Sweet hills, little Borgos, small villages on top of the hill, cute and delicious trattorias and wine cellar where it is possible to taste excellent wines especially our local Chianti wine.
So, here you can find some tips to discover some of my favourite places in the Tuscan area
ALERT: In Italy you cannot drink and drive - laws has just been changed, and now half glass of wine is enough to be out of the rules. So, if you want to enjoy wine-tastings either some of your party will not drink, or you can hire a car and driver, possibly english speaking, so no problem AT ALL.
In case you wish some tips for that, write me, I know very good and professional drivers, personally tested.
Day trip to Chianti from Florence
Leave Florence towards Siena passing by the ancient gate of the city Porta Romana and follow directions to Siena on the Superstrada Firenze-Siena.
Few km later, you will see on your right an extensive cemetery where over 4000 soldier from Usa (especially) and other countries, rest in peace - it is a very important Second World War Cemetery
On your left, right after the exit Bargino, you will see the very modern and impressive Antinori wine cellar - if you wish to visit it, book well in advance your tasting and/or visit to cellar and exit at Bargino itself.
Our first stop will be the famous and beautiful medieval town of San Gimignano. Right before your exit Poggibonsi, you will see in distance a cradle of tall and slender tower-houses, the symbol of San Gimignano.
About 8 km of sweet turns you will park outside of the ancient gate and take the first epic panorama photo from the wall before getting into the town. Wander around the small streets, shop in the few not touristy places - I noticed especially a couple of leather shops that looked very very good.
If you have a strong stomach, visit the tortures museum, the best in this topic - difficult to suggest if going after or before lunch....
Climb a tower-house if you wish, this is the most commun type of civil house in the 12th and 13th century - it was used to defend the family in case of attack and they could arrive also to 90 metres - a real skyscraper! Consider in Florence there were 150 tower-houses, then all beheaded to 35-40 metres. San Gimignano is the only town that still preserve 11 tower-houses at original height. Impressive! And iconic.
San Gimignano suffers of very strong mass-tourism attack - so in season it could happen that is very crowded and no parking are available. A good alternative, not far and similar is Certaldo - a very cute medieval town, also with a tower-house, on top of the hill with dramatic panorama.
|View from San Gimignano|
Ready for your first wine-tasting and lunch?
Take back your car and put Fattoria di Sant'Appiano in your GPS. In 15-20 minutes from San Gimignano (or 5 minutes from the exit of Poggibonsi, in case you are not going to San Gimignano) you will reach this peaceful, relaxing and charming Fattoria - two nice ladies, mother and daughter, will show you how they restyled a 1400 house owned by the glorious Pitti Family and now they host cooking classes, truffle hunting, wine-tastings accompanied by excellent home made food. And of course the principal activity of the fattoria - olives and grapes harvest!
You will visit the cellar, which is always a dream - a wine-smelly dream. mmmm adorable.
Definitely a good spot, out of the most touristic path, with big buses and lots of crowds.
|Cellar at Fattoria Sant'Appiano|
Ok, should we try also another place?
So, go back on the Superstrada Firenze-Siena towards Firenze - exit at San Donato and go right. You finally will connect with the world-wide famous road of wine n. 222 - it is gorgeus, I admit, but it is not the only road where you can enjoy spectacular views. All the Chianti area is very scenograpic, don't worry about getting the 222 if it is not in your plan. Don't feel guilty ;)
After few stops for taking pictures to a scenary to die for (I swear, you will stop!) you finally get to Azienda Agricola Poggio Amorelli, on top of a gentle hill covered with wineyards, resting after the harvest and waiting for spring.
Also their cellar is very impressive! And they produce in Modena an excellent Balsamic Vinegar, the real IGP one - only 200,000 little bottles are produces every year (in the world!! so get yours!) - I had the chance to taste their vinegar aged 38 years old - oh my, out of this world.....
They are very friendly, another amazing family involved in this interesting business - their area to taste is incredibly homey, warm, cozy. I love it!
|View from Poggio Amorelli (winter season - imagine in summer)|
|Wine-tasting in a cellar anyone?|
|Poggio Amorelli lovely restaurant|
Other towns famous in Chianti and worth-a-visit?
Of course! These were just some of my fav's wine-tastings stop. I do enjoyed a lot also:
- Rocca delle Macie
- Casa Emma
- Volpaia town
- Brolio Castle
- Verrazzano Castle
And also the wine-towns such as : Greve, Gaiole, Radda in Chianti.
As per towns, not particularly connected to wines, but very nice to visit:
- Colle val d'Elsa
|Montefioralle (and my kids!)|
|Greve in Chianti|
Where to sleep in Chianti?
There are tons of choices - 5-stars luxury resorts, simple and family-style B&B, small hotels....
I personally tried and can suggest:
- Villa Campomaggio - with SPA and external pool
- Borgo Casa al Vento - with Spa in wine barrel!
- the luxurios yet coutry style il Borro, owned by the Ferragamo Family, a magic place in earth
Where to eat in Chianti?
Again, you will not starve here!! Plenty of places... my personal list will include:
- Le Panzanelle - Lucarelli
- Il Pozzo - Monteriggioni
- Chiribirì - San Gimignano
- Osteria Passignano - Badia a Passignano (Michelin star)
- Macelleria Falorni - Greve in Chianti
- Borgo Antico - Greve in Chianti (not town, in the forest)
Ok? ready? Steady? Go!!!
|Ham hangin' at Macelleria Falorni - Greve in Chianti|
|Pici al pesto e pomodoro - Il Pozzo Monteriggioni|
|Tagliata with balsamic vinegar - le Panzanelle Lucarelli|