1-800-454-5922 Toll Free

Sign in


Things to Do

San Donato in Poggio makes a charming base for activities as varied as visiting abbeys and villas or exploring vineyards on a Vespa tour. As well as discovering some of the Chianti’s loveliest wine estates, you could learn how to blend your own wine. Hiking through the vineyards is another temping option. Magical ballooning trips run from neighbouring Tavernelle Val di Pesa. As for culture, consider day trips to San Gimignano, Florence or even Siena.

This is just a taster to the Chianti. See our specific guides to top Chianti towns and villages nearby, all accessed through our Destinations listings, For starters, check out our guides to Gaiole, Greve, Panzano, Radda, Castelnuovo Beradenga and our general Chianti guide. Our additional Chianti guides cover Castagnoli, Volpaia, San Gusmè, Lecchi and Vagliagli.

Things to Do

Vineyards on a Vespa

Panzano, just east of San Donato, is the place to indulge in a passion for Tuscan meat, including Florentine T-bone steak. This Tuscan bastion is the meaty preserve of Dario Cecchini, a cleverly eccentric celebrity butcher with a mini empire in these parts. No one can wield a bloody meat cleaver better, still less while reciting Dante. Part butcher, part showman, Dario keeps his audience entertained as well as over-fed.

Work up an appetite by strolling along the walls and admiring the Chianti countryside. Restaurants lining the walls offer views of the Chianti hills and vineyards. Before lunch, call into L’Accademia del Buon Gusto for a wine-tasting with one of Tuscany’s most colourful characters. Stefano Salvadori is a gracious, old-school host who offers free tastings of Tuscan wines, olive oils and vinegars, all the while waxing lyrical about Chianti wines. Expect to leave enlightened, amused and possibly laden down with wine.

The café-lined main square is the place for lapping up the small-town atmosphere and contemplating lunch. With several restaurants in town, all clustered round his famous butcher’s, Cecchini is still doing a brisk trade. The restaurants are fairly priced so there’s no sense of being caught in a tourist trap. The winning format appeals to most visitors, as does the conviviality and showbiz side. T-bone steak predominates, at least in L’Officina della Bistecca. For any beef-loving Tuscan, bistecca alla fiorentina – a huge, tender T-bone steak, grilled over an open fire and seasoned with nothing more than crushed peppercorns, salt, and a hint of garlic and olive oil, served very rare – is the ultimate steak. Bear in mind that all is not bleak for vegetarians: there are strong meat-free menus for those of a more squeamish disposition. Basic wine is included in the price but you can also bring your own.

After lunch, work off the calories by walking upto the Pieve di San Leonino, Panzano’s loveliest church, set on a hilltop just outside Panzano. Inside the Romanesque pieve are precious artworks, including della Robbia terracotta tabernacles and a medieval triptych of the Virgin and Child.

L’Officina della Bistecca is reviewed in our San Donato Eating & Drinking section below.
L’Accademia del Buon Gusto, Piazza Riscasoli 7, 50022 Panzano in Chianti
T: 055 856 0159 &http://www.accademiadelbuongusto.com
See our Panzano restaurant listings for full recommendations.

Read more

Panzano for a stroll, wine-tasting and meaty feast

Panzano, just east of San Donato, is the place to indulge in a passion for Tuscan meat, including Florentine T-bone steak. This Tuscan bastion is the meaty preserve of Dario Cecchini, a cleverly eccentric celebrity butcher with a mini empire in these parts. No one can wield a bloody meat cleaver better, still less while reciting Dante. Part butcher, part showman, Dario keeps his audience entertained as well as over-fed.

Work up an appetite by strolling along the walls and admiring the Chianti countryside. Restaurants lining the walls offer views of the Chianti hills and vineyards. Before lunch, call into L’Accademia del Buon Gusto for a wine-tasting with one of Tuscany’s most colourful characters. Stefano Salvadori is a gracious, old-school host who offers free tastings of Tuscan wines, olive oils and vinegars, all the while waxing lyrical about Chianti wines. Expect to leave enlightened, amused and possibly laden down with wine.

The café-lined main square is the place for lapping up the small-town atmosphere and contemplating lunch. With several restaurants in town, all clustered round his famous butcher’s, Cecchini is still doing a brisk trade. The restaurants are fairly priced so there’s no sense of being caught in a tourist trap. The winning format appeals to most visitors, as does the conviviality and showbiz side. T-bone steak predominates, at least in L’Officina della Bistecca. For any beef-loving Tuscan, bistecca alla fiorentina – a huge, tender T-bone steak, grilled over an open fire and seasoned with nothing more than crushed peppercorns, salt, and a hint of garlic and olive oil, served very rare – is the ultimate steak. Bear in mind that all is not bleak for vegetarians: there are strong meat-free menus for those of a more squeamish disposition. Basic wine is included in the price but you can also bring your own.

