SIENA AND SAN GIMIGNANO
Full day tour in the centre of Tuscany, between the
Florentine Chianti hills and the Siena Chianti hills. From
Florence we drive the ancient Roman road: the Cassia or #2,
then the “PALIO”, the connection linking Florence and Siena.
We are crossing the Elsa valley and just from the connection
we can admire the exclusive outline of the famous towers of
San Gimignano, the most preserved walled hill top medieval
town in Tuscany.
San Gimignano set on the Roman pilgrim route, the Francigena
road. Strategic location dominating the valley, above the
Vernaccia vines. Today San Gimignano is a open live museum,
named the town of the “belle torri”. The fine towers has
been 76 between the 12th and 13th century, today only 13 are
The town has been rich and powerful until the middle XIVC,
unfortunately the Black Death decimated the population and
the city fell under the Florentine control. This important
city became an economic backwater bypassed by the
Renaissance and the misfortune made it the best preserved
medieval town in Tuscany.
The centre of the civil life is Duomo square. The Romanesque
church, the Collegiata, is one of the most frescoed in Italy.
Also in Duomo square is the Palazzo del Popolo, housing the
Left San Gimignano, driving a panoramic country road the top
of the Siena Chianti hills, we keep to cross the Elsa valley,
Siena direction. On the way we stop to take lunch at the
castle of Monteriggioni.
XIIIc circle of walls and the 14 towers survived practically
Inside, the main square with the classic well in the centre,
the original barracks around, and a couple of very good
After lunch same mails again and we arrive in Siena.
the white and black city, from his stripped Cathedral, black
and white is his emblem. Siena was founded by the Romans
“Sena Julia” in the 62 bc. This beautiful city is completely
different from Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance
sitting down the Arno river valley, the location of Siena is
on top of three hills. Siena the Gothic dream of Tuscany. We
do a short city tour up and down his alleys until Duomo
square where we stop to visit the Cathedral, one of the most
beautiful in Italy,
Duomo square, the highest and oldest part of the city we
walk down by steep alley to XIIc Campo square, the centre of
the civil life, the scene of the famous Palio. The shell
shaped Campo square is the political centre, we can admire
the Gothic masterpieces, the dignified Palazzo Pubblico
surmounted by the Torre del Mangia
THE CHIANTI COUNTRY
nice half or full day sightseeing tour, driving through
symmetrical vineyards, olive trees, wooded groves, stone
houses, late Renaissance villas and medieval villages.
The Chianti is large oval area between Florence and Siena
the heartland called Classico Chianti. From this area the
Chianti wine named GALLO NERO,
symbol of this region and his wine and the lightest olive
oil in Italy : the “extra vergine” olive oil.
Driving the Chiantigiana road, the main country road linking
Florence and Siena, the panoramic view, above the carefully
vineyards, the typical elegant farm houses, is really
gorgeous. In the centre of the Chianti Classico we find one
small and pretty nice market town, Greve in Chianti, the
capitol of the Classic Chianti.
stop in Matteotti square, the centre of the civil life.
The attractive triangular square with elegant porticoes is
the scene of famous annual wine fairs.
In the centre the statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the
explorer of the Manhattan island, not to far there is his
But another famous family lived here: the Vespucci family.
Just up Greve we can visit the enchanting Montefioralle
castle, the birthplace of the Vespucci.
On Sunday, Matteotti square is full of people from Florence
and other cities too, to take “merenda” that consist in a
light slow lunch based on wine tastings and snacks: ham,
salami, wild boar sausages, sheep cheese, bruschetta with
garlic and extra virgin olive oil. After same mails on the
south west, there is my prefer, real, private farm:
“fattoria MONTAGLIARI”, the name of the district. The
Migliorini family is really kind and hospitable. His wine
cellar is spectacular, we taste their wine Classico Chianti”
and the food, inside the country house there is the small
TRATTORIA MONTAGLIARI, in spring and summer time we can take
lunch or dinner in the garden, overlooking the vineyards and
part of the valley.
Crossed Panzano, picturesque medieval hill top town,
originally a medieval castle, we can reach, driving to west,
Castellina in Chianti, another small well kept medieval
town, with a XVC castle and town gate, strategic location
dominating the Elsa valley.
Down to the Elsa valley, in a delightful setting, enclosed
by cypress trees and surrounded by vineyards and olive trees,
the XIC monastery of the Badia a Passignano, under the
monastery the old wine cellars own the Antinori family.
On the other opposite side, the southern borders of the
Classico Chianti area, I have to underline the beauty and
the charm of Radda in Chianti and the Volpaia castle