The region of the Chianti with its gentie hilly contryside is bordered by the basin of the Arno to the south of Florence and that of the Ombrone, north of Siena. The area was already inhabited in the time of the Etruscans and then passed under Roman rule. In the 8th century it became a large feud of the noble Firidolfi family. It afterwards became the object of conquest and contention between Siena and Arezzo first, and later between Siena and Florence. The landscape the Chianti presents its visì- tors is rich in a hundred different ways: it is rich in roads, unpaved country lanes which retain their charm of long ago, steep paths that wind up to a villa or a castle, parish church or farm. The Chianti is a “holy” land (smail churches everywhere with an age-old history) and a land of towers, rich in castles (they can be counted by the dozen) where the atmosphere is still authentically medieval. The most important are Castellina, with fine fortifications and old paiaces; Radda, with its 15th century Palazzo Pretorìo; and Greve, with its unique main square. It is hardly necessary to say that the pnncipal activity in the region of the Chianti is agriculture: an agriculture which produces wine famous in every nook and corner of the world, the “Chianti Classico Gallo Nero”, and an olive oil that is just as prized and which is fo be found on the tabies of true gourmets. The territory of the Chianti is formed of lias limestone (alberese), sandstone (macigno), clay schist (galestro). Over half of the territory is covered by tall trees: oaks, chestnuts, ilex (holmoak), firs and in part by the so-called Mediterranean scrub including shrubs, brambles, bushes, hedges, aromatic plants. The other half of the land is cultivated as farmland: large vineyards which cover the hilisides in geometric patterns, extensive olive groves that stretch to the horizon. The wine of this land, known for centuries for its delicious aroma, is the result of a perfect mixture of four types of grapes: Sangìoveto and canaiolo (purple grapes), malvasia and trebbiano (white grapes). The result is Chianti Classico, a ruby-red wine, with a full dry flavor, with just the right amount of tannic acid and the characteristic perfume of violets, the masterpiece of this generous land which has managed to keep its “flavor” of times past.
Chianti wine tours
Greve in Chianti
Fonterutoli - new cellars
The soil of Chianti has been tilled for many centuries, as evidenced by the landscape of the region. Among the forests of chestnut, oak, pine and larch that grow on the slopes, there are rows of vines and silvery-green olive trees carpeting the gently-roiling hillsides. Small villages, a villa, an abbey or a handful of elegant mansions set in their fine estates blend harmoniously into a natural environment partially tamed by the hand of man.