After lunch, work off the calories by walking upto the Pieve di San Leonino, Panzano’s loveliest church, set on a hilltop just outside Panzano. Inside the Romanesque pieve are precious artworks, including della Robbia terracotta tabernacles and a medieval triptych of the Virgin and Child

L’Officina della Bistecca is reviewed in our San Donato Eating & Drinking section below.
L’Accademia del Buon Gusto, Piazza Riscasoli 7, 50022 Panzano in Chianti
T: 055 856 0159 & http://www.accademiadelbuongusto.com
See our Panzano restaurant listings for full recommendations.

Read more

Badia di Passignano - abbey and Antinori wine estate by private tour

Just north of San Donato is Badia a Passignano, a moody hamlet centred on a Benedictine monastery. Known as the Badia di Passignano, it was founded by the Vallambrosan order in 1049 but is now equally famous for being a wine estate owned by the Antinori wine barons. If you’d like to indulge in a leisurely wine tasting, abbey tour and dinner, consider leaving the driving to Daniele Mogni at Chianti Taxi. A customised route can be created for you, taking in several other lesser-known estates. Make a full day of it by tailoring the day to your tastes, with a visit to a Pecorino farm, olive oil mill or hand-painted ceramics workshops. Leave the logistics to a true Chianti local.
Badia di Passignano can, of course, be reached under your own steam. All around are vineyards belonging to the Antinori Chianti estates. This particular Antinori wine estate is given over to vineyards of Sangiovese grapes and olive groves. This Florentine-based wine dynasty have been peddling the `nectar of the gods’ in Tuscany since 1385.  Before succumbing to the wine option, spend a bit of time in the fortified abbey where the great Galileo Galilei taught in the 16th century. Pre-book a guided tour with one of the handful of remaining Vallambrosan monks to admire a refectory decorated with a magnificently restored Last Supper by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

If more earthly concerns are on your mind, then the abbey can also sustain you. The Antinori’s Michelin-starred restaurant occupies part of the vaulted abbey, with the so-called `historical cellars’ located immediately below the abbey. At the estate you can sample Antinori signature wines, whether Chianti Classico wines or Super Tuscans. Famous names are Tignanello, Guado al Tasso, and Solaia, as well as Chianti Classico Riserva Badia a Passignano. Book an Antinori wine-tasting and cellar tour, possibly even an oil-tasting, followed by lunch or dinner in their onsite fine-dining restaurant. L’Osteria di Passignano or their far simpler Trattoria della Fonte in a farmhouse nearby. Instead, L’Antica Scuderia is the best dining option for families or anyone fancying a pizza.

Chianti Taxi. T: (+39) 389 8160050 & http://www.chiantitaxi.com
This reliable Panzano-based transport service offers day-long private tours around the Chianti.
Badia di Passignano (Passignano Abbey): T: 055 8072341 (English); 055 8071171 (Italian) 
Antinori Passignano estate: T: 055 8071278 & http://www.osteriadipassignano.comhttp://www.antinori.it
Badia di Passignano, Localita Badia a Passignano, 50028 Tavernelle Val di Pesa

Read more

Ballooning over the Chianti

If weary of wine estates or in search of romantic memories, consider an amazing balloon ride over the Chianti. This works well for most people, from couples to families. Being on board a hot air balloon should provide a magical new perspective on Tuscany along with great photo opportunities.

Very probably you will float above the hills around San Donato or Castellina in Chianti and recognize Castellina’s tower and the walled medieval fortress. That said, the precise route isn’t decided until the balloon launch as it all depends on the weather, especially the winds. Given the strategic location of the launch site in Tavernelle Val di Pesa, you should be able to admire the highlights of central and southern Chianti. This might range from Tuscan castles and Renaissance villas to aerial views of San Gimignano and the prettiest Chianti hamlets and wine estates. Certainly, there will be memorable views of silvery olive groves, vineyards and rolling hills. On a clear day, if the balloon flies high enough, you may glimpse the Mediterranean sea reflecting the morning sun.

The launch site is Tavarnelle Val di Pesa, in the western Chianti, west of San Donato in Poggio. The hot air balloon rides take off in the early morning due to the ideal air conditions found at that time. Ballooning is never cheap (around € 250 per person, with a basket holding from four to ten people) but it makes for an unforgettable experience. For more, consult Balloon in Tuscany, the operators.

Balloon in Tuscany. T: 055 8077940 & http://www.balloonintuscany.com

Read more

A drive to Greve and a rural walk to Montefioralle

Enjoy a scenic morning’s drive to Greve, the capital of the Florentine Chianti and, after a stroll around the town centre, head for the hills on a short hike to medieval Montefioralle. In Greve, potter around the porticoed Piazza Matteotti, the main square. Glance at the neo-Renaissance Town Hall, the Palazzo del Comune, and the parish church of Santa Croce, with its neo-classical facade. Drop into Bistro Falorni (Piazza Matteotti 71) for a welcome glass of Chianti Classico in preparation for your hike. Wine is big business in Greve and has been for centuries.

