The Chianti region is made up of an extensive hilly area located in the centre of Tuscany, between the major cities of Florence and Siena, bordered on the east by the Chianti mountains and to the west by the Elsa river. One of the most famous wine regions in Italy, the landscape of the Chianti is characterised by a continuous alternation between gentle rolling hills covered in vines and olive trees, and verdant valleys. Within the Chianti region there are numerous ancient hamlets, churches and abbeys, castles and fortresses, farmhouses and villas.
Inhabited since ancient times by the Etruscans, the area was also controlled by the Romans prior to Medieval times when it was the scene of heavy fighting between the rival cities of Florence & Siena. The Chianti wine region consists of eight municipalities: San Casciano Val di Pesa, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, Barberino Val d'Elsa, and Greve in Chianti which all are located in the Province of Florence. While the other municipalities of Castellina in Chianti, Radda in Chianti, Gaiole in Chianti and Castelnuovo Berardenga rest in the province of Siena .
The territory of these eight municipalities more or less covers the production area for the Chianti Classico which was created by ministerial decree back in 1932. The bottles of this prestigious wine region are distinguished by the ever-present trademark of the black rooster which in ancient times was the military symbol of the Chianti League.
The Chianti wine region boasts delightful vistas framing the vine covered rolling hills and ever present cypresses, along with an unhurried pace of life and picturesque villages, and a balmy climate. It's no surprise that many northern European citizens have relocated to this part of Italy. Enchanting village and small towns await the visitor, where you can sojourn at a pleasant cafe or wine bar and watch the world go by.
Avventure Bellissime offers two wine tours of the Chianti wine region departing from Florence:
Small Group Day Tours of the Chianti - feature wine tastings and tours at two celebrated wineries in the Chianti, & enchanting hill towns off-the beaten-track
Small Group Half-Day Tours of the Chianti - departing Florence in the afternoon, visiting a celebrated winery in the Chianti and visiting enchanting hill towns
The principal towns of the Chianti are Greve in Chianti, Radda in Chianti and Castellina in Chianti. Greve in Chianti is the unofficial capital of the region that boasts a friendly market town atmosphere with its attractive arcaded Piazza Matteotti and the church of St. Croce. While Radda in Chianti is a typical Tuscan Hill Town that invites you to stroll through its steep streets and to follow the old medieval road that circles the village within the walls of the town. Castellina in Chianti sits on ridge that enjoys splendid views in all directions. The defiant 15th century medieval walls and fortified town give an indication of the violent past of this area during the wars between Florence and Siena.
Driving from either Siena or Florence, follow the S222, known as the Strada Chiantigiana which runs through the heart of the Chianti region. The most scenic route of the road is the section leading through to Greve in Chianti where travellers can relax in the main square to enjoy a wine tasting at one of the many Enoteca's found in the arcades that surround the main piazza.