The Chianti Experience
2019 Dates: June 1 – 8; June 8 – 15
The Chianti Experience was launched in 2011, and we’ve hosted groups in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.
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 ten years and hosted Chianti Experience groups in 2011, 2012 and 2014. 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; a post office and ATMs; ceramics 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 Montefioralle.
- A day “beyond Chianti” to another stunning and very different area of Tuscany. We’ll be accompanied by our friend Pino, who will introduce us to several of the most famous towns (such as Cortona and Montepulciano.)
- A day trip to the city of Siena, including a walking tour with a 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 three very different wineries 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 Giulietta, two experienced cooking teachers.
- Wonderful meals in a variety of settings, giving us an opportunity to experience the local cuisine and food specialties.
- A very special evening at the hilltop home of our friends Rita and Rosita, two sisters who live in a small castle above Greve. We’ll enjoy a warm welcome and a delicious homecooked Italian meal.
- 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: 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.