Orcia Valley – Chianti
Tuscany extraordinary scenery
We will stay at the splendid Borgo San Felice in CASTELNUOVO BERARDENGA, a 5-star hotel of the renowned Relais & Chateaux chain. Located on a hill at an altitude of 1100 ft above sea level, a few miles from SIENA, surrounded by 350 acres of vineyards, the Borgo has remained largely unchanged over the centuries and still has the architectural features of the medieval buildings, the chapel and the stone houses.
The tour will continue with visits to:
PIENZA, the charming village that dominates all the Orcia Valley with extraordinary views: the “ideal” city of Renaissance, famous for its pecorino cheese;
the Abbey of Sant’Antimo, a Benedictine monastery that is one of the finest examples of Romanesque architecture;
the small, enchanting village of BAGNO VIGNONI, clustered around the ancient pool of sulfurous water beloved by Lorenzo the Magnificent.
We will visit MONTALCINO, famous the world over for its Brunello. The town stands on the top of a hill overlooking the valleys and vineyards below, and the ancient nucleus, surrounded by walls, lies along the main road that opens into the great square of piazza del Popolo.
SAN QUIRICO D’ORCIA is an ancient fortified town on the pilgrim trail of Via Francigena, with 13th century walls that are almost perfectly intact and topped with towers. The Collegiate Church (13th century) features fine Romanesque doors and houses an excellent triptych by Sano di Pietro.
In GAIOLE DI CHIANTI we will visit the Castle of Brolio. The property, owned by the family of Baron Ricasoli, is the oldest Italian winery and it now the largest producer of Chianti Classico: it was in the vineyards around Brolio Castle that Baron Bettino Ricasoli invented the formula of Chianti wine in 1872. The valleys, hills, oak and chestnut woods as well as 600 acres of vineyards and 65 acres of olive orchards of the property encompass all the beauty and variety of soil and climate of this central portion of the Chianti district.
Along the Via Chiantigena we will discover MONTERIGGIONI, a village enclosed by almost perfectly intact walls with 14 towers, crowning a hilltop in a rare example of medieval military architecture. It was an outpost of Siena against the Florentines in the 13th century, and was won and lost by both many times.
In SAN CASCIANO IN VAL DI PESA we will visit the architectural marvel of Cantina Antinori. Inaugurated in 2012, the new winery designed by Archea Studio is an innovated structure harmoniously integrated in the surrounting landscape of vineyards. We will visit the superstructure, the museum area and the storage rooms before a light lunch in the lovely restaurant located on the roof of the cellar, with vast windows overlooking the surrounding valleys.
In PANZANO we will pay a brief visit to the Ancient Macelleria Cecchini, where Dario Cecchini, scion of the eighth generation of a family of butchers, recites the Divine Comedy while he serves the clientele.
We will continue to GREVE DI CHIANTI, a town developed around the characteristic triangular arcaded plaza that was a marketplace in the Middle Ages, at the service of the nearby castle of Montefioralle. Visit and wine tasting at Verrazzano Castle. Standing on the summit of a hill in the heart of the Chianti Classico district, its olive groves and vineyards were described in official documents going back as far as the 14th century. We will visit the ancient cellars, still in use, and the late Renaissance gardens, as well as tasting the wines and oil.