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Gaiole in Chianti

Hilly Gaiole is, of course, wine country but also castle country and cycling country. A decade ago, this sleepy market town was dubbed the world’s most idyllic place to live. Not much has changed since then so lap up the quality of life. This market hub is forever linked to the Ricasoli wine dynasty, whose ancestors supposedly launched the Chianti Classico brand in Brolio Castle. Apart from boasting of being the birthplace of Chianti Classico, Gaiole is celebrated in its own right. In medieval times it was one of the three capitals of the Chianti League, along with Castellina and Radda. The hilltop town is set among oak and chestnut forests but also surveys vineyards and olive groves. As a former military stronghold, Gaiole is ringed by medieval castles and fortified abbeys. The triangular-shaped main square is a stepping-stone to explorations of castles, cosy inns, wine estates and ancient abbeys.

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