If you are planning to tour Europe consider visiting the Chianti area of the famous Tuscany region in central Italy. Depending on your interests, this beautiful area might be an ideal vacation spot. You can get classic Italian food, and wash it down with fine local wine. Many tourist sites are very popular, in particular during high season, but are well worth the visit. Make sure to read the companion articles in this series that present eastern Tuscany and western Tuscany.
Chianti is famous for wine, which has improved substantially over the decades. It is also the name of a central Tuscany area south of Florence. Greve in Chianti, named for the river running through it, is a market town and the area’s unofficial capital. Start at the Piazza Matteotti an arcade with a centuries-old bustling Saturday morning market. The Franciscan monastery is at the heart of the old city. The village of Montefioralle is home to the Church of Santo Stefano, which boasts a Thirteenth Century Madonna with Child and a Fifteenth Century Trinity and Saints. Nearby is the hilltop Verrazzano castle now restored to its historic splendor.
Radda in Chianti sits on a hill dividing two valleys. The beautiful Castello di Brolio includes an enormous wine estate (230 hectares - more than 500 acres) that has been producing wine for nearly one thousand years. To the east is the Badia a Coltibuono (Abbey of the Good Harvest) sitting in another millennial (or close to it) wine-producing area. A Romanesque church is surrounded by 2000 acres of woods crossed by walking paths.
San Gimignano is a UNESCO World Architectural Heritage site. It once boasted 70 towers, medieval defensive skyscrapers. Only 14 are left, which is 14 more than in most cities. Visit the Romanesque Collegiata with a Fourteenth Century fresco cycle of Old Testament scenes and Sant’Agostino displaying many masterpieces of the Italian renaissance artists. Its façade is very modest but it hosts many fine works of art including Fifteenth Century frescoes representing the life of Saint Augustine. The town center contains four squares or Piazzas. You’ll want to see the People’s Palace with a hall named for a famous visitor, Dante, the Museum of Sacred Art, the Archeological Museum, and the Raffaele De Grade Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art.
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his website www.travelitalytravel.com devoted to Italian travel with an accent on fine Italian wine and food. Visit his central wine website www.theworldwidewine.com with weekly reviews of $10 wine and columns devoted to various aspects of wine including wine and food, humor, trivia, organic and kosher wine and lots more.Click to access the original, longer article on this Italian tourist location.
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