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An excursion through Chianti by horse & wagon

a horse and carriage outing in Tuscany

A great activity for kids during your visit to Tuscany One of the best ways to really enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Tuscan countryside is to go on a horse and wagon outing among the vineyards, olive groves, villas and castles of Chianti, the great wine producing area of Tuscany. I recommend this […]

Accommodations in Tuscany with whirlpool (Jacuzzi), Turkish bath (hammam) and gym.

Vitigliano pool and daybeds

Are you looking for accommodations in Tuscany with whirlpool (Jacuzzi), Turkish bath (hammam) and gym? For a complete wellness experience in a luxurious setting with magnificent views in every direction? Then I can strongly recommend Vitigliano Relias and Spa, located in the centre of Chianti, Tuscany, between Panzano and Greve. This beautiful and exclusive private […]

Best place to stay in the Chianti region

best place to stay in Chianti

Many visitors to Tuscany settle on the Chianti region between Florence and Siena as a place to stay, in part because of its central location which makes it a good base for their vacation in Tuscany, with plenty of options for exploring other parts of Tuscany in all directions. The beautiful countryside and, of the […]

Chianti Classico – the wine of the historical Chianti area of Tuscany

Chianti Classico

The expression Chianti Classico is reserved for wines produced in a roughly oval-shaped area of mostly hilly country located between Florence and Sienna in Tuscany, Italy. To be designated Chianti Classico DOCG, the wines must be produced from sangiovese grapes at wineries within the area and within a specified range of altitudes. The Chianti Classico […]

Owner direct vacation rentals in Tuscany

Owner direct vacation rental in Tuscany

Renting your holiday accommodation directly from the owner For many, probably most, visitors, I recommend owner direct vacation rentals in Tuscany. The reasons for renting from the owners directly are as follows: When you talk to a vacation rental owner by phone or exchange emails, you can easily gain an accurate impression of both the […]

Volterra, Italy, a charming mediaeval Tuscan hilltop town

Church of San Giusto in Volterra

Volterra is a charming Tuscan hill town that was “discovered” by a popular author of travel guides a few years back and more recently became the setting for a series of vampire movies. Despite the consequent upsurge in tourism, Volterra is still a “must visit” for anyone interested in Tuscan life, art and history. Volterra […]

Luxury villa vacation rentals in the Roman Campagna near Rome and Tivioli.

Vacation villa to rent near Rome

“Villa Matassi” – Roman holiday villaVilla Matassi is a luxurious 18 C country house located 10 km from Tivoli and an hour from the nearest Rome metro station. Ciampino airport is 40 km away. The villa accommodates 8 persons and is situated in walled grounds decorated with Roman antiquities. There is a large swimming pool […]

Val di Greve – the valley of the river Greve in central Tuscany

Greve in Chianti on the flood plain of the Greve river

The Greve river (fiume Greve), 43 km in length and among the best known rivers of Tuscany, arises on the hill known as Querciabella, in the Chianti hills just below Lamole, where it is fed by the springs of Fonte di Poggio alle Coste and Fonte del Topo. It flows rapidly down through the forested […]

How to enjoy a vacation in the Chianti countryside and still easily visit Florence

Visit Florence from Chianti

Lots of visitors to Tuscany would like to be able to visit the great art cities, especially Florence, but would prefer not to stay there, especially during the hot and crowded summer months. Many also do not wish to drive in Florence because of the limited traffic zones, bus lanes and other tiresome traffic issues. […]

Villas, farmhouses, vineyards, apartments and other properties for sale in Chianti, Italy

Real estate for sale in Chianti

Currently there are excellent properties for sale at reasonable prices in the Chianti area of Tuscany, Italy. These range from villas (true Tuscan villas as opposed to simply stand-alone houses – bear this difference in meaning in mind when house-hunting), converted farmhouses (case coloniche), and town and rural apartments, as well as full-fledged wineries and […]

Autodromo Vallelunga Superbike and Formula One Racing Circuits

Vallelunga Formula One Speedway Track

Autodromo di Vallelunga Racing Circuit Vallelunga Superbike and Car Racing Circuit is located in the country near Rome, Italy. Note that public transport to the track is essentially non-existent so you should try to be in the area with a car the day before the event you plan to attend. Aside from events at the […]

