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 there is essentially no direct bus route from Greve to Sienna which is in a different administrative Region, namely the Provincia di Siena. It is necessary to take the bus to Florence and then connect with the express bus to Sienna. The main road running through Chianti and joining Florence with Sienna is SR 222, the Via Chiantigiana, one of the best roads for motoring excursions in Italy.
Greve in Chianti itself is a pleasant small town with an arcaded main piazza, Piazza Matteotti, several restaurants, a good range of food outlets, including a good Coop supermarket, as well as Tuscan ceramics, Tuscan country-style furniture and arts shops. There is a general market in Piazza Matteotti every Saturday morning where fresh produce as well as clothes, shoes, hardware and household items can be bought. A number of special markets are held during the year. These include an antiques and bric-à-brac fair on Easter Monday and the annual Chianti Classico wine fair held in Piazza Matteotti in September.
There is an excellent range of very affordable vacation accommodation available within the township of Greve in Chianti, for those who want to see Chianti without a car, as well as Chianti Bed & Breakfast rooms, farmhouse vacation apartments and Tuscan vacation villas to rent in the the surrounding hills. These Chianti agriturismi, as they are called, offer extremely good value for money. Basically you get a self-catering vacation apartment in Chianti, sometimes with a swimming pool, for a lower price than you would pay for a hotel room in most cities or towns in Tuscany.
To get to Greve in Chianti from Florence by public transport, the best option is the comfortable SITA bus. This leaves from the SITA bus station near SMN Railway Station in Florence and the trip takes one hour. Click this link for the Florence to Greve bus timetable and other relevant details. There is rarely if ever a direct bus from Greve to Siena. To visit Siena from Greve, you need to take the bus to Florence and change there at the SITA bus station for the express bus to Siena. On your return journey, be sure not to miss the last connection back to Greve (about 8 pm, sometimes 8.30 pm).
It is of course also possible to reach Greve from Florence by taxi. The meter will be switched to double because the driver has to return empty. The price is currently about 70 euros. There is also a taxi in Greve (minibus) at Garage Sant’Anna, opposite Bar Sant’Anna. If you wish to use this service you should make arrangements in advance. He will also take you to tourist sights and even restaurants in the area and pick you up at the pre-arranged time. Refer to Chianti without a car and Chianti taxi and transfers for other information on how to get around Chianti without your own transport.
The Chianti hills around Greve in Chianti are a mixture of forest and cultivation with the overwhelming majority of the cultivation being dedicated to wine and olive oil production. As a consequence, there are numerous wineries selling their own Chianti Classico wine and many of them allow you to taste before you buy.
Among the interesting sights within easy reach of Greve in Chianti are:
- Panzano in Chianti, a small town 10 minutes away from Greve by car. It can also be reached by an uphill walk along a mediaeval road that runs close to SR222.
- Montefioralle, 5 minutes by car or 20 minutes uphill by foot. This is an excellent example of a fortified Tuscan mediaeval village and should not be missed. The family of Amerigo Vespucci owned a house there during his lifetime and for some centuries afterwards.
- Badia a Passignano is a highly photogenic abbey located about 20 minutes by car towards Sambuca. It can sometimes be toured on Sunday afternoons, starting at 3 pm.
- Pieve di San Cresci is a very early romanesque parish church, formerly the parish church of Montefioralle which was bigger than Greve in mediaeval times. The pieve is open only infrequently but the walk past Villa Zano and the exterior of the pieve make for a pleasing half-day hike. There is an excellent winery abutting the church – Podere San Cresci.
- Castello di Verrazzano – the ancestral home of the explorer of the East Coast of the USA, Giovanni da Verrazzano (sometimes spelled Verrazano). The castle offers a wine tasting tour that includes a Verrazzano room containing memorabilia of the great explorer.
Worth a visit. More about the Chianti market town of Greve in Chianti.
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