The Chianti area is marvellous in every period of the year, but in Autumn its beauty comes to peak: in the season that goes from the grape harvest to the olive picking, fields, woods and vineyards turns yellow, red and brown, the temperatures are still pleasant and allow to spend some nice time outdoor, visiting the enchanting hamlets of the vicinity, where to stop for a lunch or a snack, enjoy a wonderful glass of wine, and take countless pictures.
Our itinerary twists and turns throughout the “historic Chianti” in the territory of the municipalities of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina in Chianti, in the province of Siena. Those towns made part of the ancient Military League of Chianti, an important military stronghold of Florence in the long dispute against Siena, whose symbol was the black rooster that today seals all the bottles of the Chianti Classico wine. We made this trip on a mid-September Sunday, when the green leaves had just started to turn yellow, but if you visit the area between October and December, the Autumn colours will dominate the landscape, painted in soft and warm tones.
We started our trip from Gaiole in Chianti, driving on the SS 408 that proceed from Montevarchi in the Arezzo province, but anywhere you are accommodated during your stay in Tuscany, it ill be easy to get to the Chianti area and the three main hamlets cited in this post just with the use of a map or a satellite navigator, starting your itinerary from the hamlet that is more convenient to you. In the area of Gaiole, besides the central square of the hamlet, other attractions that are worth a visit are the medieval parish church of Spaltenna, the magnificent walled hamlet of Vertine, and the imposing Castle of Meleto. For all the details about this lovely area visit this specific post.
We left Gaiole on the SP 2 toward Radda in Chianti, and just before the intersection with the SS 429, if you turn your eyes upward on your right side, the magnificent Villa Vistarenni will reveal in all its splendour: the Villa is an historical manor house dating back to the 17th century and dominates the landscape with its majestic facade. Honestly, every time drive on this road, I can’t help stopping the car to admire this spectacular villa.
On our way to Radda, we have deviated from the SS 429 a couple of times, the first one to take pictures of the spectacular vineyards that surround Castello d’Albola, on a hill with an enchanting view of Montevertine, the second to get the walled medieval hamlet of Volpaia, perfectly preserved.
We finally got to Radda in Chianti, where we stopped to have luch at the Bottega di Giovannino, a typical place located on the main street of the hamlet, within its surrounded walls: traditional bruschette, cheeses and cured meats, and delicious pasta are accompanied by a good choice of Chianti Classico and other wines of the region. When we are in the area, we often give this place a visit to get a bite to eat, either for lunch or the afternoon snack (the Italian merenda): it’s the right choice for very tasty and well priced food. After lunch, we take a walk through the town centre, featured by narrow alleys and the splendid Palace of the Podestà, whose facade is decorated with the coats of arms of the local noble families. Strolling around the walls, the gaze dominates a spectacular landscape of hills, woods and vineyards that in Autumn are painted in all the shades of red, yellow and auburn.
We left Radda still on the SS 429 and got to Castellina in Chianti, another lovely medieval hamlet, surrounded by an enchanting panorama of vineyards and olive trees, and then we visited the fascinating castle of Fonterutoli dominated by the Villa of the Marchesi Mazzei, renowned wine producers.
Beyond these suggestions, the best way to enjoy the atmosphere of Chianti and its fantastic Autumn colours galore is driving around following not only the navigator but also, and especially, your inspiration: the nature has been generous with this territory, the respectful work of man had dotted it with isolated castles, villas, farms, hamlets and parish churches, and the deep and soft colours of this period of the year make all simply perfect.