Known for its undulating hills blanketed with picturesque vineyards, Tuscany’s popular wine region of Chianti makes an easy day trip from Florence.   Even if you’re not into wine, the region is worth a visit for its scenic landscape and for its charming, historic hamlets.

Vineyards in Tuscany, Italy

We had time to spare during our leisurely sojourn in Florence so why not take a day trip to this popular wine region? But since we had enough share of vineyard-hopping in the less touristed wine region of Bolgheri, we decided to do less vineyard tour of Chianti and more exploration of some of its towns and hamlets.


Chianti’s dramatic landscape is made even more magnificent by many architectural treats dotting its hillsides, like the medieval castles that stand amidst lush vineyards.  Many of them are working wine estates and offer perfect opportunity for wine tasting in historical surroundings.

Medieval castle of Castello di Quesceto, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyThe wine estate of Castello di Quercet0, a castle-farm only about 25 kms/15 miles south of Florence, was our first stop in our scenic meandering around Chianti.  Built in the 16th century as a look out, the castle helped defend the immediate area. Today, it stands like a sentinel amidst its 60 hectares of vineyards and olive grove.

Bottle of wine produced in Castello di Querceto Winery, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

Castello di Querceto’s award winning Chianti Classico Riserva.

Wine tasting in Castello di Querceto Winery, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

After walking around the lovely castle grounds and viewing its vineyards, we tasted the estate’s excellent wines including its award winning Chianti Classico, the signature wine of the region.

What is Chianti Classico? It refers to the heartland of Chianti, which is the traditional and longest established viticultural area of the region. Like France, Italy’s wines are name after the region where they are produced.

Chianti Classico wines are ruby red, made mostly from Sangiovese grape with aromas of violets and cherries and a hint of earthy spice.

For many years, Chianti wines were exported all over the world in straw-covered bottles that used to decorate tacky Italian restaurants with red and white checkered tablecloths and which symbolized Chianti as producer of cheap wines.

But much has changed. The vintners of Chianti have work hard to improve the quality of their produce and today, they are producing excellent wines that are worthy of the region’s sublime surroundings.

Wine cellar in Castello di Querceto Winery, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

The medieval wine cellar of Castello di Querceto.

View from Castello di Querceto Winery, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy

The view from Castello di Querceto.


A short drive from Castello di Querceto is the small town of Greve in Chianti. It is considered a gateway to northern Chianti, as it is the first main town you will reach as you travel south of Florence to Siena.

In the olden times,  Greve’s strategic position was a crossroad of three important pilgrimage roads. It became a market place starting in the 13th century when  pilgrims and people from surrounding villages came every Saturday to buy livestock and produce.  The Saturday morning market still takes place in the town’s man piazza up to this day!

Greve in Chianti is also known as the host of the annual Chianti Classico Wine Festival held in September.

Piazza Matteoti, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyThe town’s historic main square, Piazza Matteotti, where the Saturday morning market takes place. Standing in the center is the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, a local boy who became a famous explorer and discovered New York harbour. (In recognition, New York named its suspension bridge, the longest one in the world, the “Verrazano Narrows Bridge.”)

Building in Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyArtisanal food  shops, wine shops, workshops, and restaurants are tucked away under the lovely porticoes that surround the piazza.

Butcher Shop in Greve in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyKeith was in carnivore heaven!  Another one of town’s claim to fame is its local macelleria (butcher shop), Antica Macelleria Falorni.  It has been delighting local and visiting meat lovers with its traditional meat cuts since 1729.

Art Museum in Greve in Chianti, tuscany, Italy

A sculpture in Piazza Matteotti.

Greve in Chianti is also surrounded with sculptures, churches and museums. For lovers of religious arts, there is the Museum of Sacred Arts. For oenophiles, worth a visit is the Museo del Vinowhich offers wine tastings of over 200 different labels from the region as well as collections of traditional wine presses, variety of vintage corkscrews and old farm machineries. 


Half an hour drive south of Greve in Chianti is the medieval hilltop hamlet of Castellina in Chianti. The origin of this walled village goes back to Etruscan time. Relics found in the area suggest that it has been inhabited since 7th century BC. During medieval time, Florence took control of the village and used its strategic location to control the surrounding roads and valleys.

Fortress in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyThis fortress is a reminder of Castellina’s once military power.  Today, it houses the municipal office and the Archeological Museum of Chianti.