Recommended vacation rental agencies for your holiday in the Chianti wine territory

Tuscany vacation rental agency

While the majority of visitors to Tuscany are enthusiastic to rent directly from the owner of their preferred vacation accommodation, others prefer to work through a vacation rental agency. Unfortunately, many of the large holiday home websites are not really agencies but rather simply listing sites. They do not – and, indeed, for simple practical […]

Catered midday and evening meals at your Chianti vacation accommodations

Panna Cotta for your dinner in Chianti

I’m Elisa Berghi and this is my cooking service where I and, when necessary, my assistant come to your accommodation and prepare a full lunch or evening meal from the ground up using fresh local produce and home-made ingredients. Whenever possible, I use organic produce. I offer a number of traditional and innovative menus but […]

A tour of the Romanesque parish churches (pievi) of Chianti, Italy

San Polo in Rosso

Chianti, the picturesque wine region that extends between Florence and Siena, is known worldwide for its unique landscape – hills dotted with castles, villas and farm houses, and vast expanses of vineyards and olive groves, the source of Chianti Classico wine and Chianti extravergine olive oil, interspersed with rows of cypress trees. The territory also […]

The pleasures of outdoor dining in Chianti

Dining outdoors in Chianti

The combination of love of family life, a pleasant climate and a passion for food makes dining in the open air extremely popular in Chianti, as throughout Tuscany. The chance to experience the pleasures of outdoor dining in Chianti is one of many reasons to think about spending at least part of your vacation in […]

Airport, railway station and cruise ship port transfers in Tuscany

Tuscany transfers tours shore excursions

Sunflower Tours specialised in tours and transfers directly from Livorno cruise shipsGiovanni Sirabella is a licensed, English-speaking tour guide / driver who is familiar with a great many of the most interesting vineyards and wine-producing estates in Chianti and other parts of Tuscany. He has several itineraries ready for you, and of course will design […]

The Etruscans – who were they and where did they come from?

Etruscan

The origins of the Etruscans – indeed almost everything about them – remains mysterious. It is even unclear when they first arrived in the Italian peninsula and whether an entire people migrated or only what became a ruling caste. Recent genetic studies of both Etruscan human remains and local oxen provides evidence that a connection […]

Villas and villa vacation apartments and hotels in the Chianti Classico wine territory

Villa to rent in Chianti

The term “villa” is used fairly loosely in the Tuscany tourism sector. In fact a true Tuscan villa is a very large house, usually the headquarters of a farm with multiple dependencies, often somewhat Georgian in layout and appearance, characterised by high ceilings, grand staircases etc. There are also of course a very few and […]

Best location for a base in Tuscany

Best base in Tuscany

Finding the best place to base yourselves for your vacation in Tuscany can play a big role in just how much you enjoy yourself while you’re here. I always recommend keeping the number of places you stay to a minimum. There are interrelated two reasons for choosing just one or two bases for your visit […]

The gods, goddesses and mythology of the Etruscans

Etruscan musician

Many of the names listed here are Etruscan spellings (and pronunciations) of Greek and native Italic names, but some names are entirely Etruscan. Achlae: Greek river god, Achelous Achle, Achile: from the Greek Achilles, hero of the Trojan War Achmemrun: from the Greek Agamemnon, king of Mycenaean Greece Achrum, Acharum: from Acheron, the Greek river […]

The village of Il Ferrone, a major terracotta manufacturing area in Chianti

antique terracotta olive oil jars

Il Ferrone is a village in Chianti on one of the two popular routes from Florence to Greve in Chianti, and is a major centre of terracotta manufacturing in Italy. Indeed, Ferrone, as it is commonly known, is famous world-wide for a huge range of terracotta production, ranging from pots and art works that are […]

Funghi porcini chiantigiani – collecting and eating porcini

porcini mushrooms

Funghi porcini, commonly referred to simply as “porcini” (“piglets”, probably based on their appearance; singular “porcino”) are large, edible mushrooms of the species Boletus edulis. English speakers often refer to them as “porcini mushrooms“. Common names for Boletus edulis vary by region. The word “porcino” is Tuscan and hence standard Italian, and reflects the latin […]

