Greve in Chianti
Greve in Chianti, by common recognition the capital of “classic Chianti”, lies in an ideal position, 30 kms from Florence and 40 kms from Siena. The little, elegant city has its centre in the beautiful, lively “piazza”, where in all seasons markets, fairs and festivals take place. One such, certainly not to be missed, is the great Classic Chianti Wine Fair. Greve is full of ancient workshops and artisan “botteghe”, all lined beneath the ancient porch. The Wine Museum is also very interesting. Given its position and tradition, it is an ideal base for all oenological and gastronomical tour plans including wine and food tasting. You can find all top Chianti wines in this area, and the typical cuisine is great too.
Radda in Chianti
Radda in Chianti is a charming medieval village surrounded by still imposing walls. It is very well preserved and boasts many historical “palazzi”, such as the Palazzo del Podestà, from the fifteenth century, now seat of the Municipality. Lying on top of a hill between the valleys of the Arno and Pesa rivers, its origins are very ancient, being cited in a parchment from 1002. The Ghiacciaia Granducale (the Grand Duke’s Icehouse), not far from the main square, is also worth a visit: it was built at the end of the nineteenth century to contain snow and transform it into ice. Also of note the Sacred Art Museum of the Chianti Region, hosted in the spaces of the Franciscan Monastery of Santa Maria in Prato (Saint Mary in the Fields). In the surrounding area one finds many splendid castles and old, small churches (“pievi”). Among those which certainly deserve a visit are the Castello di Volpaia, a perfectly preserved medieval castle, and the Romanic Pieve of Santa Maria in Prato, with its characteristic capitals decorated with stone shapes of flowers and animals. And you cannot miss the many wine tasting opportunities in this area!
Castellina in Chianti
As it lies on the “wine street”, near Siena and not far from Florence too, the possession of Castellina was for a long time the object of quarrels between the two rival centres due to its strategical position. A medieval “borgo” of ancient Etruscan origins, Castellina still boasts as a testimony of its old splendour and power a fifteenth century Fortress with a great, crenellated square tower, with impressive arcs and vaults. These barrel vaults in stone were the medieval passageways running all along the eastern walls and the Beautiful Church of San Salvatore: just a few steps away, outside the “borgo”, one can visit the ancient Etruscan. High from the hill where the “borgo” rises one enjoys a really breathtaking view of the varied, harmonious and peaceful Tuscan landscape around, from vineyards to olive trees, from cypress groves to colourful cultivated field. Narrow streets wind through the countryside, and one has the feeling of being within an old historical painting.
At a very short distance from Greve lies Montefioralle, among beautiful hills. The small village is perched on the top of a hill, and has preserved its ancient aspect and charm. One can see that from afar, just looking at the original walls surrounding it. It was named one of the most beautiful “borghi” in Italy, and it is highly appreciated for its great culinary treats, all to be accompanied by the celebrated Chianti wines.