5 Stunning Chianti Wineries you can Visit from Florence

The beautiful and historic city of Florence is a place of many wonders, and it’s no surprise it remains one of the most visited places in Italy. Apart from the fabulous architecture and art galleries, Florence offers you a chance to experience another of Italy’s wonders: the fabulous wines of the Chianti region of Tuscany. Food and wine make up a great part of the culture of this beautiful country, so we have looked at five amazing chianti wineries within easy reach of Florence.

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Castello di Verrazzano initially an etruscan and then a roman settlement, this castle is one of the most famous of all the Chianti wineries, and a tour of this magnificent and historic place is a must for anyone visiting the region. With a history of winemaking going back almost 1000 years, you will be taken on a wonderful tour through the estate, and encouraged to indulge in tasting some of the very finest wine produced in all the world. This is an experience never to be forgotten, and a very beautiful place to visit.

The Castello di Brolio is another fabulous castle and historic winery, and offers a variety of exciting tours. Easily accessed from Florence, take in the spectacular Tuscan countryside as you tour a place that is as enticing as possible, and enjoy fine wines in exciting tasting sessions in what can only be described as a spectacular setting. This family winery has been in the same family since the 12th century, and the wines produced here are simply superb. The wonderful gardens, stunning castle and quaint museum are a must, so make this one for your shortlist.

Castello del Trebbio is next on our list; this magnificent estate combines an historic winery, dating back many hundreds of years, with wine estate tours options, and allows you to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in Tuscany. Some of the finest wines of Italy have been produced here – and still are to this day – so make sure you enjoy a wine tasting tour. Relaxed and yet invigorating, the slow pace of life of Tuscany is evident all the time here, so take the time to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the region.

Fattoria il Lago is situated on the site of an ancient farm, once owned by notable Tuscan nobles, and is now a fabulous winery, olive oil producing estate and also offer tours of the wine production. Just a short distance from Florence, this is a place where you can relax and enjoy the location, take in wine tasting sessions and simply experience rural Italy at its best.

Finally, Torre a Cona is a great choice of place to visit and taste Chianti wines, and offers both a wine estate and activities in a quite wonderful setting. A choice of dinner on demand and cooking classes with excellent facilities – including a pool – and stunning views make this a very good choice if you are looking for a Tuscany holiday with wine as a feature.

The Chianti region is one of the most glorious of all in Italy, and any of the above wine estates make for a great place to visit or to stay when taking a holiday in the Tuscany region.

Interested in wine tours in the Chianti region? We offer chauffeured tours departing from Florence and Siena, for more information please click here.

A short guide about cycling in Chianti – Tuscany.

Have you ever thought about experiencing a day bicycle tour in the heart of the Chianti wine region? It can be a very original idea for spending a weekend in a different way. Many kinds of bicycle tours are offered through the hills of Chianti visiting vineyards, villas and olive groves. You will have the chance to enjoy stunning landscapes and obviously, to taste a glass of wine and some Tuscan olive oil on  bread.
Here are some suggestions to combine fun and adventure through the Chianti region. 2012 L'Eroica

South of Florence: Between Radda and Volpaia.

Radda in Chianti is one of the most popular Tuscan areas chosen by bike lovers, located in the province of Siena. This itinerary starts in Radda in Chianti and is 19 kilometres long. We can say that it’s a short route, but not so easy to cover, as it is it has slopes and steep elevations. For instance, you’ll find a steep rise towards Castelvecchi and Volpaia. Nevertheless, the effort is worth it. There you’ll enjoy a view of the Chianti landscape that seems to be really postcard perfect. This itinerary is part of a cycling loop check this website for the whole map.

East of Siena: Tour of Chianti from Castelnuovo Berardenga.

