For those familiar with Italian reds, Chianti likely needs no introduction. The rich red wine is synonymous with the rolling hills, endless vineyards, countless castles, and the picturesque nature of the Tuscan countryside. And if you’re staying in Firenze, then getting from Florence to Chianti couldn’t be easier! Here’s an easy Tuscany day trip from Florence.
Introducing Chianti: The Italian Region & Chianti Classico Wine
First things first: What is Chianti? Well, located in Tuscany, the Chianti region is world-famous and can be found roughly between Florence and Siena. The dry wine from the region is also called Chianti’. The oldest part of the wine growing area is Chianti Classico and it was this district which was originally dictated by Cosimo III de’ Medici.
To ensure that you’ve got a bottle of this vino, make sure that is stamped with the iconic black rooster symbol. Inevitably, as wine production from the Tuscany region increased, so did the Chianti growing area. And so, in 1932, the ancient wine-growing region was redistributed into seven distinct sub-zones.
Chianti Colli Senesi (Montepulciano and Montalcino), Chianti Colline Pisani (The hills of Pisa), Chianti Colli Aretini (The hills of Arezzo), Chianti Rufina (East of Florence), Chianti Montalbano (West of Florence) and Chianti Montespertoli, Chianti Colli Fiorentini (Hills of Florence).
In order to be considered a Chianti, each wine must contain at least 70% Sangiovese grape. The wine is rich in flavour and is best tasted and paired together with food. However, nothing beats sampling wine straight from the vineyard, in the very location where it was likely produced.
Top towns and villages to visit in Chianti
While you’ll certainly want to explore the vineyards of the region, it’s worth noting that there are also plenty of towns worth exploring when it comes to Chianti.
Greve in Chianti: As one of the largest towns in Chianti, this lively metropolis is often referred to as the ‘Gateway to Chianti’. As such, there’s no shortage of things to see and do, even if you’re not a fan of red wine! Highlights of Greve include its strangely shaped piazza and several beautiful castles.
Radda in Chianti: Often called ‘Ratti’ in German, the history of Radda dates back some four thousand years. Today, the picturesque village is home to the ruins of its historic town walls, plenty of medieval buildings, and a friendly vibe.
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How far is Tuscany from Florence? How to travel from Florence to Chianti
Since Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region (Toscana in Italian), the Chianti region couldn’t be closer to Florence and a visit can easily be incorporated into a two week Italy itinerary. As such, there are several ways in which to explore and experience Chianti as a day trip from Florence. Bus, train, and car are all possible modes of transport.
Should you opt to take the train, you should know that you won’t get the fully immersive experience of Chianti in the same way in which you would if you drove or took the bus. This is because train stops are few and far between in many parts of Chianti, which are high up on the hillside and far from any train tracks. In choosing to travel by rail, you’ll simply be able to admire the Tuscan countryside (and vineyards) from the train window.
The most convenient way to explore Toscana is either to rent a car (which will give you a lot of freedom) or simply to take the bus. However, buses don’t tend to run past early evening, may run at inconvenient times, or won’t go to specific destinations you may want to venture to. There are also fewer buses at the weekend. When it comes to taking the bus, you can take the SITA bus from Florence to Greve. More information can be found here.
On the other hand, drawbacks of renting a car are traffic in Florence, as well as confusing roads. If you’re from a country which drives on the left-hand side of the road, then driving can also be confusing. All said and done, the benefits of having a car are many: being able to reach ‘off the beaten path’ Chianti vineyards, the option to travel what you want, when you want, and the opportunity to stay in beautiful properties across Chianti.
Chianti Wine tasting & Tuscany Wine Tours
Of course, if you don’t want to rent a car, then there’s also the possibility of partaking in a day trip wine tasting tour of Chianti. On my first venture to the Chianti region several years ago, this is precisely what I did and it certainly took away the stress of having to plan everything for myself!
Tuscany Wine Tour from Florence: This well-reviewed one day trip has been created for travellers between 18-35. Included in the day trip are two wine tastings, return transport from Florence, balsamic and extra virgin olive oil tastings, and an English-speaking local guide. Chere here for prices and availability.
San Gimignano, Siena, Chianti Guided Tour from Florence: Created for those who wish to experience both the villages of Tuscany, as well as the wine region, this day trip from Firenze includes lunch, transport from Florence, wine tastings, and a chance to explore the Monteriggioni fortress. Check here for prices and availability.
Tuscan 1 Day: Siena, San Gimignano, Monteriggioni, Chianti: If history is your true passion, then this one-day itinerary is made for you. Comprising of a visit to three medieval towns, lunch, return transportation from Florence, and several free guided tours, experience the best of Toscana in one day! Check here for prices and availability.