Florence is divine, but a day in the Tuscan countryside is a worthwhile addition to your week there. And if you love natural beauty, robust red wines, and hearty food, look no further that the Chianti Valley.
Here are some of our favorite villages to explore in In Chianti. You can access them by car or even by region bus. Though town in Chianti have excellent restaurants and tasting rooms where you can sample local wines, you will need a car or a driver to get out to the vineyards themselves. Here are some villages to explore.
You’ve heard of Slow Food, a global movement started in Italy in the 1980s focused on a return to local production and tradition—the antithesis of fast food. The mayor of the small town of Greve has taken it a step further, pioneering the concept of the Slow City. His concern for preserving traditional, small-town life in Greve has lead to expanded pedestrian zones, enhanced parks and strict rules against car alarms and other noise and a ban on advertising and neon in the town center.
Explore Greve’s local restaurants featuring locally grown produce and area wines. Stroll through the arcaded Piazza del Mercatale. Greve is considered the capital of the Chianti Valley, and wine shops abound. You can sample local wines here and shop for a limitless selection of Chianti Classico.
This lovely hill town overlooks the vineyards and gives visitors a sweet taste of small town Tuscan life. Its impressive stone walls and fortress stand as a reminder of its strategic importance in the wars between Siena and Florence. The town’s Archaeological Museum offers a very localized view of Etruscan and Roman settlements in the area, including artifacts and video. And the Bottega del Vino Gallo Nero offers a wide range of local wines and olive oil for sale and for tasting.
This small town in the eastern part of Chianti territory was once very important,nthe capitol of the powerful medieval Lega di Chianti. Visit the town center and take in the palazzo and church on Piazza Ferrucci to get a sense of the town’s past.
Just to the south of Radda, you can visit the Coltibuono Abbey (Badia a Coltibuono) on the grounds of an 8th century hermitage. The 11th century church of San Lorenzo is a gorgeous Romanesque building. And the abbey’s upscale restaurant serves fine food and wine from the area.
Details: You can save time by hiring a local driver a guide who speaks English, knows the terrain, and has connections at the best wineries. The Florence Experience Coordinator for Private Access Journeys can connect you with the best guides in the area.