Villa breaks in Tuscany. History, winery, cooking lessons in Chianti

So here I am, ready to take you on a 3-day trip to Chianti region in Tuscany.

Tuscany is famous for its numerous wine regions, beautiful countryside, food and, of course, art cities.

I planned a tour in the Chiantishire. That is the informal nickname given to an area of Tuscany, where many upper class American and British citizens have moved or usually spend their holidays.

Most of all in the Classical Chianti Region is possible to enjoy historical villas, sweet hills, vineyards and wine cellars, B&B’s in the countryside, truffle hunting and cooking classes. Even if Chianti wine is one of the most famous and appreciated wines around the world, Chianti region is even more than “just” wine. The great food and wine aren’t the only reasons to head to Chianti though. This Italian Region is rich of history.

At Bargino in San Casciano in Val di Pesa: Antinori winery

First stop-over. We will start our tour with a visit to Antinori winery, in the wine business for over 600 years. At last we’re in the Classical Chianti of Bargino, in Val di Pesa, near Florence. Antinori is one of the best know producers of Chianti wines, with an ultra modern plant. It was commissioned to the Florentine architect Casamonti by the family to be a monument to the Chianti Region. The winery and wine cellars are literally hidden within the hill, while on top you will find a fine dining restaurant surrounded by vineyards.
The winery is open daily for tours in different languages. And all tours end with a very pleasant tasting of the Peppoli and Villa Antinori red wines. Two of their best labels. As well as the sweet and precious Vin Santo.

This is a great experience, highly recommended to those with a passion for wines as well as for architecture and industrial design.

Where they are
Via Cassia per Siena, 133 Loc. Bargino. 50026 San Casciano Val di Pesa, Florence.
Directions: HERE

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
In Petriolo in Greve in Chianti: Vignamaggio historical villa

Second stop-over. After this great start, we’ll head to Vignamaggio, in the small town of Greve in Chianti. This is a completely different structure from the previous but equally interesting. It was the Villa of the aristocratic Gherardini Family, where, at the end of the 1500’s, Monna Lisa was born to later become the model of Leonardo’s Gioconda. This place is so amazing that it was used several times as a movie set.

The tour ends with a combo called “degumerenda”. That is a wine tasting and snacks where the best wines are paired with cheeses, cold cuts, bruschette and olive oil. Simply delicious.

Where they are
Vignamaggio is in the geographical and oenological heart of the Chianti Classico region, 33 km from Florence and 35km from Siena. Two of Tuscany’s most important cities. The villa is in Petriolo, less than 4km from the centre of Greve in Chianti and 8km from Panzano.
Directions: HERE

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
B&B i Fagiolari in Panzano in Chianti: Tuscany cooking lessons

The last stop of the day will be nearby at the B&B i Fagiolari in Panzano in Chianti where we will take a cooking lesson to learn some super typical Tuscan recipes.

Anna, one of the two owners will be in the kitchen to guide us through the preparation of a lentil, kale and chestnut soup. Moreover a very “peppery” stew. At last, the well known cantucci. During the preparations we’ll discover that Anna was previously a solicitor in a big law firm in Turin. Then she decided to quit her job to reinvent herself in this small and quiet town in the Tuscan hills. She often “uses” her holidays to travel overseas and teach Italian cuisine to her loyal American customers. Good tip for the US readers!

The cooking lesson brings great satisfaction to all. Thank goodness, considering that everyone is to feast on the results of their gourmet training! So later we may enjoy a fine dinner and a pleasant evening in the common area, in front of the chimney, playing chess.

Where they are
Bed & Breakfast Fagiolari is located near Panzano in Chianti, a tiny Tuscan hill town halfway between Florence and Siena. On the road SSS 222.
Via Case Sparse (Panzano), 25, Greve in Chianti FI

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
Guicciardini-Strozzi estate In San Gimignano

The second day will be a “once in a lifetime” experience as we go truffle hunting, escorted by Princess Irina Guicciardini Strozzi.

Yes, all true, as we will be in San Gimignano, locality Cusona. In the Guicciardini- Strozzi estate that includes vineyards, villas, cellars, fields and woods. Into farm’s wood, the Princess Guicciardini-Strozzi, the tartufaio (a professional truffle hunter) and two very precious truffle dogs, will help us unearth the white truffle.

If the weather is favorable and with some luck, in roughly 2 hours perhaps we can find a hearty 250 gram treasure of this precious and valuable mushroom.

In addition, after the hunt we can visit the historical cellars for exactly the time the chef needs to prepare our tagliolini with truffle, of course.

During lunch we can savor, among others, the Vernaccia, an outstanding white wine, renowned in the 1500’s as the Pope’s favorite. What a morning, what a lunch we’re in for!

Where they are
Località Cusona, 5, 53037 San Gimignano (Siena) Italy
Directions: HERE.
Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessonsVilla breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons
Barone Ricasoli estate and Brolio castle in Gaiole in Chianti

At last, we are ready for the last stop of our tour, the Barone Ricasoli, the oldest wine-producing company in Italy, which started in 1141.

We can visit the Baron’s castle. The armory, the crypt and the beautiful surrounding park and gardens. It is truly an historical site, as the Baron, besides his intent to create perfect wine, was also the Italian Prime Minister during the Cavour era.

The tour ends with a visit to a modern wine producing centre and with the tasting of Classical Chianti (of course), but also Vin Santo, Malvasia and Rosè. These maybe less famous in this area but indeed sophisticated and of high quality.

This is all for such a short but intense trip. Admitting, we might be slightly tipsy at the end of all the wine tastings but, we will indeed be happy to bring home, not only a good number of premium bottles of wine. Also an incredible experience of new places, culture, history and recipes. As well as the memories of great hosts.

I hope you’ll be lured by all this through these lines and pictures.

Where they are
Barone Ricasoli, loc. Madonna a Brolio, 53013 Gaiole di Chianti (SI)
Directions: HERE.

Luisa

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Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

Villa breaks in Tuscany. Lost in Chianti between villas, winery, cooking lessons

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