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Lecchi in Chianti

  • South of Radda, Lecchi in Chianti lies at the foot of a hill surmounted by the tumbledown castle of Monteluco. The quaint hamlet is lined along the main road which rises upto Ama. With its distinctive stone houses and dignified church, this backwater looks much as it did in medieval times. It was then an area of great estates linked to landowners such as the Ricasoli wine barons. Crowning the hill is Monteluco castle, which dates back to 1176. The castle was a Sienese bastion but battered in attacks in the 15th and 16th centuries. The fortifications feature a ruined hilltop fort surveying the Massellone valley, backed by a limestone watchtower below. Local walks link Lecchi to the lovely hamlet of San Sano, complete with home-cooking in a quiet inn. Trails through vineyards fan out from Lecchi, including a walk to Localita Molinaccio for a summer swim in river pools.

  • Top Things To Do

    Lecchi lies in the southern Chianti and so is well-placed for cultural outings to Siena. Closer to home, it’s all about contemporary art in vineyards and outings to the lovely Chianti towns of Radda, Gaiole and Castellina in Chianti. It’s also about the Chianti dolce vita, with wine-tasting tours, fine dining and rustic inns, including in castles. That’s in addition to cycle rides, Vespa tours and summer swims in the local river. It’s an outdoorsy lifestyle. Florence and San Gimignano are further away but still make tempting day trips for culture-lovers.

    This is just a taster to the Chianti. See our specific guides to top Chianti towns and villages nearby, all accessed through our Destinations list.

  • 1. Castello di Ama for contemporary art

    Castello di Ama, Lecchi’s most local `castle,’ is actually not a castle but a hilltop estate and villa restaurant, doubling as a centre of contemporary art. This leading Chianti Classico producer a mere 2km north of Lecchi is a working wine estate known for its superb, full-bodied reds. At first sight the Castello is yet another traditional borgo, a stone-built hamlet nestling in the Chianti hills. Slowly, it becomes clear that wine, food and contemporary art are all part of the picture. This was the wine estate that entranced the Obamas on their post-presidential tour of Tuscany.

    The wine is master-minded by Tuscan Marco Pallanti, regularly crowned wine-maker of the year, with wines often in the world’s top ten lists. The estate’s San Lorenzo is a Chianti Classico gran selezione DOCG, a category considered the finest expression of its kind. The 80 hectares of vineyards cover different terroirs, from rocky schist to clay and gravel, with another 40 hectares given over to olive groves. The olives end up in the estate’s extra-virgin DOP Chianti Classico olive oil.

    The grounds are home to a world-class collection of contemporary art installations. This ambitious collection, Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea (Castello di Ama for Contemporary Art)
    The sculptures respond to the setting, much as the wines do, and are being added to each year. Castello di Ama repurposes original buildings, such as an on-site church and wine cellar, to showcase art installations in a striking way. The art is hard-core contemporary rather than soothingly pastoral.

    Book a wine tour and tasting, come for lunch, visit the sculpture park, or simply visit the estate’s Enoteca to sample and buy the wines, olive oil and nature-inspired home fragrances.

    Address: Castello di Ama, Localita Ama, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746069

  • 2. Dievole estate cycling, picnicking or wine-tasting tour

    Consider a cycle ride or a gourmet picnic in the vineyards around Lecchi if you want more than a wine-tasting experience. A variety of tempting rural experiences can be booked through the Dievole  estate, which may well end with a candlelit dinner in one of the estate restaurants.

    Just south of Lecchi lies an appealing cycle route that takes you past rolling vineyards in leisurely fashion. Expect flitting butterflies, trilling birds and the smell of baked earth as you cycle. The route begins in the hamlet of Vagliagli, with an intriguing 26 km trail around vine-clad slopes. At its heart is the Dievole wine estate, a 400-hectare property 12 km north of Siena. Although it’s a private estate, anyone is welcome to ride the trail, which has recently been revamped and signposted. The `new’ trail was devised by an estate-worker, who knows the land like the back of his sun-leathered hand. In one sense, the trail is as ancient as the hills and was used by Tuscan sharecroppers for almost a thousand years. Ideally consult the Dievole estate before setting off on the trail and consider booking the gourmet picnic option.