Perched on a hill just outside Greve is medieval Montefioralle, a tiny, walled `borgo.’ This hidden gem is just five minutes’ drive west of Greve but makes a delightful walk. From Greve, it’s a short, steep but rewarding 2km hike ending in wonderful views. Start in via di San Francesco off via Roma. The winding route leads to the walled settlement, once the feudal castle. Although no longer a military outpost, Montefioralle is still fortified. The walls were once octagonal, bounded by four gates, parts of which survive.

Following the tides of Tuscan history, the village has belonged to the Ricasoli, Benci, Gherardini and Vespucci families. The village was the birthplace of Amerigo Vespucci (1415-1512), who followed Columbus’ route to America. The explorer’s ancestral home lies along the main street, and is indicated by his coat of arms, incorporating a wasp. Wander along narrow alleys and secret passageways past well-preserved stone-built houses. The village is surmounted by the church of Santo Stefano but panoramic views also await in the local inns.

Unless you’ve brought a picnic from Greve, opt for lunch in a Montefioralle inn, such as the romantic La Castellana or the simpler La Taverna del Guerrino. La Taverna is a Slow Food haunt but looks rather like a `hole-in-the-wall’ place, despite being blessed with a panoramic terrace. Typical dishes include Tuscan grills (cooked on a wood-fired grill) and pasta dishes. The best seasonal pasta dishes are tagliatelle al cinghiale (with wild boar), tagliatelle al tartufo fresco (with fresh truffles) and tagliatelle ai funghi porcini freschi (with fresh ceps). Alternatively, have a late lunch back in Bistro Falorni on the main square in Greve.

Read more

Vignamaggio – Renaissance villa estate and gardens

The Renaissance villa estate of Vignamaggio is linked to great art. Set east of San Donato, the wine estate is delightful enough to have starred as a film set, based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The romantic villa lords over its Italianate gardens and vine-clad hills. The serene landscape supposedly inspired Leonardo da Vinci. The castle was remodelled as a patrician villa in the 14th century and belonged to the Florentine Gherardini family. Monna Lisa Gheradini, better-known as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, married into this family in the 14th century.  The villa boasts a crenellated tower, 16th-century corbelled arches and courtyard, with the top of the tower remodelled in Neo-Gothic style.

Centred on the lovely Renaissance villa, this tenuta is an established 65-hectare wine estate, and one of the oldest in Tuscany, dating back to 1404. The award-winning wines range from Chianti Classico and trendy Super Tuscans to a fresh Rosé, a Cabernet Franc, Vin Santo and grappa. Orchards, herb gardens, wheat-fields and thirty hectares of olive groves reflect the estate’s commitment to biodiversity. The villa grounds showcase Italianate, Renaissance-style gardens, complete with cypresses, clipped box parterres and rose-draped statuary. French owner and architect Patrice Taravella has recently spruced up the grounds, adding orchards, classical pool fountains and pergolas.

Vignamaggio now offers garden and cellar tours, as well as a free wine-tasting. The farm-to-table Ristorante Monna Lisa means much of the produce comes from the surrounding organic estate. Wine-pairing lunches are on offer, as are guided tours of the estate, ending in a sunset dinner. The seasonal menu celebrates Tuscan produce, from vegetable platters drizzled in home-produced olive oil to pasta with pistachio and garden-mint pesto. The pork and cured meats come from the estate's happy herd of cinta senese pigs.

Read more

Experience an official tuscany tour with

Hot Air Balloon Flight Over Tuscany from Siena

Admire the gorgeous landscapes of Tuscany from above on this 1-hour hot air balloon flight from Siena! This thrilling hot air balloon ride takes you up 2,000 feet (609 meters) over the rolling hills, classic Italian villas, imposing castles and sprawling vineyards and olive groves of the Tuscan countryside. Toast to this unforgettable experience with a glass of sparkling wine upon landing.

from $286.49

Three days honeymoon in Tuscany

Spend three days in the wonderful and relaxing tuscan landscape enjoying several experiences.
Include:
• 1 day off road tour in Chianti area  (15 wine tastings, 2 grappa tasting, 3 EVO tasting, guide, vintage SUV, gasoline, insurance, lunch. About 6h tour);
• 1 day cooking class (chef, food to prepare, wine. About 3h);
• 1 day in a magic Wellness & Beauty Spa (Include a wellness entrance with the alternation of Sauna, Turkish Bath, Energizing Showers, Detoxifying Wrap (30 minutes) and Emolinphic Draining Massage (50 minutes)).

from $1,696.03

Private tour - Palatina Gallery and Raphael Masterpieces

The Palatina Gallery is one of the most precious museum in Florence.
It's located in the beautiful palace where the Medici family and the Lorraine family lived and it houses amazing masterpieces from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century, realized by famous artists such as Raffaello, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Andrea del Sarto.
It will be a special experience plunged into art history.

from $198.63

Homemade Pasta! Cooking Class in Florence city center

Enjoy a Pasta cooking class with great typical Italian recipes and taste the fruit of your hard work in the city center of Florence.

from $79.07
Enquire