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Shopping, Parking & Getting Around

  • Shopping

    Browsing for ceramics in Gaiole or cashmere in Radda makes a change from wine-shopping. Tuscan ceramics made here and around Radda are often inspired by ancient models, including Renaissance designs. The Medici dynasty had sets of dishes designed for each of their country villas, virtually inventing the concept of elegant place setting. Also consider a foray to neighbouring Castellina to taste great ice cream and to stock up on speciality foodstuffs such as artisanal honey, bottled sauces and dried pasta.

  • Atelier Radianza

    Dutch-born ceramicist and artist Lies Robbertsen runs this appealing local studio. She is inspired by nature and architecture and paints with oils and acrylics, as well as on pottery.

    Address: Via San Martino 4
    Frazione
    Lecchi in Chianti
    53013
    Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: (+39) 3351741573
    Web: www.radianza.com

  • Castello di Brolio shop

    Castello di Brolio, a famous Chiantishire castle, lies between Gaiole and Castelnuovo Beradenga. The Brolio wine-tasting experience and gift shop can form part of a great day out, as does the route there. This is classic Chianti countryside, with its mix of vineyards, olive groves, oak and chestnut woods. Records attest to the Ricasoli family having been in wine since 1141 so count on buying some fine vintages and possibly even some lovely wine glasses. Along with Chianti Classico, the estate also produces Super Tuscans, such as Casalferro. Even so, the market leader in the Super Tuscan stakes is Ornellaia and Masseto, produced by the rival Frescobaldi wine barons. While at Brolio, book a visit to the castle cellars, tour the estate, taste the wines, and see the family museum.

    Address: Castello di Brolio
    Localita Madonna a Brolio
    53013
    Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: 0577 7301
    Web: www.ricasoli.com

  • Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm

    Consider visiting the Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm outside Radda to see a delightful herd of cashmere goats. Or make it a proper outing. After petting or feeding the kid goats, browse for hand-woven Tuscan cashmere scarves, shawls, throws, hats, socks and baby blankets.

    Address: Chianti Cashmere
    Azienda Agricola La Penisola
    La Penisola
    53017
    Radda in Chianti
    Tel: 0577 738080
    Web: www.chianticashmere.com

  • Luxury designer outlets

    For a complete change of scene, designer shopping fans could head to the luxury outlets in the Valdarno area. The Mall Firenze is a thirty-minute drive east from Florence, on the Pontassieve road. There’s also a direct shuttle bus there from Siena. After browsing the designer brands, end your shopping experience in the Mall’s Gucci café and restaurant.

    Address: The Mall
    Via Europa 8
    50066
    Leccio Reggello

    Tel: 055 8657775
    Web: www.themall.it

  • Parking

    The parking in Gaiole is outside the town centre on the Strada Provinciale 408 or in the car park on via Marconi. Note that most Tuscan towns operate a strict ZTL system, a Limited Traffic Zone. This means that the Centro Storico (historic centre) is essentially closed to traffic, particularly for non-residents. Cars will need to be left outside the walls. That said, the Chianti towns are small so present far less trouble than such cities as Florence and Siena. Parking tips: for advice on individual Chianti places, please see our individual Destination guides, including those on Greve, Panzano, Castellina, Radda and Castelnuovo Beradenga. 

    Advice on ZTLs: You may see other cars crossing the ZTL boundary (Limited Traffic Zone) and assume you can proceed. Not so. The drivers crossing into the ZTL zone will probably be locals and have residents’ permits. Visitors do not so are liable to fines. Zones are monitored by cameras, so tickets are issued immediately and automatically, as soon as (and each time) the car crosses the ZTL boundary.

  • Getting Around

    The Chianti can be delightful driving country. Its appeal lies in the rolling countryside, array of vineyards and olive groves, relatively quiet roads, and the mix of small medieval towns. Public transport in the Chianti is rather sporadic so car hire makes the most sense if you want to explore the area properly. Driving in the Chianti can be deeply enjoyable experience, especially with a detailed map or GPS navigator to hand. For a great day out, try a customised tour with Chianti Taxi.

    Greve, the main gateway from the north, lies on the SR222, commonly known as the Chiantigiana, about 30 km south of Florence and 40 km north of Siena. From Greve, the scenic Chiantigiana meanders through the Chianti, passing through most of the typical villages. This is a charming route to take by day. At night, however, you might encounter wild boars, porcupines or deer crossing the road.

    From Florence and the Chiantigiana head towards Greve, then further south to Radda and Gaiole.  Or pick up the Florence-Siena Raccordo Autostradale highway (known as the RA) and take the San Donato in Poggio exit before following the SP101, which becomes the SP76.

    From Siena, leave town on the fast Florence-Siena Raccordo Autostradale highway (known as the RA), taking the Badesse exit for the SP 119, which becomes the SR222, the Chiantigiana. Or take the quieter, slower route from Siena: take the SR2, which becomes the more tranquil SR222 until Castellina and then onto Radda and Gaiole.

    By private tour: Chianti Taxi, a reliable Panzano-based transport service offers day-long private tours around the Chianti and beyond. These are customised tours that can take in everything from olive oil mills and wine estates to Pecorino farms and hand-painted ceramics. With his comfortable minivan, owner Daniele Mogni has the inside track on what you can do in the Chianti. It’s worth splashing out for a day so you can relax and drink your fill at the wine estates.
    Chianti Taxi. T: (+39) 389 8160050 & www.chiantitaxi.com

    The Chianti by train: this is not an easy place to reach by rail. The train service barely touches Chianti's attractions, which is part of the reason why the area is so peaceful. The main Chianti station is Castellina in Chianti, which is on the Siena-Florence line but you need to change trains at Empoli.
     
    The Chianti by bus: Buses connect Florence to Greve and Panzano but end there. These buses often provide a more useful service than the trains but the confusing 365 bus service (T: 800373760, freephone only & www.acvbus.it) still means that bus schedules are not always convenient and also operate a limited service on Sunday. Buses also connect Siena and Castellina: a Tiemme bus service (T: 0577 204111 & www.tiemmespa.it) operates around 7 services a day.  Buses also connect Castellina and Radda: a Tiemme bus service (T: 0577 204111 & www.tiemmespa.it). Buses also connect Siena and Gaiole: a Tiemme bus service (T: 0577 204111 & www.tiemmespa.it).

    On your bike: The Chianti is a lovely place to explore by bike. The combination of romantic Tuscan scenery and challenging gravel roads is what makes it enjoyable. The cycling races in the region also attract big crowds. Whether as a spectator or a participant, L’Eroica is worth following. This renowned amateur event that allows cyclists from around the world to experience the region while riding classic bikes. See Serious cycling – as a spectator or participant.

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