    Address: Wine Resort, Località Dievole 6, 53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga SI

    Tel: +39 0577 322632

  • 3. Radda in Chianti day trip - for wandering, wine and a goat farm

    Radda in Chianti is a mere 9 km north of Lecchi and makes for the perfect day out, whether for couples or families.  In this delightful market town, begin with a visit to the region’s foremost shrine to wine, the Casa Chianti Classico. After a fun wine induction there, including a wine quiz at the Wine Museum, stay for a wine-tasting and rustic lunch in the centre. Then head to the Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm, just north-east of Radda, to meet (and pet) the region’s silkiest and best-loved cashmere goats. Learn how sustainable farming is producing the finest cashmere and be tempted to buy a keepsake. Then either return to Lecchi or drive a few km north to explore Volpaia, one of the Chianti’s moodiest villages, and stay for dinner there.

    Learn more by visiting our Radda in Chianti guide.

  • 4. Easy Chianti e-biking then dinner in Gaiole in Chianti

    Lecchi is a mere 10 km south of Gaiole in Chianti, a sleepy Chianti market town. The attractions mostly lie outside town and are best viewed on a near effortless cycling trail that takes in the countryside, castles and wine estates south of Gaiole. This is prime cycling country so make the most of it, even if you are not a fitness fiend on a racing bike. Best of all, you can do it on an electric bike on a full-day or half-day tour. These power-assisted bicycles are easy to use, even for first-timers.

    The reason the Chianti is so scenic is because it's so hilly. If you lack thighs of steel or the desire to face steepish ascents, then consider an e-bike. Based in Gaiole, Tuscany E-bike Rental run guided or self-guided e-bike tours in the Chianti area. On downhill slopes, they work like a conventional bicycle but on long, flat runs or if you’re going uphill, the electric motor cuts in and provides the help you need to reach your destination without breaking into a sweat. The e-bikes can be rented for as little as an hour or as long as a week. One typical guided route from Gaiole could take in the rolling hills of the Chianti, the Castello di Brolio and distant views of Siena. All this including a light lunch and wine-tasting on an atmospheric estate. This particular tour is a three-hour, 46 km affair reaching an altitude of 518 metres. There are plenty of easier or more challenging routes that can be suggested.

    Learn more by visting our Gaiole in Chianti guide.

    Address: Tuscany E-bike Rental, Via Roma 82, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 749355

  • 5. Castellina in Chianti day out

    Visit neighbouring Castellina in Chianti, a charming haunt 17 km north-west of Lecchi. Explore the Archaeological Museum to see finds from Etruscan tombs, including an amphora depicting drinking and feasting, showing that wine was a sign of status, drunk at rituals and ceremonies. Even though the tombs were built nearly 3,000 years ago, the creators can feel very much like ourselves. Climb to the tower-top walkway to enjoy sweeping views over the Chianti mountains, San Gimignano and the Val d’Elsa. Wander down via delle Volte, a quaint stone-vaulted street built into the side of the hill.

    Learn more by visiting our Castellina in Chianti guide.

  • 6. Chianti Sculpture Park for an engaging art trail

    The Chianti Sculpture Park, set in Pievasciata, south of Lecchi, makes a refreshing change from eating and drinking your way through the Chianti, lovely though that is. This harmonious Sculpture Park, also known as the Parco Sculture del Chianti, fills a small oak wood and even spills out into the local community. The route there covers a patchwork of olive groves and hills draped in vineyards, with sublime views unfolding around every hairpin bend. Once there, simply follow the wooded trail that winds past sculptures cast in a multitude of materials and styles.

    The Sculpture Park is curated by art-dealers Piero and Rosalba Giadrossi, who often help out so you might well meet them. The concept comes from the ancient Italian tradition of creating site-specific artworks for the outdoors. Around 40 contemporary sculptures by different artists are dotted through the woods of this 17-acre site. Along the way, you can spiral through a life-size labyrinth made of glass cubes, and gaze at a sculpted cypress-like sculpture that looks more vivid than the real thing.

    There’s also an amphitheatre in the park for outdoor summer concerts, with genres embarcing classical, opera, jazz, folk, Gospel and tango. Even the amphitheatre is arty, made of slabs of white Carrara marble from Michelangelo's quarry, black granite from Zimbabwe and the stage covered with lava-stone. Definitely pick up an audio guide to the Sculpture Park from the entry kiosk or download the app before you visit.

    Address: Chianti Sculpture Park (Parco Sculture del Chianti), Localita la Fornace 48, 53019 Pievasciata

    Tel: +39 0577 357151

  • Eating & Drinking

    Delightfully torn between tradition and creativity - like the contradictory Tuscans themselves - the wine scene allows for a duality between provenance and personality. In rural Chianti, food and wine are the real religion. Our recommended local wine estates with restaurants include Dievole, Castello di Ama and Castello di Selvole, all featured in this guide. 

