If you are planning a wine trip to Tuscany, Chianti Italy is your next wine destination!
If you have been to an Italian restaurant, anywhere, you must have seen Chianti wine suggested on the menu. But do you know what Chianti is really about? One of Italy’s most famous wine appellations, right from the heart of Tuscany wine region, the Chianti region has much to tell you. From hilltop vineyards, cute villages to beautiful views, Chianti is perfect the destination for an Italian wine trip, especially if you settle in Florence.
Let’s discover together more about the Chianti wine region, what you can do there and why you should visit this Tuscany wine region.
- About the Chianti Region and Chianti wine
- Traveling to Chianti Italy – Things to know before you go
- Explore Chianti wine region – Idea of a 2-day trip itinerary to discover Chianti villages & wineries
- FAQ & Useful resources
About the Chianti Region and Chianti wine
The Chianti wine region is located in the center of Tuscany, Italy, between the cities of Florence, Siena and also Pisa. It stretches over more than 100 miles from north to south, divided into 8 wine-subregions and counts hundreds wine-growers.
What is Chianti wine?
First of all, Chianti Italy is a wine region of Tuscany. Chianti wine is therefore wine that is produced in Chianti region, and that meets the requirements of DOCG regulations to be able to have the Chianti DOCG label.
Secondly, The Chianti region is quite wide, which explains why Chianti wines are so well-known: they are easily produced in large volumes and rather inexpensive – thus their availability in many shops and restaurants around the world. The quality of Chianti wine will vary quite a bit, since the wine production is quite wide, the quality depends on the subregion’s soil and terroir characteristics. However, the best Chianti wines are those who come from the hilly areas of Chianti wine region, which is why the term “colli” or “colline” – that mean “hills” – are specifically mentioned on Chianti wine bottles as a quality guarantee.
Finally, Chianti wine have been long thought of cheap red wines, mostly made out of Tuscany’s most grown grape variety: Sangiovese grape. Today, and this since the 20th century, local winemakers innovated and tried to elevate the quality of this Tuscan wine, and blend several grape varieties, including a white grape variety (Malvasia Bienca). Considered the Italian version of a Bordeaux wine, Italian Chianti is both an “everyday” wine that is easy to drink with daily dishes, and a full-bodied wine with more complexity and superior quality thanks to a longer aging period and more sophisticated vinification methods.
The difference between Chianti and Chianti Classico
It is very likely that most times, you have tasted Chianti wines and Chianti Classico. Is there a difference between both of these labels? There is indeed, a small nuance due to terroir and appellations. Generally speaking, Chianti defines the complete wine region of Chianti, that is divided into several subregions, of which Chianti Classico is one of.
Actually, the Chianti Classico is, by far, the most important subregion of Chianti, and actually the only subregion to have its own DOCG. As a result, if an Italian Chianti that is labeled Chianti Classico will be of better quality than one labeled “Chianti”, as other Chianti subregions have the right to label their wine “Chianti” but their terroir might not be as optimum as Chianti Classico’s. Indeed, right at the beginning, during the Renaissance period, Chianti Classico was the heart of Chianti wine-making. Chianti Classico wines have the most aging potentials with higher acidity and tannins than other Chianti wines.
Traveling to Chianti Italy – Things to know before you go
If you have never traveled to Italy yet, you must know that roads are something to take into consideration. By roads, we mean the difficulty of driving on Italian roads, or traveling from one village to another, as Italian countryside, especially in Tuscany, is full of remote villages that are not always easy to access even by car. Public transportation link main cities between them, but this is all you can expect. To be best prepared, here are tips on how to get to Chianti and travel around this Italian wine region.
How do you get to Chianti Italy?
As a region, Chianti Italy is rather wide. Depending on where you wish to go in Chianti, you will have several itineraries options. The simpler one is to start from Florence, heading towards Siena and visiting wineries and villages along the route. The distance between Florence and the closest Chianti village, Greve, is of 20 miles. There you go, you are in Chianti in less than an hour from Florence!
Best way to travel around Chianti region
Traveling in Chianti is a bit of a challenge, especially if you don’t rent a car. However, you have several options to move around Chianti:
By train: of course, railways are not part of beautiful Tuscan wine countryside, but you can still reach main Tuscan cities by train. The two central Chianti train stations are those of Poggibonsi and Castellina, that connect Florence and Siena. From the villages of Poggibosi and Castillina, you can then travel by bus to reach other remote destinations like San Gimigani or Monteriggioni for example.
By bus: you won’t have any problem finding bus lines that travel around Chianti and from one village to another. The only complication is the bus schedule: it is a must to check them carefully and understand their itinerary, as some lines stop at every single village.
By car: moving around Chianti by car is the best way to make the most of your wine trip in Tuscan vineyards. You won’t have to worry about schedule, you can keep as much personal belonging in your car instead of carrying them around, and you can drive where the inspiration takes you. The only challenge is that Italian drivers may be a little hard on you if you don’t drive “fast enough”! If you’re up for this fun adventure, click here to see car rental services from airports.
