Stretched between Florence and Siena, in the heart of Tuscany, Chianti is one of the most romantic regions of Italy, famous worldwide for its wines. The region boasts splendid countryside landscapes, with houses with terracotta rooftops, endless vineyards, sunlit hills and winding roads. And among all these treasures, you’ll be surprised to discover how many attractions Chianti still hides.
So here are a few tips of what to do in the Chianti region during your getaway.
1. Taste the Wine
Antinori family is a wine producer since 1300, and inside its modern wine producing facility, the family organizes short tours to show visitors the art of winemaking. After visiting the production facility, the tour continues in the basement, where you will be able to taste the delicious liquor. Here you will also be able to visit a small museum dedicated to wine, where are exhibited various artefacts, including an ancient wooden press designed by Leonardo da Vinci.
2. Discover the Secret of Panzano
You wouldn’t expect to find in a small settlement, perched on a hill in almost the middle of nowhere, the newest concepts when it comes to fashion and design but in the small store Verso x Verso located in Panzano you will. The store is specialized in producing leather clothing and shoes, and the best thing is that you can personalize the items you’re interested in according to your wish. After you choose the favorite item and place the order, take a walk on the beautiful cobblestoned alleys of this medieval town and admire a unique sunset until the order is processed.
3. Explore a Local Market
Greve is the main city in the Chianti region and host a traditional market every Saturday. In Piazza Matteotti, the main square of the city, you will have the chance to roam the stands surrounding the monument of Giovanni da Verrazzano, whose former property is located nearby. The vendors sell craft objects and local goodies. In this area, don’t miss the shop La Bottega dell'Artigianato where you can find beautiful wooden crafted items, and the Antica Macelleria Falorni, a butcher shop where are sold traditional salami since the 18th century.
4. Learn the Local History
To find out more about the history of the vineyards of Chianti, pay a visit to the Museo del Vino, where most of the exhibits await you in the former cellars of the location. The collection includes manual wine presses, rudimentary bottling devices, and other old tools specific for a vineyard.
5. Admire the Contemporary Art
Another well-kept secret of Chianti lies at the end of a dusty country road, in the small hamlet of Castello di Ama, a very tiny settlement with a population of… four people. A place where you would never expect to find a contemporary art museum. Still, the few buildings of this charming “town” make up the winery of Castello di Ama, a wonderful place where are housed interesting collections and permanent unique exhibitions. Besides, you’ll also have the chance to taste the local olive oil. What else could you ask for?
6. Handcrafted Delights
Castellina is a fascinating medieval town where is located L'Antica Delizia, an ice cream shop that proposes a multitude of flavours such as ricotta and pear or ginger and dark chocolate, to name just a few. Nearby can be found the art store of Lucia Volentieri, a Tuscan artist whose works include iron sculptures, delicate watercolor paintings, and beautiful ceramics.
7. Search the Buried Treasure
In the centre of Castellina is located an impressive rock fortress, with a tall tower built in the Middle Ages. Currently, the structure houses the archaeological museum Chianti Senese, which exhibits ancient artefacts discovered during excavations in the area, including many from Etruscan settlements discovered more than a century ago. It is also said that a treasure is buried underneath the fortress, maybe you’ll be lucky enough to find it.
8. Chianti Sculpture Park
At half-hour drive from Castellina is located Chianti Sculpture Park, hidden among the bucolic hills covered by vineyards and olive groves, in a place where magnificent views unfold before your eyes at every curve of the road.
But prepare to be amazed by what you will find in the 7 hectares of the park. You only have to follow the signed path passing through the forest and admire the 20 bizarre sculptures placed along the path, made in a variety of materials and styles. Along the way, you will pass through a natural size labyrinth made of glass cubes and under a bridge made of bright blue tiles, while admiring the enchanting Siena in the background.
As you can see, there are many hidden treasures in Chianti, all you have to do is explore the region and find them all. Bon voyage!