Una Famiglia, Due Tenute
Chianti is a watercolor of bright, vivid colors. Its slanting light falls on the cypress trees that line the roads and on the gentle hills that are cloaked in olive trees and vineyards, interspersed by fallow land and fields. It is an enchanted place, opined by Scottish writer Tobias Smollett as the gentlest countryside in the world. Poet and Chianti vine grower Leonardo Manetti describes it as, “A solitary oasis in the dessert of the rush.” His words highlight how Chianti is cut off from the main highways of communication, maintaining it intact and authentic.
The hills of Chianti extend for about seventy thousand hectares between Florence and Siena. In the heart of Tuscany, Chianti is celebrated throughout the world for its production of extra virgin olive oil and wine, especially for Chianti Classico DOCG; with its seven thousand hectares of vineyards, it is one of Italy’s largest DOCG Italian areas. In addition, it is one of Italy’s most historical wines. One of the Chianti territory’s most beautiful characteristics is its villages and castles. Among the bright green vineyards and emerald forests, suddenly ancient and walled villages, villas, and castles come into view with their sloping roofs, constructed in earthen-colored stone that turns rose with the sunset.
VILLA LE CORTI
Located in San Casciano Val di Pesa, Villa Le Corti is an excellent point of departure for visiting Chianti. It is situated close to the highway junction that connects Florence to Siena, and is at most a half an hour away from all of the principle villages of Chianti. Villa Le Corti offers charming hospitality within its apartment “Sperone” and farmhouse “Gaiole,” both recently restored as traditional Tuscan country homes. Villa Le Corti also houses the Osteria Le Corti, located in an area of the ancient cellars. It is the ideal place to dine (upon reservation) at the end of a long day exploring the Chianti countryside.
The best way to discover Chianti is on the road. The famous Strada Provinciale 222, popularly called the “Chiantigiana,” winds through 70 km of the countryside, from Florence to the gates of Siena, passing through the principle inhabited centers of Chianti territory. Our advice is to follow the road in the spirit of a flâneur, leisurely allowing yourself to be enchanted by the Tuscan panoramas while stopping in the numerous villages along the way. From San Casciano, you may take the Chiantigiana towards Strada in Chianti, following it south until Castellina in Chianti and beyond.
TIPS – Be sure to plan a visit to the towns of Greve in Chianti, Panzano, and Castellina. Lose yourself among the streets of the historical city centers, full of shops, stores, and restaurants.
You may wish to end the day at the Multipurpose Observatory of Chianti in Montecorboli of San Donato in Poggio. The Observatory guides visitors through a discovery of the stars and organizes events during the summer.
A stay in Chianti can’t miss a visit to San Gimignano, a jewel of Tuscany and one of Italy’s most beautiful villages. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage. San Gimignano will astound you with its medieval atmosphere. In 1282, a town edict was passed that forbade the destruction of old houses, and from that time until today, the town’s buildings have been conserved practically 100% intact. Don’t forget to enjoy the view from the Duomo and its piazza, and the chapel of Santa Fina with the frescoes by Ghirlandaio, as well as the Civic Gallery (Pinacoteca Civica) that has preserved the masterpieces of Florentine and Sienese artists since the late medieval period.
Poggibonsi is located on the western offshoots of the Chianti hills. During the Middle Ages, it was a superb Ghibelline city. Emperor Frederick II named it the “Imperial City.” Considered one of the most beautiful Italian cities from the medieval historian Giovanni Villani, Florence and Siena disputed over it for ages. Traces of this can be found in its impressive fortifications that overlook the landscape, built in the early Middle Ages until the Renaissance. Don’t miss the castle of Rocca di Staggia, the Magione complex that belonged to the Templars, and the Medici fortress of Poggio Imperiale and Archedromo, a museum with live actors that reenact the life of a ninth-century village.