Places of interest in Chianti, Italy

Chianti is one of the most attractive territories of Tuscany, Italy. The panorama of holme oak, pine and chestnut forests, olive groves, vineyards and cypresses, its steep hills and the red-tiled roofs of the farm houses make it instantly recognisable. Culture, history and tradition together with its famous wine and cookery, make the Chianti zone of Tuscany a wonderful vacation destination. Here we provide some links to the main places of interest in Chianti, Tuscany.

Chianti Travel guide

Chianti Tourist Information

Vino del Chianti

Il Chianti in italiano

There are three different concepts of the territory of Chianti, Italy:
geographical Chianti, winemaking Chianti and Chianti Classico.

Geographical Chianti - towns in Chianti

- is a the territory whose boundaries are defined by the Upper Arno Valley, between Florence and Siena, by the road that joins Arezzo to Siena, and by the Florence-Siena autostrada. The eight municipalities (counties) are named after the largest town in each, and of these towns Greve in Chianti is the largest.




Impruneta is famous as the main centre for terracotta manufacture in Tuscany and, in the past few years, it has also become well-known for production of hand-painted ceramics. The Basilica of Santa Maria has a good museum of sacred art and is prominent in a famous engraving by Callot of the market in the piazza in front of the church. The Fair of Saint Luke is one of the oldest surviving live stock fairs in Europe. It is held in the week in which the feast of St Luke occurs (18 October) and the "Festa dell’Uva" (grape festival) is held in Impruneta on last Sunday of September. Villa Corsini a Mezzomonte is the best-known among the nearby Renaissance villas. More about Impruneta.

San Casciano Val di Pesa

San Casciano in Val di Pesa

San Casciano in Val di Pesa is located on the northern boundary of the Chianti Classico wine zone, on a ridge that divides the Val di Pesa from the Val di Greve. In Roman times, San Casciano was a staging post built at the top of the descent to Florence and marked by the tenth milestone of the Florentine colony. The town itself is worth a brief visit but the surrounding territory is packed with historical villas of enormous interest. Among them are Albergaccio Machiavelli, the country home of Niccolò Machiavelli, Castle Bibbione, Villa le Corti and Villa Borromeo. There are also a great many historical parish churches to be visited, especially for those who are renting vacation accommodation in the surrounding countryside. More about San Casciano in Val di Pesa.

Tavarnelle Val di Pesa

Pieve di San Pietro in Bossolo Tavarnelle

Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa is of Roman origin and is named after the ancient taverns offering accommodation and refreshment along the road from Florence to Siena and thence to Rome. Within Tavarnelle, the main sight of interest is the church of Santa Lucia al Borghetto, a rare example of local Gothic architecture. In the environs of Tavarnelle, the interior of the Romanesque parish church of San Pietro in Bossolo contains interesting works of art and the Museo di Arte Sacra has been set up in the former priests' house. The large and picturesque Vallombrosan monastery of Badia di Passignano is within easy reach. The territory of Tavarnelle, like the entire Chianti district, has a particularly rich heritage of rural building: churches, oratories, chapels, villas and farms. More about Tavarnelle.

Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti is effectively the market town of the Chianti Classico wine area. Unlike the majority of Chianti towns, Greve is located on the floor of a valley instead of on a hill top, about half-way along the scenic Chiantigiana highway (SS 222) that runs from Florence to Siena. Greve has an attractive, arcaded, triangular piazza with several ceramics and wine shops, as well as restaurants. The hills surrounding Greve boast many beautiful agriturismi and other rural vacation accommodations, making Greve a centre for farm house holidays in this part of Tuscany. The Castello di Montefioralle, actually a castellated village, is very near and well worth a visit. The Greve web site contains much useful information about Chianti. More about Greve in Chianti.

Radda in Chianti

Radda in Chianti

Radda in Chianti, one of the original three members of the Chianti league, is a very small but pleasant town surrounded by forested hills that are famous for their castles, tower houses and ancient parish churches. The main structure of interest inside Radda is the Palazzo del Podestà. The area is very popular with holiday-makers and there are numerous accommodation possibilities in the farmhouses that dot the hills. The fortified village of Volpaia, nearby and famous for its wines, is well worth a visit. More about Radda in Chianti.

Castellina in Chianti

Castellina in Chianti

Castellina in Chianti is a popular town just inside the province of Siena near the border of the province of Florence. It lies slightly closer to Siena than to Florence and has two areas of Etruscan tomb remains nearby. Castellina was heavily damaged during WW II but still retains some attractive architecture, including two renaissance palazzi and the Rocca (fortress) that dominates the town. However, its main value is as a centre for the beautiful agriturismi (farmhouse holiday locales) in the surrounding hills and valleys, and it is well-known for its restaurants.. The pretty wine village of Fonterutoli is nearby and should not be missed.  More about Castellina in Chianti.

