What's the first thing that comes up to your mind, when thinking about Chianti? Let us guess, probably its wine production, since such tradition has been carried out for centuries and centuries. The Chianti Classico wine has become famous all over the world, with the name that identifies these territories between Florence and Siena and with its symbol, the "Gallo Nero" (or black rooster).
To reach these fertile hills and wander around extensively, consider taking the so-called Chiantigiana road (or SR 222) as your reference point. Follow the itinerary below to check off some items from your to do (and taste) list.
The nearest town to Florence is Greve in Chianti, where the main attraction is the funnel-shaped piazza Matteotti, surrounded by arcades with small shops selling local products. There, you can also find some "historic" butchers selling: wild boar, cinta senese, and Florentine T-bone steaks (the famous “Fiorentina”).
On the longer side of this triangular square, you'll find the municipal building, home to a beautiful statue by Mitoraj.
From Greve in Chianti, going south toward Siena, you will encounter the so-called "Chianti Triangle", comprising the towns of Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Gaiole in Chianti.
Castellina and Radda have very nice town centers, full of cafes and restaurants preparing good food and, of course, wine tastings. While Gaiole is flat, the other two towns are situated in the hills and they also boast beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
Near Gaiole, there are smaller towns that deserve visit, among them Lecchi and Vertine. In the same area, there are two castles, noteworthy for their beauty and for the fact that they host two of the most important wineries in the area: Meleto and Brolio, belonging to Barone Ricasoli, lord of Florence.
The Castle of Meleto organizes guided tours of the castle’s main floor and its small theatre and cellars. It also hosts events and weddings.
The Castle of Brolio can be reached by driving, walking or cycling along a 600-meter steep road. The Ricasoli Barons still live there, but you can still visit the garden, the museum and enjoy wine tastings and guided tours. Outside the castle, you'll notice Italian-style gardens and the most characteristic Tuscan landscape: vineyards, olive groves, white dirt roads and rows of cypress trees.
Many thanks to Antonio Duilio Puosi for all the information and the photos!
The original version of this post was written by Serena Puosi.