Florence & Chianti in Tuscany: A Cultural & Culinary Adventure
September 6-17, 2017
During our fall tour, we will base ourselves for a week in a villa in the Chianti region. From the villa, we’ll visit these Tuscan medieval towns. Each town has its unique history, culture, architecture, traditions and charms. We’ll meet locals along the way. Get ready to discover these ‘gems’!
Greve: Greve is the hub of the Chianti Classico region. It is the center the Chianti wine industry. Greve regularly hosts a Slow Food Market. Its central square, Piazza Matteotti, is lined with attractive shops, restaurants and tasting rooms. We’ll wander the streets of Greve, check out its shops and cafes and go to the farmer’s market. We’ll also visit the Wine Museum to learn the history of winemaking in Chianti.
Panzano: Panzano is a charming medieval town located on a high ridge surrounded by Chianti Classico vineyards. Panzano’s views are of vineyards dotted with cypress tress, olive groves, and farmhouses. Panzano has a good range of restaurants, ‘enotecas’/wine tasting shops and is home to the famous ‘Butcher of Panzano’, Dario Cecchini, featured on The Food Network. We’ll visit his butcher shop and have dinner at his restaurant, La Officina.
San Miniato is a medieval hilltop village (in the province of Pisa) half-way between Pisa and Florence. It is an ancient settlement above the meeting point of the Arno and Elsa Rivers giving it a rich history due to its strategic location. Its origin is BC. Ancient artifacts have been found in the surrounding area. The Tower, on the summit of the hill, dominates the valley below. San Miniato is a Tuscan ‘Slow City’ and is the center of the white truffle zone. We will go on a truffle hunt near San Miniato, take a truffle cooking class and visit this remarkable town.
Siena: Siena is the furthermost southern town we will go to in Tuscany. The city center is distinguished by its medieval brick buildings and fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo. The Siena Cathedral, a focal point of the city, is a medieval Roman Catholic church completed between 1360 and 1370. Its interior and exterior are constructed of distinctive white and dark green marble in alternating stripes. Built in two stages, the Siena Cathedral combines elements of Gothic, Romanesque and Classical architecture. It is a site not to be missed!
Montefioralle: The ancient village of Montefioralle is still enclosed within its original walls. During the Middle Ages, it was one of the largest military and administrative centers of the area. It is believed to date back to 1085 AD. The village itself is virtually free of cars. The ancient passageways lead to the entrance of its main castle. Vineyards stretch in every direction and there are wonderful hiking trails in the area.
We will visit the town and taste at the Monefioralle winery.
San Gimignano: San Gimignano is a walled village about halfway between Florence and Siena. It is famous for its fascinating medieval towers that rise above all the other buildings. At the height of its glory, San Gimignano’s patrician families had built 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano still retains its feudal atmosphere and appearance. This town has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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