This great network of cycling routes around the Chianti region covers the four main municipalities of Siena. If is dotted with countless wineries that offer chianti tasting.  If you choose to take part in this journey, you will start from Castelnuovo Berardenga and you will have the choice to pedal for as long as long 98 kilometres. In certain areas, It can be a demanding tour, suitable for people who love working hard and are not afraid of long distances and steep rises.
Up and Down visiting Abbeys and Castles from Castelnuovo Berardenga to Castle of Montalto

Starting from Castelnuovo Berardenga you can choose this track that is just 28 kilometres. As a matter of fact, short itineraries can be the most demanding ones. The elevation profile is really varying. There are no long rises but at the same time, you won’t find any flat ground for almost 27 kilometres from Badia to Berardegna, as well as in the areas of the Monastery d’Ombrone and of the Castle of Montalto.

Towards Monteriggioni.

It’s a demanding itinerary,  51 kilometres long.
Is a tour of great historic interest but characterised by stunning views at the same time, above all in the Val d’Elsa. Tackling this route, you can choose to take a dirt shortcut, recommended for those who love riding mountain bikes.
The hardest part of the itinerary is the short but steep ride from Staggia towards the state highway Cassia, as well as the final rise to Castellina.

Towards Siena.

This 65-kilometre itinerary is one of the hardest ever. You really need a suitable bike to experience the demanding tour that starts from Radda in Chianti. The route is bumpy, with lots of bends, and it doesn’t present sudden elevations or drops however from start to finish there are more than 800 metres of difference in elevation.
A deviation towards the historic centre of Siena and the Certosa of Pontignano is strongly recommended. Don’t forget to fully enjoy the final part that goes through the authentic Chianti of San Sano, Lecchi, Ama and Andine.    

Going Meat Free in Tuscany: Ceci, Cicerchia and Beans.

Tuscan cuisine is largely based on legumes, for this reason there is a wide selection of Tuscan legumes which characterise many of the most delicate and flavourful Italian dishes. We are talking about Cicerchia, a traditional and ancient legume that cultivation dates back to the Mesopotamian era, and it looks like a squashed chickpea of some sort. In Italy is still widely grown in Tuscany. Cicerchia contains proteins like other legumes, B group vitamins, salt minerals and polyphenols. These beans need to soaked overnight and they are perfect for soup preparation, as well as Ceci (chickpeas), used for soup and pasta, they are indeed very nutritious. Finally, there are also some types of beans (cannellini and borlotti), tender and fine, appreciated for the easy digestibility. Furthermore, do not forget that they can be a good substitute for meat.
We propose three simple and flavourful recipes. Emilia Delizia compiled this short guide about going meat free in Tuscany. Enjoy!

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Tuscan borlotti beans

Zuppa di Cicerchie

The soup of Cicerchie is a nourishing dish. It is based on Cicerchie with sautéed celery, onions, potatoes and tomatoes, seasoned with rosemary and sage.
To prepare the soup, first you have to leave the Cicerchie to soak for at least 24 hours, changing the water frequently. Once they are ready, chop the onions and the celery; then clean and cut a tomato and two potatoes. In a quite big pot, brown two slices of garlic in some oil; once they will be ready, take them out and add celery and onion. After ten minutes, add potatoes, tomatoes, Cicerchia and season with salt and pepper. Add some vegetable broth from time to time.

Finally, add a sprig of rosemary and sage and cook for an hour. Once it will be ready, take out the sprig and serve the soup while it is still hot.

Pasta e Ceci

It is a simple and rich dish, perfect to eat in cold days. It is simple because it comes from the poor Tuscan tradition and it is rich because it puts together carbohydrates and proteins.
Firstly leave the Ceci to soak for 12 hours with a pinch of bicarbonate. Then rinse the legumes and cook them with rosemary. In the meanwhile, prepare a tomato sauce, with some garlic and rosemary.
Once Ceci are well cooked and soft blend them in a food processor, the result it should look like a liquid soup. Add the tomato sauce at cook it again until boiling; now you can add pasta (you can choose Ditalini or even broken Spaghetti) and keep cooking until is the pasta is ready.

