Villa Gamberaia is surrounded by one of the most famous formal gardens in Tuscany, perhaps in all Italy. The grounds of Villa Gamberaia may be visited by the public upon payment of an entrance fee and it is also possible to arrange a tour of the villa itself. The best way to reach the villa is by car or taxi from Florence, although it is also possible to take the bus from Florence to Settignano and to walk the rest of the distance to the villa.
Lamole is located on a high ridge on the other side of the valley of the Greve river from Panzano, and is a popular half-day excursion from Panzano. To get there, drive down from Panzano into the valley towards Greve in Chianti and turn to the left at Barbiano, pass across the Greve flood plain and thence uphill past a number of very small villages to Lamole.
The castle of Panzano is located on the highest and oldest part of Panzano. Panzano was a settlement of Roman origin that developed during the Dark Ages and is mentioned in several documents from the 11 C onwards. Panzano was a fief of the powerful Firidolfi family and for centuries the main centre of the Val di Greve League. Consequently it was also the most fortified centre and this is confirmed by the remarkable remains of the castle that was constructed, probably later than those of Montegrossi and Brolio, by the Ricasoli-Firidolfi family, around the feudal keep.
Greve is a larger town than Panzano and offers a greater variety of shopping possibilities as well as a very good Saturday market where a large range of inexpensive clothing and shoes is offered, in addition to fruit and vegetables, and household hardware. There are also a considerable number of restaurants in Greve.
The current Oratory dates back to no earlier than 1441, when Pope Eugene IV was in Florence. A special indulgence was issued to anyone who had made a donation for the construction of the oratory. The oratory was surely reconstructed at that time because in the oratory as it is now, under the porch, there are the remains of filaretto in the initial part of the right wall, remains that belong to a building of a more modest size, perhaps the building mentioned in the document of the 12 C.
The earliest surviving documentation of Pieve di San Leolino at Panzano dates from 982, under the name San Leolino a Flacciano, in a parchment held at the Abbey of Passignano, although two sculptural fragments preserved inside church suggest that it might have an even older origin. Structural and stylistic characteristics suggest that the Pieve di San Leolino dates back to the 12 C.
Vino al Vino is a wine tasting event that takes place in the main piazza of Panzano in Chianti every year during September, usually during the four days consisting of the third weekend of September and the preceding Thursday and Friday. This is usually one week after the much larger Chianti Classico Wine festival (Rassegna del Chianti Classico) that takes place in nearby Greve in Chianti.
Montefioralle, often referred to locally at “il castello di Montefioralle”, is a tiny and very charming walled village located about 1.5 km uphill from Greve in Chianti and 7 -8 km from Panzano. It takes roughly 15 minutes to drive to Montefioralle from Panzano, along one of two routes. Along the main road to Florence, the Chiantigiana (SR222), you drive through Greve and turn left at the second traffic light, and then drive uphill for 1.5 km.
Lorella Federico, who is a professionally trained Italian language teacher, lives in Panzano in Chianti and offers you the chance to learn Italian in Italy. She provides Italian lessons at all levels for individuals and small groups visiting or living in Chianti.
Scattered through the territory of Chianti, there are a number of small museums, mostly of an ecclesiastical or folkloric nature, that are well worth visiting when you are in the area. These small museums often house exquisite treasures that once decorated churches and monasteries that are no longer extant or which have in fact been converted into museums. The small size of these museums makes it much easier to study and appreciate their treasures than is sometimes the case in the huge and sometimes crowded metropolitan museums. Don’t miss them.
An e-bike tour in Chianti should be on the list of 10 things to do before turning 100! The rolling hills – immersed in the quiet of the Tuscan countryside – are covered with vineyards and their perfect geometry alternates with olive groves, offering a scenario that will enchant you.
On 25 April every year – National Liberation Day in Italy – the “Festa della Stagion Bona” is celebrated in Panzano in Chianti. The festival begins with a parade up the main street of Panzano, via da Verrazzano, with many of the inhabitants dressed in traditional costumes, some as wealthy people, others as peasants, and some are the participants in the open-air play that follows.
Here are our top recommendations for knowledgeable, English-speaking minibus drivers for tours anywhere in Tuscany. For visitors to Tuscany who don’t drive or don’t wish to drive, there is an excellent alternative to public transport which allows you to create your own tour, namely, a private minibus driver guide. Our three recommendations all speak excellent English and are very knowledgeable about all aspects of Tuscan life, history and art. They have pre-planned tours that you can choose or, alternatively, are happy to work with you to create your own day tour.
Dario Cecchini descends from a long line of butchers and has recreated an antique-style macelleria on the site of the family shop which was destroyed during the war. As well as being an extremely creative butcher and an excellent cook.