Tunnel in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy






One of the impressive features of the town is Via della Volte, a vaulted passageway attached to the city wall and circles the town.  The tunnel was used by military during medieval time. Today, it houses delightful shops and restaurants.

Via della Volte , Tunnel in Castellina in Chianti, Italy

Via della Volte

Builidng facade in in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyThe town is a maze of beautiful and charming terra cotta and stone buildings.

Street in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyIt is delightful to walk along the Via Ferruccio, the town’s main street lined with many quaint shops, cafes, workshops,  palaces, etc.

Enotreca sign in Castellina in Chianti, Tuscany, ItalyCastellina boast of many enotecas (wine shop). A notable one is Enoteca Antiquari, a 100-year old wine shop located inside a palazzo. It also serves as an important historical archive of local wine and helps preserve the original characteristics of Chianti Classico wine.

Also worth checking in the town is L’Antica Delizia, a gelateria that is hailed as one of the finest in Tuscany.

San Donato in Poggio

We ended our day in San Donato in Poggio, a small, tranquil hilltop village that is an ancient settlement in a fortified castle dating back to 11th century. The town retains part of its Medieval walls and original layout.  Located between Florence and Sienna, a number of treaties between the two rival cities were signed in this town during their struggle in the  Middle Ages.

Donato in Poggio, Tuscany, ItalyThe town boasts some historical sights within its quaint center as well as shops and restaurants. We had dinner in one of the traditional tavernas where the food was exceptional.

Church in Donato in Poggio, Tuscany, Italy

The Romanesque Pieve di San Donato, the town’s main church.

I hope you enjoyed touring Chianti with us.  Have you been to Chianti?  Are there other towns in this wine region that you would recommend to visit?


Travel Notes:

  • Like most of Tuscany, Chianti is best explored by car.  However, most of its towns are accessible by public transportation from Florence or Siena. For tips on how to visit Chianti without car, visit this site. Private tours or bus tours from Florence are also options.
  • For information on winery tour and wine tasting in Castello di Querceto, click here.
  • For list of  other Tuscan castle farms where you can visit for wine tasting, click here.
  • Suggested travel guide: Lonely Planet Florence and Tuscany


Linking to Weekly Postcard,  Weekend Travel Inspiration. and Travel Photo Discovery.

Travel Notes & Beyond   Weekend Travel Inspiration

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42 responses to “A Day in Chianti: Wine and Beyond

  1. Anda

    Tuscany looks so beautiful! Perhaps because it’s the “wine country”, it reminds me a lot about Napa Valley in California: bucolic scenery and great wine tasting rooms, like the castle-farm Castello di Quercet0. Ah, and all those tasty cold cuts that the Italians excel at… you must have been in Heaven! The entire area radiates such a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere.
    Anda recently posted..The Weekly Postcard: Banff National Park, CanadaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Anda, Tuscany is truly bucolic and relaxing. It’s somehow remind me of Napa as well but with more ancient flair. I don’t eat meat but my husband swore to the goodness of the local meat delicacies. He misses it .

  2. Vlad

    Stunning photos and very informative post! Wine and fantastic views, it seems like a place I would definitely enjoy a lot! :)
    Vlad recently posted..The Oslofjord ExperienceMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Vlad, thanks. I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it a lot.

  3. I’ve never been much of a wine person, but lately I’ve been experimenting more with wines. However, I still have a lot to learn about choosing wines and the differences between the different kinds – this seems like the perfect place to learn! :)

    • Marisol

      Hi Marissa, going on wine tasting, especially in wine regions, is always a good way to learn. I hope you can make it to Chianti sometime soon.

    • Marisol

      It definitely is, Lili.

  4. I know this is an area I would enjoy a lot. I came close last year in Florence but my next visit I will make sure we get to Chianti. Thanks so much for hooking up on the #WeeklyPostcard.
    PS. I love your blog name too :)
    Lyn – A Hole in my Shoe recently posted..Margaret River, an Ideal GetawayMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Lyn, thanks. I really hope you make it to Chianti next time. I have no doubt that you and Steve will enjoy it. there.

  5. Bama

    Glad to know that you ventured beyond the vineyards in Chianti, Marisol. It’s also a reminder for me that most of the times villages and towns around apparent tourism spots are worth visiting as they are where the real charm can be found..
    Bama recently posted..Komodo: A Magnificent ConclusionMy Profile

    • Marisol

      That’s very true, Bama. Lots of time we tend to focus on the main attraction and fail to discover the genuine charms around it.