Fagioli all’ uccelletto

It is a typical Tuscan dish from Florence. It is based on very simple ingredients and despite of its name, (uccelletto in Italian means little bird) you will not find meat in it.
Start cooking with the usual soaking and cooking of the beans: put them in a pot (made of terracotta if possible) and cook them in plenty of water, until they will be tender.
Once the beans are ready, brown them (again in a terracotta pot) with some oil, garlic and sage; add 200 gr of peeled tomatoes and cook it all until the sauce becomes dense.
Finally add the Beans, season with salt and pepper and keep cooking for an extra 15 minutes. Serve them as hot as possible.

Exploring Tuscany With a Personal Tourist Guide

If you are are looking to visit Tuscany or any other area in Italy with an experienced local guide please keep reading below. This can truly enhance your vacations! 

This tour is guided by: Massimo

I started working as a tour guide in Tuscany in 1987, when I was 23. I’m now almost 51. I started with German guests. As a tour guide I travelled almost everywhere through Europe (France, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece) and also to Canada (Ontario and Québec) and to New York. In 2002 I specialized as a licensed tour guide for Lucca, a medieval town in Tuscany. I am also a graduated translator and interpreter and I’m about to get my second deegree in Mediator in Foreign Languages and Cultures’ at the University of Siena. I speak fluently following languages, beside Italian as a mother tongue: German, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese. I speak also Swedish at a A2 level and I’m dealing also with Russian (A1 level) and Chinese at the moment!

Meeting the clients.

I will meet my guests either in Montecatini Terme, a very well-known spa resort in northern Tuscany, where I am at home, or in other towns like Florence, Siena, Pisa, Arezzo, etc. but also outside my region, all over Italy, and show them the beauties of my country.

In which area in Tuscany are you specialised?

I’m of course specialized for Tuscany (my ‘highlights’ are Lucca, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Pistoia and Arezzo), but I can also guide my guests through other regions like Lombardy (Milan, etc.), Emilia Romagna (Bologna, etc.), Umbria (Assisi, etc.). We will do a guided tour in town, where we can organize a lunch break in a typical restaurant, then also hire a car or minivan to travel through the countryside and see something else of our marvellous landscape.

What the clients can see? 

We can also visit some typical farms producing wine and olive oil, cheese, ham and other alimentary products, we can also taste and do shopping in town or in wholesale factories where they produce and sell typical handmade products such as leather shoes, bags, marble or alabaster souvenirs, etc. It will last up to about 8 hours with some breaks for a coffee or so.

The costs of my tours depend on how we will organize them, i.e. if I have to move to my guests hotel/house and live there with them for the whole period or just meet them each morning at their premises.

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Explore Tuscany with Private guide Massimo

 

Villa Holidays In the Heart of Tuscany

Amazing Tuscan Villa Stay with wine and food experience.

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The Soleado holidays home is situated on a beautiful hill resort in Pillo, in the municipality of Gambassi Terme. The Pillo village was founded thanks to the Old Via Francigena that crossed it and which even today numerous pilgrims still follow its historic route on foot. It is a pretty village set among the hills of the Chianti region from where you can easily reach the art cities and medieval villages.

Therefore, Soleado is located in the heart of Tuscany, a few kilometers from the most important historic-cultural city as Florence, Pisa, Siena and San Gimignano; set among hills and the most important historical tracks, it offers the opportunity to enjoy pleasant days between history and nature at the same time.

Soleado is not only that!

The enogastronomic experience that awaits you will be unique! You really have to try flavors and smells of the Tuscan tradition through itineraries in old cellars and real winemakers ready to accompany you in this unforgettable experience. Nearby the Villa you can find “Villa Pillo”, a traditional Tuscan Farm located in the heart of the Chianti area. Because of a strong focus on quality in both the vineyard and winery, Villa Pillo is fast becoming a point of reference in the Tuscan wine world.
Furthermore, they will be right the owners of the villa that on your arrival will recommend places where you can taste traditional Tuscan food or just where you can buy excellent fresh bread every day.

