The Chianti Hills
, also known by the name of the Chianti Mountains, are a ridge of mountains that extends for about 20 km between the provinces of Florence
. The highest peak is Mount St. Michael
, about 893 meters in the municipality of Greve in Chianti. The boundaries of this area are very controversial because they have been extended in the time by incorporating other municipalities.
Other locations that are part of this subzone are: Barberino Val d'Elsa, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Greve in Chianti, Poggibonsi, San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tavernelle in Val di Pesa. Hills and vineyards alternate in this breath-taking landscape between Florence and Siena. British people were immediately attracted by the mild climate, the beauty of the landscapes and especially the food and the famous Chianti wines
. Over the last twenty years they have bought and renovated many stone houses and moved to this area permanently or have elected it as their favourite destination for their holidays. Hence the term "Chiantishire"
The hills of Chianti are very popular especially for wines. In fact, along the hills there are hundreds of farmhouse, cottages, wineries that base their success on the crops of vineyards that colour the hills with their bright colours green, purple, red and yellow.
Near Greve in Chianti, there are many farms where you can taste some good wine. Greve itself has excellent wine bars that offer pleasant tasting. Among these, Le Cantine, a company in which you can taste hundreds of wines and visit the Wine Museum.
Just 3 km from Greve in Chianti there is the Vicchiomaggio Castle
, with its 130 acres of parkland that produces a good Chianti Classico Gallo Nero. The Castle offers tastings tailored to all your needs.
Continuing in the direction of Greve you will find the famous Castle of Verrazzano
. Every day, the Castle offers a visit to the historic wine cellars with wine tasting and typical products. They offer several guided tours.
Another location within easy reach of great charm is Panzano, one of the most populated city of Chianti. This town, as well as the wine, is famous for its Florentine steak. Here in fact, there is the Butcher Cecchini, where the staff reads the Divine Comedy while cutting and preparing the meat.
Not far from the centre is the Old Farm Montagliari, which in addition to the tasting of its Chianti Classico also offers tastings of vin santo, grappa, olive oil and other local products.
Radda in Chianti
, was the capital of the League of Chianti, including Radda, Gaiole and Castellina. The Walls, Palace of the Podesta, The Grand Duke's Ice house in addition of chapels and churches, make this locality very suggestive and popular in chianti.
One of the more distinctive town in the Chianti area is Castellina in Chianti
, near Siena, characterised by the presence of Etruscan communities. But also there are a large testimonies of the Medieval period with monuments, walls and castles in a very precious rural landscape.
is a city in the province of Siena. Centre of trade during its history was the centre for exchanging goods. There are a rich concentration of castels and churches. Nowadays it is famous for the food and wine tourism.
Among the smaller towns we find Barberino Val d'Elsa, with its many religious architectures: Chapel of San Michele a Semifonte, Church of St. Bartholomew in Barberino, Church of Santa Maria a Linari, St. Andrew's Church in Vico d'Elsa and its beautiful villas such as Villa San Filippo, Villa Guicciardini Vico.
Greve in Chianti
, named after the river that runs through it, has a unique triangular square, Piazza Matteotti, which in medieval times was used as a market (the market for the Castello di Montefioralle). In 1325 the town was razed to the ground by Castruccio Castracani (Duke of Lucca), and with it, the church of Santa Croce, which was rebuilt later. Neoclassical style, it houses paintings of the school of Fra 'Angelico and contains a Madonna and Child by Lorenzo Bicci. Greve is also home to the largest Chianti wine fair, which takes place every year in September. Nearby there are the castles of Uzzano, Canonica, Mugnana and Verrazzano, the village of Montefioralle and Saint Lucia Barbino.
In Panzano, the parish church of San Leolino is one of the most important Romanesque churches in all of Chianti, with the cloister and Renaissance additions. The village of Panzano is on two roads that run parallel to the castle, in the highest and oldest part of the country. The walls that surrounded the hill are still largely preserved, as well as corner towers.
A special mention deserves San Gimignano
, a beautiful village of Chianti.
Due to its characteristic medieval architecture of the old town, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site of San Gimignano has preserved its appearance two-fourteenth century, despite some reversals of the nineteenth and twentieth century, and is one of the best examples in Europe of urban organization of the municipality.
San Gimignano is famous for its medieval towers that dominate the entire landscape and for which it had the nickname of the "Manhattan of the Middle Ages." Of the 72 towers and tower-houses, existing in the golden period of the City, 25 were left in 1580 and today there are sixteen of them. The oldest is the Rognosa tower, which is 51 meters high, while the highest is the Torre del Podesta, also known as Torre Grossa, of 54 meters. A regulation of 1255 forbade private individuals to build towers taller than the Rognosa tower but, despite this, the two most important families of the time, Ardinghelli and Salvucci, built two towers a little lower and almost of equal size, to demonstrate their power.
And finally, here are some events that you should not miss during the year in Chianti:
Impruneta Grape Festival - every last weekend of September
The Grape Festival dates back to 1926 and was created to promote the products of the local farmers. The main attraction of the festival is the challenge between the various contradas of Impruneta, on carts built during the year.
There are stalls to taste typical products and wines.
Festival of Seitan - June
The festival of the Seitan is new and original. Now in its seventh year, the event which takes place at the Recreation Club Pozzolatico, Impruneta, attracts every year thousands of participants. It is a real vegan food market, with stalls of vegetarian and vegan foods, but also of clothes, shoes and more.
How to arrive and move in Chianti.
The airports serving the area of Chianti are Florence and Pisa. Hence it is advisable to hire a car to continue with the trip and enjoy all the beauty without losing anything.
The nearest railway stations are Poggibonsi and Castellina in Chianti, where trains arrive and depart to and from Florence and Siena. The exchange between the two cities is the station of Empoli. All trains stop here for Chianti. From there you can travel by bus to reach and visit the smaller towns. The bus line SITA leaves directly from Firenze SMN station. The line 365, in particular, connects Florence with Greve, Radda, Castellina and Gaiole. Tickets can be purchased at the SITA bus or train stations or at the nearest bars and tobacco shops nearby.
From Florence to Chianti the main directions are three:
1. The highway Firenze-Siena. The recommended exit is Poggibonsi north.
2. The state highway 222, the Chiantigiana, passing through all the main towns of the Chianti.
3. The state highway 2 Cassia, which runs along the border of the Chianti. It is recommended to arrive in Greve and then take the Chiantigiana.
By bike or scooter.
If you want to move in the Chianti area by bike or scooter, in Greve in Chianti there is a great bike shop, Workshop Ramuzzi, who rents bicycles and scooters for one day trips or weekly trips.