The Chianti area is world-renowned for its exquisite wines, which were awarded the DOC and DOCG
denominations in 1967 and1984, respectively.
But the Chianti goes far beyond wine production owing to the richness of its history, culture and archaeological sites.
Chianti derives from "Clante-i", the name the Etruscans gave to the hilly area stretching between two rivers,
the Pesa and the Arbia, and two cities, Florence and Siena, in the very heart of Tuscany.
Indeed, the territory is very rich in Etruscan archaeological sites.
Evidences of a glorious medieval past are even more tangible: hamlets and towns, churches, abbeys and monasteries,
castles and manors, watchtowers and city walls lend a special charm to the territory and testify to man's ingenuity.
To enjoy the scenery, it is advisable to avoid the Florence-Siena motorway, opting for more panoramic alternatives.
The "Via Cassia", the busier road that runs across the Chianti area from Florence to Siena touching several lovely towns,
follows the same route as the original, ancient Roman road that gives it its name.
This road is also travelled by interurban buses that make several stops along the way.
The "Via Chiantigiana" is the ancient road that crosses this territory, linking Florence to Siena, and is certainly the ideal
route to follow to visit the Chianti area.
Coming from the north, we find the town of Impruneta and the parish church of Santa Maria, dating back to 1060.
Shortly after, we cross the medieval town of Greve in Chianti, site of an ancient castle and, every September, venue of the Chianti Classico trade fair.
Moving on towards the south, we reach what once was a Florentine stronghold during the long war against Siena.
Castellina in Chianti stands proudly with its impressive fortress, locally called Rocca, and the Via delle Volte,
an arched passageway running along a stretch of the medieval town walls that offers breathtaking views from its loopholes.
Radda in Chianti is another lovely location, rather unique due to its elliptical layout, with the nearby fortified village of Volpaia,
built in the 11th century on the Florence-Siena border, where the medieval layout with castle and maze of paved lanes is still intact.
Gaiole in Chianti and its beautiful surroundings bespeckled with ancient castles are not to be missed.
The Castle of Brolio is perhaps the most striking, with its ramparts and bastions that offer a truly magnificent view of the rolling
Senese hills and the Chianti, where wild woods alternate with orderly, lovingly tended vineyards and olive-groves,
where nature and man live together in perfect harmony.