Gaiole in Chianti

Gaiole in Chianti

Gaiole in Chianti, like Radda, is a small town of no particular interest situated in a territory filled with castles and vineyards. The Castello di Barbischio overlooks Gaiole itself and among nearby sights of interest are the fortified abbey of Badia a Coltibuono, now a famous wine producer with its own well-regarded outdoor restaurant, the walled village of Vertine, Brolio Castle and the Castle of Meleto, all worth a detour. More about Gaiole in Chianti.

Castelnuovo Berardenga

Castelnuovo Berardenga

Castelnuovo Berardenga is located in the province of Siena and is the southernmost town of any size in the Chianti Classico wine zone. While the town itself is worth only a brief visit, the surrounding area is home to several of the most famous formal gardens in Tuscany, indeed in all of Italy. These include Villa Chigi Saracini, Villa di Geggiano (Villa Bianchi Bandinelli), and Villa di Monaciano. The comune organises Sunday excursions to combinations of interesting nearby sights - these are excellent value for money. Siena is within easy reach, making the environs of Castelnuova Berardenga an excellent location for a Siena-centred vacation. More about Castelnuovo Berardenga.

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More places of interest in Chianti.

Sights in Tuscany

Sights in Umbria

Winemaking Chianti - wine zones

- is divided into specific zones: Chianti Classico, Colli Fiorentini, Colli Senesi, Colli Aretini, Colline Pisane, Montalbano, Montespertoli and Rùfina. The origin of Chianti wine has very ancient roots but its composition was codified only in the 19 C. It obtained the DOC recognition in 1967 and the DOCG recognition in 1984.

Chianti wine is ruby-red in colour, tending to burgundy with age, with a harmonious taste, dry and fruity, slightly tannic, with an intensely vine-based scent accompanied by its characteristic perfume of violets. Chianti can be consumed as a young wine, fresh and pleasing to the palate. Its suitability to medium and long periods of aging - during which its colour, perfume and unique taste mature - is extremely dependent on the winemaker and the year.

The Chianti Classico (Gallo Nero) wine zone

- this small part of the Chianti wine zone is located between Florence and Siena, between the valleys of the Greve, Pesa and Elsa rivers and the Chianti hills. In this territory, inhabited in ancient times by the Etruscans and the Romans and the battleground between Florence and Siena in the Middle Ages, towns, castles, and fortresses were constructed that later were transformed into villas and residences. The first official document regarding the wine dates from 1404, while other documents of the 1600s describe how the exportation of Chianti began to be an important commercial factor. In the 1700s, with the agricultural rebirth of Tuscany and the organisation of the sharecropping system, the cultivation of the vines was firmly established.

The 70,000 hectares of the Chianti Classico region include the districts of Barberino Val d'Elsa, Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Colle Val d'Elsa, Gaiole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti, Impruneta, Monteriggioni, Radda in Chianti, San Gimignano, and Tavarnelle Val di Pesa.

The wines produced in the Chianti Classico wine zone are classified as DOCG, DOC, IGT and VDT Tuscan wines. This classification denotes the quality class of the wine for the most part. The major exception is that excellent wines that don't fit the blend requirements are allocated to IGT - these are the so-called Super Tuscan wines.

Wine tasting tours in Tuscany

 tuscan wine tours

Wine tasting and sightseeing tours in Tuscany with Angela

Angela Saltafuori, an English-speaking, licensed guide and sommelier, drives groups of 2 to 8 visitors in a comfortable, air-conditioned minibus to visit Chianti wineries and taste Chianti wines. Classic wine tasting itineraries for shared wine tours and customised private wine tasting tours or sightseeing tours based on your wishes. More about wine tasting tours in Tuscany.

The Chiantigiana highway

The Chianti Classico wine zone is traversed by Strada Statale 222, the "Via Chiantigiana", a picturesque "wine road" dating from the 1700s. Travelling the Chiantigiana wine road, you can enjoy every aspect of the landscape, with its cultivation of grapes and olives, and resplendent with country houses, abbeys and churches, towers and castles.

Chianti is particularly rich in Romanesque parish churches. Many of the more interesting of these 'pievi' can be visited during the course of a single day's motoring excursion by following the Via Chiantigiana and making a few short detours.

In addition to its vernacular, military and religious architecture, the Chianti area is characterised by natural beauty and by characteristic gastronomic products such as olive oil, wild game, tasty dried meats, hearty ribollita soup, Tuscan crostini, and the delicious dry walnut biscuits to dip in Tuscan Vin Santo, to name but a few.


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