The Chianti Experience
2020 Dates: May 30 – June 6; June 6 – 13
The Chianti Experience was launched in 2011, and we’ve hosted groups in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019.
Tuscany covers an extensive area of almost 9000 square miles in central Italy. Our Experience week focuses on the famous wine region of Chianti, located between Florence and Siena. Chianti is absolutely beautiful! You’ll find it surprisingly rural… very hilly and very green… filled with vineyards, olive trees, and forests… dotted with ancient villages… guarded by medieval castles… surrounded by incredible views. The Chianti wines are outstanding, the food is exceptional, and the people are very welcoming. We’ve been spending time in Tuscany for over 15 years and hosted Chianti Experience groups here since 2011. We’ve made such wonderful friends and always look forward to our return.
The Chianti Experience is based in Castellina in Chianti, an area with a history dating back to the Etruscans in the 7th century BC. Today Castellina is one of the most important Chianti wine villages with a population of about 2800 people. Located on the Via Chiantigiana that winds through the countryside between Florence and Siena, the village has restaurants, cafes and wine bars; a pharmacy; small food shops; art galleries; a post office and ATMs; a variety of specialty shops; and one of the best gelato shops in the region.
Our accommodations are in a 17-room former palace in the village center of Castellina. It’s the perfect environment for a relaxing week in Tuscany, set on the edge of the vineyards with beautiful views of the countryside from the terraces and swimming pool.
The Chianti Experience will follow the same approach as our other Experience trips, including a variety of special activities and experiences:
- A walking tour of Castellina to learn more about its history and life in the village today.
- Visits to the nearby Chianti wine towns of Greve and Radda and the small hilltop villages of Panzano, Volpaia and San Donato in Poggio.
- A day “beyond Chianti” to another stunning and very different area of Tuscany: the beautiful Val d’Elsa and the town of San Gimignano with its medieval towers. We’ll have lunch at a family winery just outside the town, featuring excellent white wines of the region.
- A day trip to the city of Siena, including a walking tour with a fun local guide and time on your own for exploring, shopping and lunch.
- A memorable visit to the Florence American cemetery, where over 4400 Americans killed in Italy during World War II are buried.
- Visits to wineries and an olive oil workshop to learn more about the famous Chianti wines and of course to taste the wine. We’ll also sample the local olive oil.
- A cooking class and dinner with Stefania and Anna, two experienced cooking teachers.
- Wonderful meals in a variety of settings, giving us an opportunity to experience the local cuisine and food specialties, including several meals in private homes hosted by our local friends.
- Time for relaxing at our beautiful hotel, exploring the village, and enjoying the lovely views from the terrace and the swimming pool.
Experiencing a Village: Castellina-in-Chianti (Kathy’s blog)
Falling in Love Again… with Chianti! (Charley’s blog)
A Chianti Experience: Lunch with Janet & Stefano (Kathy’s blog)
A Chianti Experience: Dinner at Lamole (Kathy’s blog)
A Chianti Experience: Our Friend Francesco (Kathy’s blog)
A Chianti Experience video (by Ivan Hollins)
Travel to and from Chianti
Our location in Chianti is ideal for combining this Experience week with additional travel in other areas of Italy, including the renowned cities of Florence, Rome and/or Venice. We recommend traveling to Italy at least one day before our trip begins, to allow time to adjust to the time difference and a buffer in the event of any travel delays. Depending on your final destination, it may be possible to book a return flight on Saturday afternoon from Florence if you are heading home immediately after our trip.
Our meeting/drop-off point is the main train station in Florence, about an hour from Castellina. We’ll meet the group at 2:00 pm on the first Saturday and drop-off at 9:30 am the following Saturday morning.