Florentine grilled steak – how to prepare it, how to eat it

Bistecca all Fiorentina

Not all tourists realise that grilled steak is very popular in Tuscany and, under names such as carne alla brace or carne alla griglia, no doubt has been, in one form or another, since time immemorial. One of the most traditional grilled steaks in Tuscany is the tagliata Toscana which is basically a simple grilled […]

The hamlet of Lucolena in Chianti

Lucolena in Chianti

Lucolena in Chianti is a tranquil village surrounded in part by forest. Officially it is actually located in the Upper Val d’Arno because it’s on the eastern side of the Chianti hills, but its cultural connections are with Chianti. The area was settled in very early times, based on the archaeological finds nearby. There are […]

Tavarnuzze, a Chianti town on the outskirts of Florence

American World War II cemetery Florence

Tavarnuzze is a smallish town within the county of Impruneta. The Greve river flows through it. The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site is located near Tavarnuzze and can be reached by SITA bus from Florence. The site covers 70 acres and is open to the public daily from 9 am to 5 pm, except Christmas Day […]

The town of Strada in Chianti near Florence

Strada in Chianti Tuscany Italy

Strada in Chianti is a township on the Via Chiantigiana quite near Florence and on the turnoff for Impruneta. It’s quite a good base for those who plan to visit Florence often but who wish to spend their vacation in the country. Florence is easily accessibly from Strada by bus or car (20 km, less […]

The hamlet of Lucarelli in Chianti

Lucarelli in Chianti, Tuscany

Lucarelli is a hamlet of just a few houses, a church, a restaurant and a trattoria, located on the road running from the Via Chiantigiana between Panzano and Castellina, towards Radda in Chianti. The Pieve di San Giusto in Salcio has been mentioned numerous times since the 11 C in the papers of the Abbey […]

The village of Chiocchio on the road between Florence and Greve in Chianti

The vineyards of Chiocchio in Chianti, Tuscany

Chiocchio is useful as a base for exploring the parts of Chianti near Florence and for those who want to stay in the country while being able to visit Florence easily. Chiocchio has an ARCI Circolo for coffee and sandwiches and there is also a quite good restaurant here. This is also a good place […]

The historical village of Sambuca in Val di Pesa, Tuscany

Sambuca Val di Pesa Chianti Tuscany

The small town of Sambuca in Val di Pesa is documented from 1053, but due to bombing during WW II is now mostly modern and forms a centre of light industry. However, the ancient bridge and some nearby mediaeval buildings are still extant and worth noting as you pass through the area. More about Sambuca […]

The village of Tavarnelle in Val di Pesa and its surroundings in Tuscany, Italy

The parish church (pieve) of San Pietro in Bossolo near Tavarnelle

Tavarnelle is mostly modern architecturally but is the location of the Church of Santa Lucia al Borghetto, the most interesting architectural sight within Tavarnelle itself, being a rare example of Tuscan Gothic architecture. In the environs of Tavarnelle, the highly attractive Romanesque parish church of San Pietro in Bossolo contains interesting works of art and […]

San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tuscany, Italy

San Casciano in Val di Pesa

San Casciano is a small town and also a county on the north-western border of the Chianti Classico area of Tuscany. It can be reached by bus from central Florence in half an hour. Its full name is San Casciano in Val di Pesa, indicating that it is located near the valley of the Pesa […]

The history of Chianti from the Etruscans to Chianti Classico

Historical Greve in Chianti

Chianti from the Etruscans, Romans and Lombards through mediaeval times to the conflict between Florence and Siena, the mezzadria and modern Chianti The Chianti hills have been inhabited for millennia, making the history of Chianti rich and varied. The mild and healthy climate, the forest abounding in game and the fertile soil have attracted the […]

What to see when you visit the charming town of San Quirico Val d’Orcia

San Quirico Val d'Orcia Tuscany Italy

San Quirico Val d’Orcia is a town of great charm that is often overlooked by visitors to the Val d’Orcia. San Quirico is of Etruscan origin and its present appearance, with its almost intact walls incorporating fourteen towers, dates mainly from mediaeval times when it was an important stop on the Via Francigena pilgrimage and […]

