The best of Chianti in one day? Visiting it all on a limited time is a virtually impossible feat considering the many things to see and do. Yet, here is a fascinating one-day itinerary in the Florentine Chianti, suitable for those who, despite having little time available, don’t want to miss some of the wonders offered by this extraordinary territory!
Setting off from our villa, the first stop on the itinerary is San Casciano in Val di Pesa, the northern gateway to the sinuous landscape of Chianti. Already inhabited in Etruscan times, it is a typical medieval village rich in history and tradition. After a pleasant walk in the central and elegant Via Machiavelli, we suggest visiting: the Torre del Chianti, an ancient piezometric tower that has become a panoramic terrace, from which you will be able to enjoy a fantastic view of the surrounding hills. Then move on to the Museo Giuliano Ghelli (Giuliano Ghelli Museum), which houses all the works and art collections originating from the San Casciano area.
After having relaxed for a bit, the itinerary continues in the ancient, fortified village of Montefioralle, a small jewel that retains all the splendours of its medieval origins. Stop here to admire: the Chiesa di Santo Stefano (Santo Stefano Church), which collects works by painters dated between the XVth and XVIth centuries; and the castle, indicated as the home of the Vespucci family, the same as the famous navigator Amerigo. A few kilometers from Montefioralle is the ancient monastic complex of the Abbazia di San Michele Arcangelo a Passignano (San Michele Arcangelo in Passignano Abbey), set among cypresses on the top of a hill. The following are of considerable interest: the church, which houses works of great artistic value; and the great hall of the refectory inside the monastery, with the Last Supper painted in fresco by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
The next stop is San Donato in Poggio, a charming perfectly preserved medieval village. Situated on top of a hill, it is still today surrounded by the XIIIth-century walls, along which stands a very peculiarly shaped watchtower. The heart of the village is the suggestive piazza Malaspina (Malaspina square), overlooked by: the elegant Palazzo Malaspina, whose late Renaissance structure can now be admired; and the Chiesa di Santa Maria della Neve (Santa Maria della Neve Church), in Gothic style.
Finally, about 15 kilometers from our relais in Chianti, the last stop in our itinerary is Barberino Val d’Elsa, one of the most enchanting villages in the entire territory. Walking through its medieval alleys you can breathe an authentic out of time atmosphere. In the village, still partially enclosed within the ancient walls, you can admire: the Palazzo Pretorio, with its facade filled to the brim with coats of arms; the Spedale dei Pellegrini, founded in the XIVth century to give shelter and hospitality to pilgrims; and the Church of San Bartolomeo, which overlooks a beautiful terrace facing the hills.