Vacanze nel Chianti

Nel corso delle tue vacanze in Toscana a Villa Poggio Ai Merli visita la zona del Chianti .

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accommodation in tuscany: the tuscany castles
Since the Roman era Chianti Area has been a network of streets to reach commercial points, sanctuaries, stops for pilgrims to/from Florence. The most important street was via Cassia (the “strada regia romana), which cross Via Frangiciana in Poggibonsi, that represented the main link with Rome. Visiting Tuscany you can miss a visit in one of the splendid castles in the area of Chianti.
This tour lets immerse visitors in a medieval atmosphere that is a big part of Tuscany’s appeal. Villa Poggio ai Merli is located in a perfect position for those who want to visit the castles in the area of Chianti: castles of medieval age, evidence of a past that testifies the transformation of the area from a conflicting region in to the most important place all around the world for wine lovers, gastronomy and culture.
Itineraries in the area of Chianti: a plunge in the middle age. Castles to visit:
Castle Meleto
Castle Meleto is a huge fortress built in the XI century, which name probably comes from the large quantity of apples (apple in italian is "mela") in this land. It is thought to have been built between the years 1204 and 1242 and at first it was inhabited by monks of Badia a Coltibuono. Later the property passed to Ranieri de Ricasolis family, one of the mightiest in the Chianti. During their power castle has been expanded.
However, its position, on the border between Florence and Siena, was favourable for incursions. The harshest battle took place in 1478-1480 during the Aragonese War. The castle was also attacked during the campaign of the emperor Charles V, in Tuscany, to restore the government of the Medici in Florence.
In the XVIII century, the castle was transformed into a mansion-factory, with strikingly decorated halls, a little theatre built in 1742 - still existing – and a new outface. During the next century it became an important agricultural point and in the XX century the Ricasolis sold it to privates.
Nowadays, the castle is surrounded by 1000 hectares of soil, 180 of which are cultivated with vineyards of Chianti Classico and 30 with olive groves. It’s also possible make a guided tour of the castle, throughout the first floor (“piano nobile” in Italian) and the little theatre. On request, it is possible to take a tour through the basements dug in the undergrounds, made of several secret passages. Of course it’s possible to buy wine (Chianti Classico, Supertuscan), oil, honey, “vin santo” and brandy.
Castle Volpaia
Volpaia was meant to be a fortified village of medieval origin. The castle takes its name from the place, and it was probably built around the X century, along a territory that once was the border between Florence and Siena. The first document certifying its presence is dated back to 1172. Because of its central position, located on the summit of a hill in front of the Valle di Pesa, it was probably a crucial defensive point.
When Florence, in 1250, organized its territory in autonomous jurisdictions (better known as “Leghe”), Volpaia found itself in the “Lega Del Chianti”, among the populations of the “Terziere di Radda”. Volpaia obviously suffered the consequences of the centennial fight between Florence and Siena. In the middle of 1500 Senese republic fell and Castle of Volpaia lost its military function.
Today, most of the ancient walls of the fortified place are not there anymore, but it still maintain its highest part, placed in the centre of a pleasant little square and many civil medieval houses, restored and conserved, which give to the place a unique attractive. Volpaia’s most remarkable religious building is the Commenda of S. Eufrosino, dated back to the XV century.
Castle Verrazzano
The Castle di Verrazzano is located in the Florentine Chianti area and from there it’s possible to take a look on the Val di Greve. At first it was ruled by the Etruscans and after by the Romans.
It became property of Verrazzano family in the VII century and they used it as a war outpost, although there are no evidences of battles in the area. In the XV century it was transformed into a mansion with vineyards and olive groves.
Here was born Giovanni da Verrazzano, who, in service of Francesco I in the French navy, explored the costs of North America and discovered in 1524 the New York bay and the Hudson river. In the square of Greve he is remembered with a monument.
Local gastronomy is produced in the castle, more specifically Chianti Classico, Supertuscan, other wines, brandy, oil, vinegar and various kinds of cold pork meat. It is possible to visit gardens, basements and the boar farm. It is also possible to taste wines, pork meat and boar sausages in the brick-decorated places where wine bottles are exposed.
Castle Vicchiomaggio
The Castello Vicchiomaggio is an elegant white mansion, edged with stone decorations, placed in the middle of a typical Italian garden. It was built in the XI century by Lombards of noble birth, although the original building is dated back to the V century, like the basements, open for visitors nowadays. The castle had a relevant defensive role in the conflict between Florence and Siena. It was even mentioned by Leonardo Da Vinci, when he stayed in the Val di Greve.
He stayed as a guest for a short time and realized its most recognized painting all over the world: “La Gioconda”. But it also hosted Francesco Redi, scientist and lettered of the XVII century that here composed the “Bacco in Toscana”, considered to be one of the most important rhymed praises of wine.
It is possible to visit the basements of the Castle during all the year, tasting and buying directly wine, brandy and oil. It is also possible to spend the night in apartments and in the Castle, where a swimming-pool and a restaurant can be found.
Castle di Gabbiano
The Castle Gabbiano is placed in a property of 102 hectares of land, 55 of which are cultivated with vineyards, 13 with olive groves and the rest are woods. The tower was built in the XI century, whereas the basements are from 1124. In that era, the castle was the property of one of the most important Florentine families, the Bardi, who expanded the fortress in the XIII century with crenellated walls. Only in the first years of the XIV century, when the castle became a possession of the Soderini family, it was transformed into a farm.
It is possible to go on guided tours in the historical basements, where wine (Chianti Classico, Supertuscan), oil, “vin santo” and vinegar are sold. There’s also a restaurant and it is possible to overnight in castle chambers or in apartments set in farmhouses of the property. Cook lessons also take place in there.