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Panzano

The historic centre of hilltop Panzano unfolds along quaint alleys, bounded by a stretch of battered city walls. Medieval Panzano was a pawn between the feuding powers of Florence and Siena so constantly changed hands. Architecturally, this fortified outpost suffered during the conflict but vestiges of its medieval heart survive, though not its castle. A walk along the walls allows for scenic glimpses of the countryside. Restaurants lining the walls offer views of the Chianti hills and vineyards. Instead, the café-lined main square is the place for lapping up the small-town atmosphere and contemplating lunch. Modern-day Panzano is the preserve of Dario Cecchini, an eccentric celebrity butcher so a meaty feast forms part of the Panzano experience. But first turn your mind to loftier thoughts: the loveliest Romanesque church around. San Leonino, a romantic parish church, awaits on the next hilltop, a reminder that the Chianti can do churches, too.

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