If you are familiar with Italian red wines, the Chianti does not need any introduction. Its region, Tuscany, is made of sweet hills, vineyards, countless castles and a picturesque nature.
If you are familiar with Italian red wines, the Chianti does not need any introduction.
Its region, Tuscany, is made of sweet hills, vineyards, countless castles and a picturesque nature.
If you stay in Florence or in Siena, here it is an itinerary to discover the best of this region, unique and special.
In addition to admire panoramas and hamlets, you will also be able to attend wine tasting tours of the famous wine.
The origin of Chianti wine
The formula of classic Chianti wine was created in 1872 by the Baron Bettino Ricasoli and became so successful that in 1927 a "Chianti Classico" association was born, to defend and promote the name and the wines produced in this region.
Its symbol is the black rooster – icon of the ancient Military League of Chianti – on which a legend from Middle Age exists, as it is believed that in that period a black rooster defined the political borders of the Chianti area.
In time, the recipe has changed compared to the original one, in which it was foreseen a 70% of Sangiovese variety, a 15% of Canaiolo and a 15% of Malvasia.
Today, this wine is made with at least 80% of Sangiovese, while the rest can be a different variety, and the majority of producers uses only Sangiovese or adds small quantities of Merlot and/or Cabernet sauvignon.
Even the aging in small oak barrels is now optional.
Moreover, in 1932, the Italian government decided to extend significantly Chianti production area, dividing it in seven sub-areas (which names come mostly from the regional hills):
In 1996, the sub-area Montespertoli was also built, including all the territory of the town with the same name, in Florence province.
All these differences in tastes and textures, depending on the various sub-areas and wine varieties utilised, will offer you always-unique Chianti tastings.
“Discovering Chianti” itinerary
Let’s move on with an itinerary to discover the beautiful Chianti countryside, its history, food and wine.
- Greve in Chianti and Vernazzano Castle
Greve in Chianti is considered the door of the area, and is famous for its triangular square and its arches, hosting shops and restaurants.
In the center, the bronze statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, discovered of the New York Bay, stands out.
The first step of the Chianti wine tasting tour is Verrazzano Castle, which overlooks the gorgeous countryside.
The castle is known as the former residence of Verrazzano family, to which Giovanni the Sailor was belonging.
Today, this very renowned wine cellar can be visited and offers some tasting.
In Greve in Chianti there is also the Falorni wine shop, located in an ancient renewed dungeon, in which it is possible to try up to 140 wines coming from different cellars.
- Castellina in Chianti
Castellina in Chianti is located along the Chiantigiana road, connecting Florence with Siena, and it is one of the main Chianti destinations.
It was a walled hamlet, and today you will be able to see a huge underground tunnel running along the walls, which was once used by the guards: Via delle Volte.
Here you will find the restaurant called “Sotto le Volte”, created in the rooms of an old icehouse, then a shelter from the Big War bombs, where you will have available a list of 150 Tuscany red wine labels.
- Radda in Chianti
Radda was the venue of the Chianti League and of the Florence governor, hosted in the beautiful Podestà Palace from the XV century.
The city still keeps its medieval look, with thin alleys meeting in the main square, where San Niccolò church is located.
This roman origins church hosts a wood Crucifix from the XV century.
If you happen to be in the surroundings of Radda at the beginning of June, don’t miss the event "Radda nel bicchiere"(Radda in a glass), an outdoor Chianti wines tasting with more than twenty producers.
- Gaiole in Chianti
Gaiole in Chianti is a hamlet that was important in the history of this area as it was a connection for the communications between Chianti and north Valdarno.
Thanks to this, it became the venue of the nearby castles’ market.
Here you can visit Meleto Castel, its incredible interiors from the XVIII century and the theatre, which keeps, in addition to the stage, also seven original XVIII century sceneries and is situated in a hall accessible from the indoor court.
The tour includes a wine tasting and a Chianti bottle to take home.
If you aren’t tired yet, you could also go to the Spaltenna medieval Castle; perfectly kept, now transformed in an exclusive hotel.
On its terrace, you could enjoy a Chianti glass, admiring the lovely Tuscany countryside at your feet.
If you liked this itinerary, or you would prefer to create your own according to your needs, do not hesitate to contact me!