Chianti is a famous wine-producing region in central Tuscany. Villas to rent are popular and plentiful in the area, thanks to its picturesque landscape and languid lifestyle – complete with rolling hills and greenery as far as the eye can see.
But Chianti is a region that has so much more to offer – especially if you know where to go. Here are some top attractions and places to breathe in the area’s extensive natural and cultural beauty.
Castello di Verrazzano
There is a reason this particular site is one of the most popular attractions in Chianti, if not Tuscany. Villas in the area are surrounded with verdant vineyards, cellars are full of aging wine, and guestrooms are awash with medieval art, offering a holistic package for visitors to appreciate the best the region has to offer. A tour of the Castello is just 16 Euros – great value considering what you get from the package. You can top off your visit with a scrumptious sampler of three of the Castello’s most popular wines. An interesting snippet of information: a descendent of the Verrazzanos – Giovanni de Verazzano – discovered the New York Bay.
Monte San Michele Nature Park
Are you looking forward to taking in the natural beauty of Tuscany? Villas and hotels around this area will put you within easy access of the Monte San Michele Nature Park, where you can hike around and fully appreciate the flora and fauna of Chianti. Poplars, wild cherries, chestnuts, fallow deer, wild boar, porcupines, foxes, hares – there is just so much for the nature lover to enjoy while casually strolling through this lovely nature park.
Antica Macelleria Cecchini
While you might not think a visit to a butcher shop is an attraction, the avid foodies will revel in this particular one – the Cecchini Butcher Shop, located in Panzano. Dario Cecchini is an eighth-generation butcher who seeks to create the “Renaissance of meat.” He thus not only dedicates himself to perfecting the art of preparing good meat, but also in presenting it in a way that makes people look at food with much more reverence than they are used to. Dario has opened two restaurants as well. One, located above the shop is named Mac Dario, where you can eat a homemade hamburger and the full meal with a 1/4 lt of wine, a coffee and his homemade cake for just €13; then there’s his top restaurant L’Officina della Bistecca (the steak workshop) where he presents and cuts three different types of steak, cooks it in front of you on a big log fire and then serves it with his own special ritual. But one thing that really sets him apart from any other butcher in the world is that as soon as you walk into his shop you are offered a glass of Chianti and a taste of several of his product and it’s all free of charge. This is a true gastronomic experience not to be missed.
Church of San Leolino
Catholicism is prevalent in Tuscany. Villas and hotels may abound in the area, but so too do churches – in every shape and size. What makes the Church of San Leolino stand out is the history behind its simple Roman architecture. Built around 1,000 AD, this particular church eschews the glitz and glamour of its many peers for a serene, contemplative and humbling atmosphere. Still, the simplicity of the church is an elegant one and can stir the passions of those who enter within its walls.