and relaxing way I suggest you rent a car … even a small one. It is essential to see all the wonders and be autonomous.
Also remember to check the calendar of local events, there could be something special and interesting – such as wine festivals, village festivals, seasonal parties and much more.
The villages to visit in the Chianti Classico area
In reality there are many places to visit in Chianti, but I prefer some villages that offer excellent views for photography and return breathtaking sensations. Now close your mouth and leave.
Greve in Chianti
Our journey can only start from Greve in Chianti, considered the gateway to Chianti. This lively town is famous for its particular square, which since the Middle Ages was the market place of the villages, castles and farms of the surrounding hills.
The square, almost triangular in shape, is flanked on three sides by large porticos, which shelter from rain and sun during shopping.
In the center, it houses the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, discoverer of the New York Bay. In the narrow part, there is the church of Santa Croce of medieval origin, but with neo-Renaissance forms which houses some precious works of sacred art, including a triptych with Madonna and Saints by Bicci di Lorenzo.
Greve also offers the opportunity to taste and taste many typical Chianti products. Under the arcades of the square in fact there are many artisan shops, wine bars and restaurants, where you can dedicate yourself to tasting products and wines, here you will find our tips to do so even if you are not with your car. These include the Antica Macelleria Falorni which offers only traditional Chianti products.
Castellina in Chianti
Castles, churches and Etruscan at Castellina Chianti
Continuing towards Siena is Castellina in Chianti, whose origins are very ancient, as evidenced by the Etruscan tombs of Montecalvario. The favorable position at the crossroads of four areas of Chianti made this city an important strategic and military capital between Florence and Siena. As evidence of this function, today the imposing Fortress dominates the central square and the suggestive walkway of Via delle Volte that crosses the village and offers views of the breathtaking panorama. Walking through the city you can also admire beautiful noble palaces that belonged to important Sienese and Florentine families.
Also worth seeing is the Church of S. Salvatore rebuilt after the Second World War but which houses a beautiful late fourteenth-century fresco by a Tuscan master. Definitely worth a visit is also the Archaeological Museum of the Chianti Senese, which traces the ancient history of this area and preserves the Etruscan remains of Montecalvario.
In Castellina you can of course taste the wines in one of the many wine cellars of the village and savor the norcina art of Chianti that produces salami with an unforgettable flavor.
The southernmost part of the Chianti Classico area often remains in the shadow of the frenzy and the curiosity of the first towns that you encounter when entering the region, but nevertheless, it still offers unexpected surprises. Castelnuovo Berardenga, founded in 1366, was located on the border between Florence and Siena; built by the latter, it remained under his control until 1555, when the city was defeated by the Medici family. In Piazza Petrilli, you can still see the remains of the tall tower, transformed in 1755 into the town clock tower. The square offers a large open space where you can enjoy the atmosphere of other times and of total calm that dominates this place; together with the Vicolo dell’Arco and its characteristic red brick arches, it represents one of the places to stop and admire what surrounds us in this charming Chianti town.
Southern tip of Chianti Classico, Castelnuovo Berebenga
Just outside the city, there is the charming town of San Gusmé, a small and quaint village that seems to have stood still in an age long gone and that offers endless opportunities for wonderful photos. I recommend taking a trip to the Pontignano Charterhouse, not only because it is an impressive monastery where events are organized today, but also because it represents an important piece of local history: it served, in fact, as a refuge for Jews and political dissidents during the Second World War. Finally, don’t forget to add Pieve Pacina to your itinerary, less than 3 km from the city center, perhaps one of the oldest churches in the area – it almost certainly existed well before the year 714!
Nearby is Villa Chigi Saracini, built in the 19th century and surrounded by a beautiful Italian Renaissance garden and an English-style park. A little less traditional, but just as interesting for young and old is the fantastic Chianti Sculpture Park, a sort of open-air museum where works of art, immersed in the Chianti landscape, harmonize perfectly with nature creating a dialogue between art and landscape that is unbelievable.
Tastings in the Chianti Classico
The Chianti Classico is synonymous with memorable landscapes to photograph to remember and of course to taste. The tasting of Chianti wine in Tuscany in the Chianti hills is a memorable experience. I took the time to see, taste, taste and act. My photos that I won’t publish in this article, have the scent and smell of those days … of those colors, of everything I’ve lived.
Country roads, unique landscapes, rustic but beautiful villas, fabulous farmhouses … all enclosed in a few photo shots that bounce off my mind.
Traveling on the Tuscan provincial road, in Chianti, I came across small producers of wine, cheese, oil. It was natural, as I was driving, to see some signs, and I stopped. So I met some authentic local characters, and I brought home a slice of chianti …
Came back to home
During the return by plane, holding a paper map, my travel notes and photographs, I retraced this trip vacation …
Even today, after several months, I find all this magnificent, and trying on the web I could not help but run into an article in an online travel magazine, which spoke of these places and I wanted to quote it in conclusion of the post, because it deserves really. It is called Castello di Montalto, a tourist destination, a medieval castle with villas for rent from which one can truly admire the beauty of Tuscany and the Chianti region.