A good tip: while renting a car is a good way to travel around Chianti Italy with no restrictions, it might be better to consider hiring a driver for a couple of days so you can enjoy the countryside better and not worry about your alcohol level while visiting wineries along the way.
Explore Chianti wine region – Idea of a 2-day trip itinerary to discover Chianti villages & wineries
Deep Tuscan countryside of Chianti is a succession of small villages and large expanses of vines. On the road from Florence heading to Siena, here is an itinerary with 4 stops and one night of settlement in one of Chianti’s most adorable villages. This short road trip to explore Chianti Italy can be done in more steps and days of course! In any case, Chianti is not short of surprises, and the best way to make the most of your wine trip in Tuscany is to live the moment and expect changes of plans!
1. Day 1: Greve in Chianti
Leaving Florence, you can count about a 50-minute drive on the SS222 road towards Siena or Greve-Siena, to reach the cute village of Greve in Chianti. The starting point of your Chianti wine trip, Greve in Chianti is basically the birthplace of Chianti wine back in the Renaissance days. You’ll find great restaurants, a weekly market on Saturday mornings and a Wine Tasting Center. Speaking of wine tasting, you should pay a visit to the Montefiorella Chianti winery right in the village!
Taste best Chianti wines at Montefiorella wine estate
In the heart of Chianti Classico territory, the small family-run Montefiorella estate welcomes you to their property for a great Chianti wine tasting experience. You’ll tastes the estates best Chianti wine: Chianti Classico, Chianti Classico Riserva, IGT and Vin Santo right at the Montefiorella hill.
2. Next stop: Radda in Chianti
From Greve, you can simply follow the wine route that continues to Radda in Chianti only 11 miles away. A surprise awaits you there: the hilltop Rada in Chianti has been inhabited for centuries, and this since the 9th century a more precisely. You will be immersed into the village’s authentic Medieval feeling, thanks to its well-preserved old castle. You will find plenty of wine bars and restaurants to enjoy great Chianti wine with delicious Tuscan cuisine.
3. Final stop of the day: Castellina in Chianti to spend the night
Your next stop and final one for the day, will be the one at Castelina in Chianti. A true historical jewel, this one-of-a-kind spot dates back to the Estruscan era: 14th-century fortress, pedestrian tunnels and the historic center will charm you.
To settle there for the night, you have the choice between typical agriturismo and more luxurious hotels with private swimming pools:
4. Before arriving at Siena: visit Rocca Di Montegrossi Chianti winery in Monti
On the next morning, before leaving, make sure to sip a great expresso on the Piazza. On the road to Monti, very close to Siena, get prepared for an incredible Chianti experience at Rocca Di Montegrossi! One of Chianti Classico’s emblematic estate, built between the 7th and 8th century, it extends over 100 hectares of Chianti vineyards. They are more than happy to share their family story with you during a guided Tour in their cellars and Chianti Wine Tastings.
Discover more Chianti wineries and wine activities to do in Chianti wine region on Winalist! You can easily find wineries next to where you are in the region thanks to the interactive map, book your experience without fees and cancel if necessary. A great wine trip awaits on the route to Chianti Italy!
FAQ & Useful resources
Where is Chianti region in Italy?
The Chianti wine region is part of Tuscany, in the center of Italy – between the cities of Florence, Siena and Pisa.
Where is Chianti wine from?
Chianti wine is from the Chianti wine region of Italy, in Tuscany. It is one of Italy’s most famous wine appellations.
How far is Florence from Chianti?
The city of Florence is quite close to Chianti region. From Florence, you can reach Chianti area by train and count about a 1h50 trip. Florence is about 35 kilometers (21 miles) away from the region, but if you travel to specific Chianti villages or wineries, the trip might be longer.
Is Chianti worth visiting?
Tuscany is well-know for being an incredibly beautiful wine region and destination in Italy, and Chianti is entirely part of the area’s beauty. Whether you are a wine-enthusiast or not, Chianti region is home to hilltop vineyards, close to amazing Renaissance cities such as Florence, and hides beauties within villages wand wine estates.
Is Chianti a town or region?
Chianti is a wine region of Tuscany, located between the cities of Florence, Pisa and Siena.
What is Chianti wine?
Chianti wine is an Italian wine coming from the Chianti wine region in central Tuscany. Chianti wine is dominantly produced with Sangiovese grape variety only grown in the Chianti region, that give the wine cherry and earthy flavors, highly acidic and with a medium body.
What food to pair with Chianti wine?
The best way to enjoy Italian wine, is with Italian food of course. About Chianti, it pairs well with a large variety of food thanks to its medium-body and savory characteristics. It goes perfectly with BBQ meat for example, or charcuterie spreads.