The hilltop hamlet of Lamole in Chianti in central Tuscany

Lamole in Chianti

The hamlet of Lamole, famous for its Chianti Classico wines, is situated high up in the Chianti hills near Greve in Chianti and Panzano in Chianti. Lamole is a popular vacation location on account of its fabulous views and its temperate summer weather. The one and only restaurant in Lamole, Ristoro di Lamole, is a […]

Sights and history of Pienza in the Val d’Orcia of Tuscany, Italy

Pienza in the Val d'Orcia of Tuscany, Italy

A visit to Pienza provides unalloyed pleasure to anyone who enjoys Renaissance architecture, italianate gardens, Tuscan food – particularly pecorino – and splendid vistas. Pienza shares the unspoiled Val d’Orcia with Montalcino, Montepulciano and San Quirico and owes its wonderfully harmonious town plan to Rossellino (probably working under strong influence of Leon Battista Alberti), thanks […]

Private wine tasting and winery tours in Chianti and Tuscany

wine tasting tours

“Degustazione” – wine tasting – is the word to watch for on the winery signposts along the various wine routes in Chianti and Tuscany. This means that you can taste the wine produced at that vineyard and if you like it you can buy a few bottles. You might also want to keep your eyes […]

Improve your Italian with lessons from a professional Italian language teacher in Tuscany during your vacation.

Italian lessons in Tuscany

Why not learn some Italian or improve your Italian skills during your holiday in Tuscany? Italian lessons in Italy Lorella Federico offers Italian lessons at all levels for individuals and small groups visiting Chianti. Lorella, who is a professionally trained Italian language teacher, lives in Panzano in Chianti. You can attend lessons at her location […]

Italianate gardens of the villas of Tuscany

Tuscan garden of Villa Gamberaia

The formal gardens of Tuscany have been an integral part of the villas of Tuscany since Renaissance times when they first made their appearance as conscious attempts to create for wealthy and influential Florentines the ideal place for humanist debate, based upon ancient Roman ideals. After a period of landscape design in the English style […]

How to enjoy a vacation in Chianti and Tuscany
without a car

Chianti without a car

As a visitor to Tuscany you might have any of several reasons to not want to hire your own car to explore the province – you might not have a driving licence, you might be apprehensive about facing traffic in unfamiliar surroundings, you might want to be without a car on a single day when […]

Self-catering holiday apartments and B&B rooms in the Chianti Classico wine zone

Chianti farm house for 2, 6 or 8 persons near Greve in Chianti, Tuscany

Anyone visiting Tuscany and especially Chianti for more than two or three days should very seriously consider the option of staying in the country or in a village rather than in a hotel in town. You have a choice among self-catering villas, a farm houses (casa colonica), a part of a farm house (a self-catering […]

Tuscan wines, Chianti Classico wines, “Super Tuscans”, Brunello, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano

chianti grapes

Tuscan wines, particularly Tuscan red wines, have improved out of all recognition during the course of the past 45 years. This generalisation applies almost universally throughout the Region of Tuscany to the extent that one no longer has to search for a good wine but rather for either an outstanding wine and/or a wine that […]

Abbeys, basilicas, monasteries, hermitages and parish churches of Tuscany

Abbazia di Sant'Antimo

The Abbeys, Basilicas and Monasteries of the Tuscan countryside and villages are sometimes overlooked as we enthusiastically feast on the masterpieces in the churches of Florence, Sienna and the other “art” cities of Tuscany. In fact there are abbeys (abbazie), basilicas (basiliche), monasteries (monasteri), hermitages (eremi) and parish churches (pievi) in every corner of Tuscany, […]

The Abbazia (Abbey) of Badia a Passignano in Chianti, Italy.