    • Marisol

      Hi Freya, you summed it up pretty well!

  6. Corinne

    Marisol, I love the anique-y feel to your photos. I will definitely have to try the Chianti Classico, and I would be in meat heaven as well! Thanks for linking up with Weekend Travel Inspiration!
    Corinne recently posted..Ston and Male Ston of the Pelješac PeninsulaMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Corinne, thanks! The wine and the meat of Tuscany is truly worth indulging. I’m sure you will enjoy them.

    • Marisol

      Hi Isabella, glad to know.

  7. I like the rolling hills, dots of trees and the neat rows in the vineyards in your opening photo. So many textures going on there! I think that exploring the underground Via della Volte would be so much fun. Now that you’ve shown me how many castles are in Chianti, that lone castle I came across in Napa seems less strange. I am curious whether or not people in Chianti are also guilty of sticking drippy red candle tapers in their wine bottles to light up restaurant tables.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Postcards from an Afternoon Stroll in RomeMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Michelle, the first time I visited Tuscany in late 90’s,. I remember seeing some restauraunts with those drippiy candles on straw covered Chinati bottles., but I don’t remember seeing it them the last visit. I guess their taste have evolved:)
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Aleah, it truly is. I’m sure you will acquire a taste for wine more once you’re there.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  8. Tuscany has always appealed to me since watching the movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” more than once. I also recently had friends stay in a villa in Tuscany for a week and they adored it. After reading this and seeing your beautiful photos I will most definitely be adding this to the list.
    Kathy Marris recently posted..The Road Ahead: The KimberleyMy Profile

    • Marisol

      HI Kathy, if you find it appealing in the movie you will love it more in person. I hope you get to visity Tuscany soon.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Pat, I hope you get to visit Chianti next time you’re Tuscany,. It’s as divine as the other places in Chianti but have a different kind of charm.

  9. oh stop it! I want to get on a plane right now and go touring with you now. Those views are beautiful and I would love to explore those back streets and find the little shops and taverns and cafes. Words and pictures all combined wonderfully.
    I love touring with you through your blog. Happy travels and thank you for stopping by my blog this week and for your comments.

    • Marisol

      Ha! Ha! Jill, I’m sure you won’t regret getting on the plane.. thanks Jill, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and the blog. I hope you’re doing well.

  10. I have enjoyed touring Chianti with you. I don’t drink, heck I know very little about wine but, the scenic landscape, history, medieval architecture, sculptures, quaint shops, cafes, workshops, palaces, food …. the region is definitely worth a visit!!!

    Great photos too …
    Rachel@safari254 recently posted..Unexpected Kenya Day 6My Profile

    • Marisol

      Thanks Rachel, Glad you enjoyed Chianti. Definitely worth a visit and you may find yourself acquiring a great tast for wine when you’re there.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  11. Yet, another post after my own heart – wine, vineyards and castles. I think if I ever make it to Tuscany and drive around, I wouldn’t want to leave. The scenery is just stunning and those little towns and streets are so charming. I’ve always known about the wine but now glad to go on a beautiful virtual tour of the region too. My husband would enjoy all that carnivore heaven too.
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Hiking the Redwood’s Fern CanyonMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Oh Mary, you and your husband will love Tuscany. You’re right, it will be hard to leave.:) I hope you get to spend sometime there. There are so many beuatiful places made more divine by great food and wine.
      Marisol recently posted..Remembering Hong KongMy Profile

  12. Mike

    I so enjoyed the history of of Giovanni da Verrazzano, New York and the bridge. And I most definitely would want to visit the castles. That photo of the Grazia Giachi literally made me FEEL like I was there – awesome. The same with the open dining in the small street. I hope you two are having a good week, Marisol! :)
    Mike recently posted..A Friend Is Missed Around The WorldMy Profile

    • Marisol

      Hi Mike, we didn’t know that Verazzano was from there until we visited the town. We found it interesting. as well. Oh yes, we also love hose streets with open restaurants; they are are just so charming.

  13. You must have been “enchianted” with such an experience :)

  14. Ryan Z

    Castellina in Chianti looks so cool. A visit to Chianti is going near the top of my bucket list!

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