It’s been a little while since I posted about my time in Rome and Florence, and I appreciate you guys waiting so patiently for the recap of my stay in Tuscany because it was, hands down, my favorite part of the whole vacation. I took so many dang photos that it’s taken me three and a half months to sort through them all and pick out a few for the blog. The countryside was breathtaking, the night sky was magical, and the food and the wine (oh, the food! the wine!)…there are no words. Quite simply, I need to go back one day.
Greve in Chianti is a small Tuscan village just south of Florence in the famed wine district of Chianti. If you’re a wine lover, you’ll have your choice of dozens of wineries and vineyards in the area to visit. Be sure to also stroll the town “piazza”, which is lined with quaint restaurants, wine shops, and several medieval buildings.
Greve in Chianti is fairly far from the main roads and highways, so you’ll be treated to seemingly endless views of rolling hillsides, farm land, olive groves, and vineyards.
We rented a car in Florence and drove to Greve in Chianti – the 20 mile drive took about an hour, with jaw-droppingly beautiful scenery along the way.
We stayed at Podere Torre, a cozy inn at the top of a hill overlooking the Chianti countryside. Podere Torre is technically an Agriturismo, a popular style of accommodation in Tuscany that essentially means you’ll be staying in a rural farmhouse.
I could gush forever about Podere Torre and its lovely owner/innkeeper, Cecilia. I’ve described Cecilia to family and friends as the “Italian grandmother that everyone wishes they had”. Cecilia oozes hospitality from the moment she welcomes you to her home until the moment you leave – from the carafe of homemade wine that awaits you in your guest room, to the hearty breakfasts she cooks each morning, to the personal recommendations she’s eager to make on the best places to eat and drink, you are treated like family during your entire stay.
The property has its own olive grove, vineyard, and vegetable garden, shaded lawn complete with an outdoor ping-pong table underneath the fig trees, and an infinity pool that overlooks countryside so beautiful it’ll make you weep.
Podere Torre is a bit out of the way, but it’s well worth the bumpy drive up the hill for the views and the gorgeous silence that fills the air each day. If you’re looking to unplug, you’re not going to do much better than this (internet connection is spotty at best here, so, you don’t have much choice in the matter anyway).
Our room had a comfy bed, plenty of drawer space, a big bathroom, and its own private entrance. There is a kitchen on the property that is available for guest use, so should you be inspired to cook with the amazing food available in Tuscany, you can whip up a dinner one night at the inn and give your credit card a break (as we did – tomato basil salad, white bean minestrone, crusty bread, and a bottle of local wine…amazing). This is one of my favorite places I’ve ever stayed (anywhere, ever), so make sure to book a room well in advance so you don’t miss out on the amazingness that is Podere Torre.
Restaurants + Food:
The food in Tuscany needs no introduction, so let’s get right to it:
Ristorante la Castellana - This restaurant is located in the beautiful medieval village of Montefioralle, which is a relatively short walk from Podere Torre. The atmosphere is cozy and intimate, the service friendly and efficient, and the food divine. Order the bruschetta and pasta with fresh truffle.
1 Via di Montefioralle, Greve in Chianti
La Birroteca di Greve - Of course we managed to find a brewpub in the middle of wine country – this one gets added bonus points for having several vegan/vegetarian menu options! I had the tofu sandwich here, which was really flavorful and a nice break from all the pasta I had during our trip. Lots of locals here and friendly servers. Oh, and good beer, too.
Via Vittorio Veneto 110, Greve in Chianti
Co-op – This is the main supermarket in town, so if you want to pick up picnic goodies, ingredients for cooking dinner, happy hour supplies, etc, you’ll find a good variety of food and wine here. It’s right off the main street (SS222) near the piazza.
Greve in Chianti Farmer’s Market - The farmer’s market comes to Greve’s piazza every Saturday, where you’ll find local fruits, vegetables, breads, olive oil, wine, and other goods. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to visit the Greve farmer’s market since I wasn’t in town on a Saturday, but it’s a safe bet for finding the freshest food that the area has to offer.
Activities + Wine:
When you’re in Tuscany, your days will likely revolve around food and wine (see: reasons why I want to move here). When it comes to the wine, there are a lot of vineyards/wineries to choose from. I’m here to help you narrow it down.
Altiero Vino e Olio - This is a small, family run vineyard/olive oil producer that is open to visitors, so long as you call in advance to schedule a (free) tour and tasting. Upon arriving, you’ll be greeted by Paolo Baldini, Altiero’s friendly owner/winemaker. He’ll take you on a tour of his vineyard and let you taste several of his delicious wines, including Chianti Classico, Rose, and a Super Tuscan. This is a really cool, quaint place – his adorable young daughter and sweet dog came along on the tour, and we felt like we were guests in his home throughout our visit. He was happy to answer all of our questions and pour us extra tastings of our favorite wines – we loved everything we tried so much that we bought several bottles to enjoy back at home.
Via San Cresci 58, Greve in Chianti
Villa Vignamaggio - This is one of the larger vineyards in the area, located on the grounds of a picturesque, sprawling estate that was once home to Lisa Gherardini, aka Mona Lisa. For a small fee, you’ll be able to taste several wines and olive oils from the estate. Tours are extra.
Via Petriolo 5, Greve in Chianti
Castello Verrazzano - Castello Verrazzano is another large vineyard/estate in the area that is well worth a visit. You can tour the grounds of the grand estate and vineyard on one of several group tours given each day. You’ll learn about the history of the estate (once home of the same family that the Verrazzano Bridge in New York City is named after) and then sit down to taste many of the wines produced at the vineyard.
Via Citille, 32A, Greve in Chianti
San Gimignano - Once you’ve had your fill of wine, it’s worth taking a day trip to San Gimignano, a small medieval hill town in the province of Siena, Tuscany. The drive from Greve in Chianti is about 1-1.5 hours.
San Gimignano is famous for its beautiful towers and historic buildings, and although the streets are now lined with souvenir shops and tourist cafes, the city still maintains an authentic feel. We enjoyed stopping for Espresso and shopping for artisan pottery and textiles (I picked up some gorgeous Italian linen napkins in one of the local shops). San Gimignano is very picturesque, so be sure to bring your camera.
Next up – Positano!