Abbey of Badia a Passignano

The Badia a Passignano is located on the road running from Greve in Chianti through Montefioralle towards San Donato and Sambuca, and in fact was probably built there because of the importance of this route in mediaeval times. The Abbey is extremely photogenic from almost any angle with its walls and towers emerging from the […]

Greve in Chianti activities, castles and other sights

Piazza Matteotti in Greve in Chianti

The whole area of Chianti around Greve is packed with castles, even more so than other parts of Tuscany, in addition to walled villages such as Montefioralle, Vertine and Volpaia, fortified abbeys and farmhouses that have developed from watch towers. Day excursions taking in several of these sights add enormously to the enjoyment of a […]

Food and wine in Greve in Chianti

porchetta sandwich

Greve in Chianti is the market town of the Chianti Classico wine zone and so, not surprisingly, a great place to buy both wine and typical Chianti food products. Indeed, if you stay at an agriturismo, a working farm and usually a winery, you’ll be able to see wine during its development as well as […]

All about Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

Greve in Chianti is a small and quite charming town located, unusually for a Tuscan village, on the floor of the valley of the Greve stream. It has always been a market place but only in the past few hundred years has it developed as a town. Greve is now probably the most popular centre […]

How to choose vacation accommodations in Chianti, Tuscany

Travel Guide for Visitors to the Chianti Classico Wine Region of Tuscany, Italy

Where shall I stay during my visit to Tuscany? That’s one of the important questions every visitor has to consider, preferably well in advance of the trip. The question actually has three aspects: where shall I base myself in Tuscany, what kind of vacation accommodations do I want, and then which particular establishment? Where shall […]

Castelnuovo Berardenga – villas, gardens and other sights

The Vicolo dell' Arco in Castelnuovo Berardennga

During the days of the Republic of Sienna, the territory or district of Berardenga was the area between the headwaters of the Bozzone torrent and the  Ambra river, and between upper Chianti and the Biena river as far as Taverne d’Arbia. Today, Castelnuovo Berardenga marks the southern limit of the Chianti Classico wine zone and […]

The Chianti town of Barberino Val d’Elsa

Barberino Val d'Elsa

Although is is mentioned in a document dating from 1054, Barberino Val d’Elsa developed as a township in the first decades of the 13 C after the Florentine destruction of the city of Semifonte in 1202. After a long siege, Semifonte was razed to the ground by Florence in 1202, and the Florentines forbade its […]

Tuscan Specialities – fashion, food and wines

Tuscan specialities

Tuscany is famous not only for fine wines and fabulous food, but also for a wide range of artisanal work, especially handmade leather fashionwear and fashion accessories. Top fashion labels are available at the famous discount fashion outlets and throughout Tuscany there are leather workshops, paper makers and binderies, gold workers and jewellers producing extremely […]

The Pleasures of Tuscan Food and Wine

Tuscan food and wine

One of the many pleasures of a visit to this part of the world is the chance to enjoy Tuscan food and wine in its “native environment”. As everyone knows, a Tuscan meal is divided into several classical and invariant stages – antipasti, pasta, primo and secondo piatto, dolce. However, you do not need to […]

Useful Tuscany Tourist Information

Useful tourist information

Visitors to Tuscany are spoiled for choice when it comes to things to see and do in this beautiful region of Italy. And there are a few things to be aware of in terms of having your vacation tarnished. Events in Tuscany – fairs and festivals, large and small, plus costume re-enactments are frequent in […]

Sights of Massa Marittima and the Maremma in Tuscany, Italy

Massa Marittima

Massa Marittima is an under-estimated Tuscan destination: it is what Volterra was five years ago – an “undiscovered” Tuscan hill town full of interest and charm. Massa Marittima was founded by the Etruscans, like many cities in Tuscany, and is located in the Colline Metallifere so that its history is closely linked to the copper […]

Moving around in Chianti – transport tips for your visit to Chianti

Moving around Chianti

Visitors to Tuscany and Chianti in particular have a number of options for getting from one place to another. It’s definitely possible to see a lot of Chianti without having your own car but renting a car provides much easier access to some of the remoter sights. The options for moving around in Chianti are […]

Events, festivals, fairs, exhibitions and historical re-enactments in Tuscany

Events in Tuscany

Tuscany is famous for the number and quality of its festivals and events. Why are they so many and so good? Several reasons. One is that annual folk festivals such as grape and wine festivals as well as religious holidays have lasted longer or been revived more often in Italy than in most other European […]

