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Castello di Verrazzano - explorer’s castle and wine estate

  • Castello di Verrazzano - explorer’s castle and wine estate

    Crowning a hill 3 km north of Greve, this castle was the birthplace of explorer Giovanni da Verrazzano (1485-1528) who discovered the Bay of New York. His feat is commemorated in the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in New York, between Brooklyn and Staten Island (an `r’ was lost mid-Atlantic). Verrazzano’s log books go further, recording the first-known descriptions of the Hudson River, the Bay of New York and large part of east coast America. The explorer’s efforts on behalf of King Francis I were rewarded with great honours, including the right to put the French fleur de lys on the family crest. This great Tuscan seafaring family included map-makers and admirals among its number before dying out in 1819.

    Today, Castello di Verrazzano is best-known for its renowned wine cellars and wine museum. The estate produces high quality Chianti Classico wines, along with olive oil, honey and balsamic vinegar. The castle was saved from near ruin by the present owner, Cavaliere Luigi Cappellini, who has restored it to its ancient splendour. Concerts are sometimes held on the magnificent roofed terrace, and wine tours take place in the castle’s 16th-century cellars.

    The estate offers a range of different tours, from garden tours and gourmet lunches to food and wine experiences and straightforward wine-tastings. The rustic-elegant restaurant, L’Hosteria della Cantina, specialises in wild boar dishes and straightforward, seasonal Tuscan cuisine, including tasting menus and wine-pairing. On the menu are grills, T-bone steak and pasta with meaty ragu sauce or local herbs. All the produce is Tuscan and often organic from the estate vegetable gardens, A range of menus caters to everyone from foodies to vegetarians and small children.

    Address: Via Citile 32, Località Greti, 50022 Greve in Chianti
    Tel: 055 854243
    Web: www.verrazzano.com

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