Chianti, Italy

The most popular tourist destination in the region, the Chianti area lies just south of Florence, Italy and draws visitors from around the world, not only for the beauty of the landscape and the medieval architecture but the famous wines produced by the local vineyards. Although the area known as Chianti is loosely defined, it can be thought of as the easternmost part of Tuscany, bordered by Florence to the north and the city of Siena to the south.

The Geography Of Chianti
This region is comprised mostly of gently rolling hills, the many wine vineyards and olive groves. A photographer’s dream, the area draws many visitors simply because of the peaceful nature of the landscape, which is dotted with many small villages comprised of stone houses, churches and historic fortresses. The climate is very mild, with no extended rainy period and little variance in temperature from one season to the next. The area is easily reached by automobile from downtown Florence, and visitors will find numerous byways that branch off from the Superstrada highway and enter the very heart of the Chianti region.

Vineyard in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyThe only difficulty for visitors traveling by car is the decisions to make regarding what villages and landmarks to reach on a day trip. There are a myriad of smaller country roads traversing the area and it is best to take an updated guide book along on the trip. Most of the villages and wine vineyards are clearly marked and planning ahead will save time when multiple destinations are visited.

The Famous Chianti Wine
The village of Greve is one of the more popular stops for tourists on day trips from Florence. Here can be found a number of restaurants and smaller pubs offering all the best known wines produced in the region. The Wine Museum is also located here and is worth at least two hours for visitors. Near the town is the famous Castello di Verrazzano, birthplace of the famous explorer who discovered New York Harbor. Here organizers offer visitors free wine tastings of the famous Chianti Classico and conduct guided tours of the Castello itself.

Panzano, another village in the Chianti area is famous for its local wine brands and also the popular Florentine steak. Just two kilometers outside of town is the Panzanello estate, which is a must stop for wine tasters. The remarkable cellars are accessible to tourists daily and there are a number of appetizers available at the estate to complement each one of the brands.

Guided Tours From Florence
There are numerous bus tours leaving downtown Florence daily and traverse the Chianti region. Most of these include a stop at multiple wineries but also take visitors to the nearby farmhouses and villas where there is ample time to rest, take pictures or video, and visit the local shops in the towns. Each village has its own unique personality and including several of them in the itinerary is not difficult. Of greatest interest to visitors are the towns of Castellina, Gaiole, Greve and Radda.

The region can also be reached by public bus service from Florence using the SITA line, by trains departing from both Florence and Siena, and by rental car. There are many rental car agencies in Florence and most can be contacted with help from hotel front desk personnel.


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