The town of Colle di Val d’Elsa in Tuscany

Colle di Val d'Elsa

Colle di Val d’Elsa has a congested and uninteresting new town in the valley which often causes visitors to miss its small but attractive old town on the ridge above, overlooking the River Elsa. The older part of Colle di Val d’Elsa is entered through the huge Porta Nova. The narrow main street has a number […]

The Chianti village of Gaiole in Chianti

Gaiole in Chianti - Castello di Barbischio

Gaiole in Chianti is a village located in the “Chianti castles” area on one of the roads running from central Chianti to the Val d’Arno. This area is characterised, obviously, by numerous picturesque castles, both intact and ruined, together with several beautiful pievi (parish churches) and fortified abbeys. The surrounding hills are dotted with wineries […]

The wine village of Radda in Chianti, Tuscany

Radda in Chianti

Radda in Chianti, along with Gaiole and Castellina, was one of the three founding towns of the Chianti league and is to this day located on a ridge between the Val d’Arbia and the Val di Pesa, within the Chianti Classico wine zone, surrounded on all sides by cypress forests and vineyards. Radda is of […]

Impruneta and terracotta manufacture in Tuscany

Impruneta and terracotta manufacture

Impruneta is located just outside the Chianti Classico wine zone and in fact is much more famous for terracotta manufacture than for wine, despite holding on of the most entertaining grape festivals in Tuscany on the last Sunday of September. Impruneta is within easy reach of Florence by car, by bus and even by bicycle, […]

The Chianti wine village of Volpaia in Tuscany

Volpaia in the Chianti area of Tuscany

Volpaia is a picturesque fortified village in the Chianti Classico wine zone. Walled hamlets and small villages are typically referred to as castelli in Tuscany, the same term being used for castles in the more traditional sense. The entire village of Volpaia is thus often correctly referred to as the Castello di Volpaia, although that […]

The Chianti village of San Donato in Poggio, Tuscany

San Donato in Poggio in Chianti

San Donato in Poggio is a mediaeval village of great charm located near the Via Cassia, the highway that runs along the western boundary of the Chianti Classico wine zone from Florence to Sienna. In modern times, the Via Cassia has been superceded by the Florence-Sienna motorway but in fact a drive along the Via […]

Panzano, the Tuscan hilltop town in the middle of Chianti

Panzano in Chianti

Panzano in Chianti makes an ideal base for your holiday in Chianti. It is located exactly halfway between Florence and Sienna, with a comfortable bus connection to Florence (one hour). The altitude of Panzano ensures that it avoids excessive heat during the Tuscan summer. The entire surrounding territory consists of Chianti Classico vineyards, olive groves and […]

The walled mediaeval village of Montefioralle in Chianti, Italy

The "Castello" of Montefioralle near Greve in Chianti

The small village of Montefioralle is one of the best-preserved and most interesting mediaeval fortified villages in Chianti, indeed in the whole of Tuscany. The original name of Montefioralle was Monteficale – it claims an entire verse under that name in the Ninfale fiesolano, composed by Boccaccio in 1344-45. Montefioralle has a double circuit of […]

Greve in Chianti, the vacation centre of Chianti Classico, Tuscany, Italy

Piazza Matteotti, the main piazza of Greve in Chianti

Greve in Chianti, generally known simply as Greve (pronounced “greh-veh”) and often so indicated on road signs, is the tourism centre of the Chianti Classico wine area that covers most of the territory between Florence to the north and Sienna to the south. Greve in Chianti is well-connected to Florence by comfortable SITA buses but […]

Castellina in Chianti, history, accommodations and things to see

Castellina in Chianti

The town of Castellina in Chianti is one of the most popular destinations and vacation bases in Chianti. Castellina is central in terms of visits to anywhere in Chianti and the nearby areas of Tuscany, including Volterra and the Val d’Orcia, located as it is at an important crossroads on the via Chiantigiana. It is […]

Pieve a Pacina, an ancient parish church near Castelnuovo Berardenga

The parish church at Pacina (Pieve a Pacina), located near Castelnuovo Berardenga, is worth a visit by anyone interested in the Romanesque churches of Chianti. It is documented from a remarkably early date (650 AD) and has a very unusual, cylindrical campanile which is probably a remnant of the original structure. The Pieve a Pacina is an […]

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