Why stay here?

The Soleado holiday home is thus the ideal place to spend your vacation in perfect harmony between relaxation and the desire to discover Tuscany’s artistic, landscape and food and wine attractions.

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Food Lovers Tour in Florence

Florence does not only offers art, culture and architecture but as in any other Italian city it offers a vast array of foods and wines. This tour offers a possibly to explore gelato, espresso, chanti wine, and a visit to the central food market in the city. Not to be missed by any food lover!

Tour Guide: Juliane

I am German, 49 years old, deeply in love with Italy. I lived in Florence for 30 years and I am an Art History major, with 24 years experience as guide and tour manager.

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Florence market food and wine tour – source

 Customized private tour, not more than 8 participants.

Central Food Market Hall of Florence, visit and tastings:
Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Truffles, Tuscan Specialities.
Walking tour along all the most important monuments: Duomo, Signoria Square, Ponte Vecchio. Stops for more tastings: gelato, lesson on Italian Coffee, Wine, Prosecco or Grappa, street food such as tripe and good Italian Panini.

Possibility to include the David of Michelangelo.

Duration: about 4 hrs

Meeting point: Pick up in your hotel, or at the Bell Tower of the Duomo.
Entrance fee for the Accademia Museum (David): 16,00 E. per person

Walking Tour of Pistoia

Michela: authorised guide of Pistoia and Florence since 1992

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Guided tour with a licensed guide in Pistoia – source

 

Proposed itinerary:

Walking tour through the medieval paved street of Pistoia a little fascinating city in the heart of Tuscany.
We start from the church of San Andrea with the fabulous pulpit by Giovanni Pisano, after that we walk to see the Robbiane, marvellous decorations of the Old Hospital of Il Ceppo, and we continue up to the main Duomo Square, civic and religious centre of the city. Inside the Cathedral we will admire the silver altar dedicated to Saint James, famous patron of Pistoia .
The tour will finish in the lively Piazza Sala with typocal restaurant and wine bars , meeting place of local young people where you can taste good local good and wine.

Florence to Cinque Terre: an Easy Day Tour by Car

Tourists who visit Florence often use the chance to stop by proximate towns and villages renowned for their cultural value. Day tripping from Florence to Cinque Terre, which is located high on the Italian Riviera, is a popular route for those wishing to appreciate the scenery, exclusive architecture and historic background of the Five Lands.
The journey from the capital of Tuscany to Cinque Terre should take about three hours if made by train. On the way, it is possible to stop by two other locations: San Miniato – a notable commune in the Pisa province and Siena – an ancient Tuscan city rich with art and cultural traditions.

The Cinque Terre – five lands on top of the Italian Riviera

The five Mediterranean villages – Manarola, Corniglia, Monterosso, Vernazza and Riomaggiore – rest on a pebbly coastline characterized by steep ground. Unique views of the stone-wall network – an admirable result of concentrated human work, alongside with the surrounding natural abundance make the main attraction of the area. Aspired for its splendor setting, Cinque Terre presents a rare combination of wildlife and antique buildings with grape terraces. Sloppy terrain, fishermen boats, local wine and salted anchovies all contribute to the memorable atmosphere. Each village has its special point of interest – Maranola, for example, being the oldest of the five villages, is distinctive with the biggest lighted nativity in the world activated during the months of December and January.

view from San Miniato Florence
Florence from Abbazia di San Miniato al Monte

 

San Miniato: between Pisa and Florence

Located in the Arno River valley San Miniato is famous for its ancient fortresses and cathedrals as well as modern cultural entertainments. One of the most prominent events is the annual White Truffle Festival taking part in late October and November during the season of these exquisite delicacies. For gourmet fans, wine-tasting and truffle-hunting guided tours followed by meals are excellent opportunities to enjoy real-time experience and acquire knowledge about the local traditional cuisine.
Besides culinary attractions, social venues and cultural heritage can be found around the city as well. For example, Prato del Duomo is an upraised square enclosed by impressive buildings, such as the Bishop’s palace or Palazzo dei Vicari and the Cathedral. Bordering the Cathedral is the Diocesan Museum which offers a collection of artworks demonstrated in chronological order and accompanied by annotations. The famous Tower of Frederick II named after the Emperor is another worthy location offering an outstanding bird’s-eye view from its top, which covers the entire Arno River Valley and its surroundings.