    The local restaurants range from fine-dining to fuss-free inns and all specialise in versions of Tuscan cuisine. Pasta can be made with organic local flour and includes such stalwarts as pappardelle di lepre (pasta ribbons in hare sauce) or the same pasta with wild boar (cinghiale).

    This is just a taster to the Chianti. See our restaurant recommendations below and also consult our other guides to top Chianti towns and villages, all accessed through our Destinations listings.

  • Il Ristorante Malborghetto

    This much-loved, mid-priced inn is highly-rated by both the locals and visitors. Tuck into their vegetarian-friendly antipasti, including herbs and vegetables from the chef’s kitchen gardens. Book ahead and request a table on the terrace in fine weather. This village inn is set in Lecchi in Chianti about 5 km off the SS408 Gaiole-Siena road.

    Address: Loc. Lecchi in Chianti 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746201

  • La Grotta della Rana

    The hearty Tuscan home-cooking makes this inn equally popular with the locals and with chic Sienese coming for a Chianti outing. It’s a family affair, with Mamma in the kitchen and her children running the restaurant. The cooking is equally homely and reasonably-priced, ranging from pasta with courgettes and mushrooms to wild boar and rabbit dishes. Helped by a reliable and wide-ranging wine list, you can indulge in a leisurely lunch on the terrace. This inn is in the hamlet of San Sano, which lies between Lecchi in Chianti and the SS408 Gaiole-Siena road.

    Address: Localita San Sano, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746020 / 0577 746925

  • Il Ristoro

    Set on the lovely, rambling Castello di Ama wine estate deep in the Chianti hills, 2km from Lecchi, this gastro inn is all about showcasing the wine in an 18th-century villa. The short but seasonal menu is perfectly matched to the estate wines. Authentic, good-value dishes include pasta with wild boar sauce, chicken with black olives in wine sauce or a summery carrot and courgette soufflé with Pecorino sauce, and a hazelnut tart to finish. Pre-book a balcony table for sweeping views. To focus on the wine alone, choose the estate’s L’Enoteca.

    Address: Castello di Ama, Localita Ama, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746191

  • Shopping

    Shopping in Lecchi in Chianti is very limited but the neighbouring villages are an additional source of supplies. For more varied shopping options, head to neighbouring Radda, Gaiole, Castellina or, best of all, Siena.

  • Azienda Agricola Casanuova di Ama

    This small, family-run wine estate in the hamlet of Casanuova di Ama near Lecchi offers wine-tastings, along with sales of Chianti wines, Super Tuscans, Vin Santo, grappa and olive oil. Daniela, the owner, does brief tours, perhaps followed by a vegetarian-friendly lunch in the cosy estate inn for home-cooked Tuscan dishes, such as crostini slathered in tomatoes, home-made gnocchi, freshly-baked bread and cantuccini biscuits for dipping in Vin Santo.

    Address: Localita Casanuova di Ama, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746119

  • Bar Enoteca Rinaldi

    This adjoining small cafè with some tables outside is run by the son of the grocery shop owner. It’s a handy spot for breakfast, a morning coffee, light lunch or for an afternoon aperitif with local wine.

    Address: Via San Martino 12, Lecchi in Chianti, 53013 Gaiole in Chianti

    Tel: +39 0577 746021

  • Atelier Radianza

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

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

    Tel: +39 3351741573

  • Dievole

    This welcoming wine estate outside Vagliagli, south of Lecchi, is the place to stock up on good wine and olive oil - or be tempted to stay for lunch. The wine estate can also form part of a hiking or cycling trail.

    Address: Località Dievole 6, Vagliagli, 53019 Castelnuovo Berardenga

    Tel: +39 0577 322632

  • 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: +39 055 8657775

  • Parking

    Parking in Lecchi is rarely an issue but you can park along the SP Traversa del Chianti road. 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.

    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

    Lecchi in Chianti is 25 km from Siena and 49 km from Florence so Siena is the natural focal point for visits, though still a saga for parking. See our Siena guide for more.

    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 &

    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 & 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 & operates around 7 services a day.  Buses also connect Castellina and Radda: a Tiemme bus service (T: 0577 204111 & Buses also connect Siena and Gaiole: a Tiemme bus service (T: 0577 204111 &

    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.

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