The Chianti wine region offers a great getaway from the hustle and bustle of Florence. Picture-perfect green hills, olive groves, medieval villages and, of course, long stretches of vineyards producing some of the best wines in the world. If you only have a day to explore the famous vineyards, head to the Chianti Classico area that lies between Florence and Siena. Its original borders were decreed by Cosimo de' Medici III, Grand Duke of Tuscany, in the 18th century and included the beautiful villages of Castellina in Chianti, Gaiole, Radda and Greve.
The iconic Black Rooster on the label is recognisable across the world of connoisseurs as the symbol of Chianti Classico, a premium wine with its distinctive characteristic aromas that have been perfected over many centuries of winemaking traditions. Despite the relatively small size of the Chianti Calssico zone, each area lends different characteristics to the wine. The Chianti Classico from Castellina tend to be more delicate while the Greve area produces wines with concentrated flavours. That could be a great excuse to visit at least one winery in each area!
|Gaiole in Chianti|
Often called “the gate into Chianti”, Greve in Chianti is perfect for a day trips from Florence. The town is famous for its triangular central piazza where a weekly local market has been running for many centuries. Apart from Chianti Classico, in local restaurants and delicatessens here you can also find excellent “Super Tuscan” wines and highly-prized local olive oil.
|Castellina in Chianti|
Further south lies Castellina in Chianti, which origins date back to the Etruscans. Its strategic position meant that the town had a rich glorious past. Its massive castle and opulent palaces built by Florentine and Sienese aristocracy are a testimony to those days.
Gaiole in Chianti is another idyllic town with breathtaking views over the Tuscan hills, an 11th century castle and ancient churches brimming with artistic treasures.
Photos via Flickr by: Magnus Reuterdahl, Antonio Cinotti, Ryan Snyder.