Siena – the medieval city of Tuscany

Valued for its historical center, the capital city of the province of Siena is abundant with prestigious buildings dating back to the Middle Ages. Piazza del Campo – the shell-shaped main town square, recognized for its exquisite beauty comprises two main constructions: the Mangia Tower and the Palazzo Pubblico. To get a sense of Siena air, visitors can explore both buildings with an all-inclusive ticket which permits access to the Civic Museum and the Mangia Tower with its stunning panoramic scenery.
For those seeking family-friendly outdoor attractions combined with dining, the Orto de ‘Pecci restaurant would be a favorable choice. Encircled by vast greenery and speckled by fruit trees, completed by an orchard and a small animal farm, this nature site makes a perfect setting for a peaceful lunch break. If you are looking for a tourist guide in Siena also check this page.

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Visitors arrive in Maranola, which is the first of the five Terre, may later continue to the other villages by foot, car or train. For tourists without a vehicle and those who do not wish to use public transportation private chauffeured tours can be organised by Emilia Delizia.

Who is Dario Cecchini? The Butcher of Panzano in Chianti

Are you visiting Tuscany any time soon? If yes, watching a butcher at work may not be at the top of your itinerary but we recommend that you take the chance anyway. Dario Cecchini is not just the most famous butcher in Tuscany. He has been referred to as the world’s greatest butcher and it’s easy to see why when you watch him at work with his various knives and cleavers. He practically transforms the act of butchering into an art. He has been known to attract such personalities as Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen and other such greats. People travel from near and far to watch him in small shop. With only 2 rooms in his shop, you will be lucky to get a spot.

Oh Dario!
Dario the Butcher seem to be very popular – source

His butchery is typical of any Italian butcher only better. All around, on counters, there are different cuts of meat that have been prepared in different ways depending on how they are supposed to be cooked. You will see seasoned meatballs, stuffed pork loin and many more. Dario doesn’t stop there. He ensures that every visitor who goes to see him gets a taste of some meat and some red wine. As you watch him preparing different meats, his small staff walks around handing everyone something to eat and drink.

Dario didn’t get started as a butcher. It runs in his family, with 6 generations before him making a living from this humble trade. He intended to become a vet and even went to veterinarian school to learn the skills of the trade. Life had other plans for him though and they were to transform his life forever. His father, who was a butcher, died suddenly and Dario had to step in and take over the business so as to be able to continue to provide his family with a livelihood. He did prove that he had a knack dealing with meat but vet studies didn’t go to waste. To this day, he ensures humane treatment of animals before they are killed and butchered.

So what makes him so different from other butchers? This famous butcher from Panzano in Chianti sets himself apart through his personality. He is open and welcoming and don’t be surprised if you walk into his shop and he stops what he is doing, cleans himself up and comes out from behind the counter to envelop you in a giant hug. At the same time, he can sometimes be heard reciting lines from Dante’s Inferno as he works. He enriches the lives of those around him with some kind of happy magic that comes from within.

Business has been good. From the 2 room butcher shop, he was able to open an art gallery next door, a Solociccia restaurant across the street. He has also utilized the top and the back of his shop to open 2 restaurants in one. During the day, you can enjoy a juicy MacDArio and if you come back in the night you will find Officina della Bistecca which can only be described as a carnivore’s haven and before each night starts, you will hear Dario shout a poignant question: to beef or not to beef? That is the question.

The Chianti area is also renowned for its wine, you can easily tour wineries with your own car or by a chauffeured mini van if you are travelling with your family or a group.