This post is also available in: French
The Chianti is a wine growing region in Italy, between Sienne and Florence. It’s the perfect destination for a roadtrip, where you can stop wherever you like. The picturesque landscapes are so worth it. Winding roads are pleasant to drive on, the vineyards are splendid to visit and each will have its own history to tell. Regarding the Chianti villages, each new village will be prettier than the previous one. They will all enchant you in their own way.
Below is the route we have taken, and the villages we have visited :
Today, I’m showing you around two new villages on the Wine route. Two charming villages, with stone houses, flowery windows and valleys surrounded by vineyards.
You have to leave the main road and drive further into the countryside to reach Volpaia. I think few people visit Volpaia. It’s not part of the common tourist path, you have to make a detour. I guess people prefer to stay on the main road and visit only villages that are on their way. I think that’s a mistake and I’m going to show you why.
In Volpaia, you can do a Chianti wine tasting almost as a private tour (so few people), in the cellar of this estate, with this outstanding stone tower. You can also buy other local products (honey, olive oil). Their small boutique is so cute and the surrounding environment is absolutely stunning.
In this village, everything is made of old stones. Restaurants look like churches, boutiques look like castles and houses resemble small hobbit huts, it’s so pretty. I really felt Volpaia was a haven of peace. But remember that you are in the Chianti, so drink, taste and enjoy this region.
Radda in Chianti
Next we headed to Radda in Chianti where we decided to spend the evening. We wandered around the medieval streets and got to admire its nice architecture.
Another village that we really liked, full of authenticity where inhabitants don’t have to put up with all the tourists. At least that’s what it was like in April. Although, I have a feeling, it gets quite tourity in the summer. What make me say that: there are a lot of luxury hotels with a spa center, lots of tourist souvenir shops, many signs showing A’s vineyard, B’s restaurant and C’s enoteca… What I mean to say here is that they tell you what you should do.
It’s not that bad sometimes. Thanks to that, we found the camino medievale, or something like that, which we didn’t know existed. We visited the town via its streets, visible by anyone but we also crossed the town via the underground pathways. We walked past restaurants’ courtyards, shops’ backroom… It’s like seeing the town from another point of view. It was a nice activity to do and it’s free.
You will find a lot of luxury restaurants in this village. The menus are visible outside and no dish were over 14€ so it’s more than reasonable. I think Radda in Chianti is a good place for a restaurant with your lover. Here you have a large choice of restaurants so you will definitely find one that suits both of you.
On our side, we chose a fancy restaurant that was owned by a couple. They really played the top-notch card at La Botte di Bacco. Prices were fairly affordable (10€ for a dish) but service, the location, the wines and the quantity in the plates proved to be on the fancy side. The bad side: we found the waitress (the chef’s wife) over present, always coming to us, asking questions… All the breads and pastas were home-made by the chef, it was indeed very good.
Another piece of advice to live your Chianti experience to the maximum: in touristic places, there are a lot of tourist souvenir shops selling pasta, spices, olive oil, Limoncello… Those ingredients are priced awfully high, it’s a rip-off. We prefered to enter in a local superette where elderly inhabitants buy their vegetables and cured meats. Here, we bought big Italian pastas and pesto sauce, locally made. The pesto cost us the same price as in our French supermarket except that this one was not made on a production line in industrial quantities and it had savor. Concerning pastas, it’s staple, therefore it costs peanuts. So do yourself a favour, don’t buy your souvenir food in tourist traps. A small bottle of olive oil will cost you 8€ when it’s really worth 3.50€.
That’s the end of my adventures in the Chianti region. If you visit Florence and Sienne, you must visit this region. You just have to get out of the highway and use the countryside roads. It’s so beautiful. Even if you are travelling with your family and kids, do not deny yourself of a wine tasting. Many cellars plan for this and offer special activities and a special menu for children (with local fruit nectar). You see, there are no reasons for not going.
Have you visited or want to visit the Chianti region ? Do you have an awesome find in Tuscany that you would like to share (a vineyard with a wine to die for or a breath-taking little village lost in the middle of nowhere) ?