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Chianti is a region of Tuscany and extends across the provinces of Firenze and Siena. Of course to many it is known for its Chianti wines.

On our 2009, - 2010 - 2012 travels in this area we stayed in what is known as the Chianti Classico area, an area of about 100 square miles that includes the towns of Castellina in Chianti, Gailole in Chianti, Greve in Chianti and Radda in Chianti.

The wines of the Chianti Classico area are described as medium-bodied with firm tannins and medium-high to high acidity. Floral, cheery and light nutty notes are the characteristic aromas of the wines. People like Mary Ewing-Mulligan have noted that Chianti Classico from the Castellina area tend to have a very delicate aroma and flavour. We can attest to that, as we purchased and drank some extremely wines in Fonterutoli which is just down the S222 from Castellina in Chianti and Pietrafitta - where we stayed at the Borgo di Peitrafitta -- which we have noted on our Great Places to Stay web site. We also were able to visit Panzano. While we were not taken with Gailole in Chianti, just up the hill is one of the best preserved medieval towns in all of Tuscany, Vertine.

There are eight different zones of Chianti and if you are drinking a wine that is simply labeled "Chianti" is is most likely a blend of the grapes from this zones (Colli Fiorentini - South of Florence, Chianti Rufina - north east section near Rufina, Classico - the central area between Florence and Siena, Colli Arentini - near Arezzo, Colli Senesi - south of Classico in the Siena hills and would include such wines as Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Colline Pisane west of Pisa, Montespertoli and Montalbano.

When we are in Florence we have eaten at the Restaurant Frescobaldi (in our Great Places to Stay), who also own large vineyards in Rufina. The Rufina wines are noted for "complexity and elegance of taste". Just we liked the wine!



Located about 5 km from Castellina in Chianti, we had a walk about the small town and enjoyed a very good lunch in Fonterutoli

The town had its time in terms of history. In 998 Otto III, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire issued an order to transfer the possessions of the Church of Arezzo to the Siena Committee. In 1202 and 1208 peace treaties giving the Chianti Region to the Republic of Firenze were signed here.



Pleasant little village of Fonterutoli.


Old stone houses of Fonterutoli.

Fonterutoli Restaurant

Osteria di Fonterutoli, with tables both inside and outside in the yard. We had a very good lunch here.

Fonterutoli Restaurant

Chris Grant at Osteria di Fonterutoli

Our friend and travel companion, Chris Grant, with a great bottle of Classico Chianti from Castello di Fonterutoli. A great meal and very good wine.

Next down the S222 is the town of Castellina in Chianti.

Castellina in Chianti

This is a very pleasant town. We have often stayed at the very pleasant Borgo di Pietrafitta which is about 4 km from Castellina in Chianti.

You can park at one of the parking lots either just outside the town, or behind the Coop Store and then walk down the main street of the town to enjoy the feel of this town. Stop at one of the bars, have a seat outside and enjoy the ambiance and the view. Heck, this is where we discovered the Aperol Spritz. No better brink than on a hot Tuscan day.

Aperol SprtizAperol Spritz

5 oz sparking wine, in Italy, Presecco of course
1 oz Aperol
Splash of selzer or Soda Water
Slice of orange for garnish

Just fill the wine glass with ice, pour over the Presecco, add the Aperol, top with a splash of Soda. Garnish and enjoy.

At one time Castellina was a boarder between the Etruscan ruled territories of Volterra, Chiusi and Fiesole. They were always at odds against each other. At one time the town was surrounded by a wall and protected with two gates. One gate towards Siena, the other gate towards Florence. Unfortunately the gates were destroyed (the Florence gate was destroyed in the 2nd World War). The wall remains in many areas, with houses built right up to and into the wall itself.

The Castle still stands and dates from the 15th Century.

The Via delle Volte is an arched passage that leads along the eastern wall of the town. Originally this walkway along the wall was open, but over time, private buildings were built up to the walls and covered the walkway.


Castellina in Chianti

Via delle Volte in Castellina in Chianti.

Castelinna in Chianti

Small stores on the street of Castellina in Chianti.

Views from Panazno

View from the old town centre of Panzano.


Pleasant gardens in the old part of the Panzano.

Dario  Cecchini

Dario Cecchini's in his butcher shop, Antica Macelleria Cecchini, in Panzano.

Chris Grant in front of Macelleria Cecchini

Friend Chris Grant in from of the Antica Macelleria Cecchin in Panzano. Chris as read about Dario's butcher shop in one of Jamie Oliver's cook book. When we realized that Panzano was just down the road, well off we went for a morning around the town and a visit to Dario's shop.

Roast pork meal at Borgo Pietrafitta

For a sunday dinner when we were staying at the Borgo di Pietrafitta I cooked up the pork roast that Dario has prepared, along with roast potatoes, zucchini and tomatoes. Hard to go wrong when the roast is this good!


There are numerous pleasant towns to visit. Don't look from dramatic architecture, but you will experience truly enjoyable old towns to walk about and just enjoy.


We traveled to Panzano, located about 20 minutes from the Borgo di Pietrafitta to visit Dario Cecchini's Antica Macelleria Cecchini - the noted butcher that sings (sometimes) and puts out a spread of food for his customers and friends to drop in and enjoy. This shop is noted in one of Jamie Oliver's cookbooks. We were hoping he would be signing on the Sunday morning we were there. Well he wasn't but he prepared a pork roast for us stuff with branches of rosemary that was excellent.

I am an artisan who seeks and offers "Quality".
I select my cuts of meat with a view to offering the best to my customers and to putting my work in the finest light.
Trust in what I suggest, or at any rate, I ask that you consider my research and passion for meat outside of the usual parameters.
Letting passion guide you means looking for the best good. Join me in my choices as you see fit. Just maybe thirty years in the butcher shop have taught me a thing or two.
Buon appetito! (If the spirit moves you.)

Dario Cecchini


On our 2010 travels through the Chianti Region we stoped by Gaiole in Chianti, and although we were not particularly taken with this small town, just up the hill is the medievel town of Vertine which we thought was much more interesting.

In the 11th century the town was a posssession of the pwerful Ricasoli Family. At one time the Florentine Republic banned the Riscasoli family, but that only prompted the family to better protect Vertine and the Florentine troops were never able to overtime the town for some time. In the end, however, the Florentines dismantled the castle.






Pieve di San Bartolomeo a Vertine, 15th Century church.



Vertine, because it was never the centre of wars, has survived very much intact. The castle and the walled town still stand. As you approach, the rectangular tower that functioned as a keep can be seen as you drive up the hill.

There are two gates through the walls, the north gate is intact, the south gate has the upper arch is missing.