Split between the provinces of Florence and Siena, Chianti is famous all over the world for its never-ending vineyards, olive groves, honey coloured stone villages and picturesque cellars; usually accessed via the SR222, the easiest way to explore it is to get in touch with a Florence car service and drive through the Region. In this article, we will give you some information about Greve, Panzano and Castellina, the first three Chianti towns on the way to Siena.
Located about 35 km south of Florence, well off the main roads, Greve in Chianti is considered by many as the gateway into the Chianti wine region and boasts an attractive, triangular-shaped piazza that has been a marketplace since the Middle Ages. The Falorni family owns the town's three main tourist attractions: the Museo del Vino, a huge cellar where you can sample and buy wine and the oldest butcher shop in Italy. If you happen to be around Greve the first or second week of September, don't miss its yearly wine fair, during which a variety of wines, cheeses and other local products are available for tasting and purchase.
15 minutes drive from Greve is the hamlet of Panzano in Chianti, best known for its 12th century castle that played a crucial role in defending the Florentine Republic during the battles between Florence and Siena.
The old town is very pretty and quiet, one of those places where you can really soak up the atmosphere of times gone by. Places of interest in and around Panzano include: the Church of San Leolino (offering fantastic views over the local vineyards) and Antica Macelleria Cecchini (a butcher shop + restaurant famous for its Florentine T-bone steak): Dario Cecchini – the hilarious owner – often recites the Divine Comedy while serving the customers!
Included in the province of Siena, Castellina in Chianti dates back to the Etruscan period and was fortified by the Florentines in the 15th century as a defensive outpost against the Sienese. Its most prominent feature is Via delle Volte, an arched Medieval passageway that runs along the old city walls. Other interesting sights in Castellina are its well-preserved and imposing Fortress (home to a small Etruscan museum with archaeological finds from the local area) and, just outside the town centre, the Montecalvario burial mound (7th century BC).
Conclude your Tuscany tour with a pleasant dinner in one of the many restaurants available.
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