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Wondering what to do on your upcoming visit to the rolling green hills of Greve in Chianti? The truth is, the wine-soaked region of Chianti is a peaceful retreat from the craziness of Italy’s bigger cities. Sandwiched between Florence and Siena, the little towns of Chianti offer peace and quiet, fresh air, and gorgeous views.
We chose to schedule a stop in Chianti after staying in Florence for a couple nights. It’s actually a super easy drive from Florence to Chianti, although tours from Florence are available as well. We rented a car for this, and generally found no trouble making the half hour drive to the town of Greve (besides navigating the maze of roads around the airport).
So, what can one do during a short stay in Greve in Chianti, anyways? Believe it or not, these vineyard covered hills are a fuss-free place to visit, and are perfect for pure relaxation. Below I am listing out the ways to best enjoy this picturesque Italian wine region.
What to Do When Visiting Greve in Chianti
Stay in an Agriturismo
One of the iconic ways to experience an Italian wine region is to stay at an agriturismo for a night or two. What is an agriturismo exactly? It’s a working farm, such as a vineyard, that uses a small portion of their land for accommodation.
We stayed at Castello Vicchiomaggio in Greve, which is a mid-sized winery that specializes, of course, in making Chianti Classico. They offer wine tastings and tours right on their property, and even have their own restaurant where they often host wine dinners. Another great perk of this place, which you’d likely find at similar agriturismos, is that a delicious breakfast buffet is included in the room price.
Travel Savvy Tip
The mosquitos were alive and well during our stay in mid August, and my ankles got all bitten up. Be smart, and wear bug spray when you go outside!
Do Some Wine Tastings
When planning what to do in Greve, you have to include a tasting of the region’s signature Chianti Classico wines. This can sometimes be done right at your lodging if you stay at an agriturismo such as Castello Vicchiomaggio. You can book tasting appointments right on their website, some of which also include a meal or a tour.
We did Castello Vicchiomaggio’s Gold Wine Tour, which included a short tour of the winery and a tasting of four extremely delicious red wines. We also visited their neighbor, Castello di Verrazzano, which you can see from Vicchiomaggio’s grounds on a hill in the distance. They did a lengthier, more in depth tour of their medieval wine cellars, followed by a tasting of four wines.
The verdict? Castello di Verrazzano’s tour was awesome and informative, and ended up our favorite of the two. That being said – we liked the wine at Castello Vicchiomaggio better. If you end up visiting both, I’d love to hear what you thought below!
A true Chianti Classico wine will always have a black rooster on the label. If you go into your tour already knowing this when the guide quizzes you, you’ll look like a wine expert!
Dine in Greve’s Charming Downtown
Down below the hilltops of Greve in Chianti is its charming little downtown, where you can find shops and restaurants. When planning what to do in Greve, a visit to a couple of these establishments is definitely in order.
We made reservations to a couple of spots for each of our nights in Chianti. To be honest, I highly recommend making a reservation for dinner whenever possible. Good restaurants in Greve get quite busy around dinner time, which could cause you to wait or miss out all together.
On our first night we checked out an excellent pizza place called La Cantina. We must have been pretty hungry that night because my hubby and I each got our own pizzas. While I can’t recall what my husband ordered, I got a pizza with prosciutto and gorgonzola on it (aka heaven).
We definitely failed at eating a whole pizza by ourselves, but it was very exciting to have leftovers the next day! They were still pretty tasty after sitting in our room’s mini fridge all night too.
On our last evening in Greve in Chianti, we wanted something a little nicer than pizza. We opted for Enoteca Fuori Piazza, which is right by La Cantina in Greve’s little downtown. We went big that evening, each doing our own wine tasting with our meal at five pours a piece.
Road Trip to Greve in Chianti’s Surrounding Villages
Chianti’s website has a handy little road trip itinerary through Chianti Classico that gives you a reason to get out and explore a little bit. The original plan assumes you are based in Florence, so I tailored it into a loop that starts and ends in Greve (I’ve linked to it here). Without stopping, this drive would take around two hours, so I’d plan for at least four total.
To be honest, this drive was much more about the views than the towns for us. We only had a few hours to devote and didn’t take much time to explore. It was a gorgeous drive, though, and definitely worthwhile. Just be weary of all the locals who whip around blind turns and only loosely abide by the center line on the road…
This drive winds you up and down through the countryside past plenty of scenic overlooks onto the vineyard-covered hills. As for the towns themselves, they are mostly pretty small, with some having more charm than others.
The towns at the beginning of the drive tended to be busier with less available parking spots. Thankfully, the further south we got (away from Florence basically), the less crowded the towns became. Eventually, we made a stop in Castellina in Chianti to have a picnic with our leftover pizza from the night before.
We didn’t stop again until Barberino val d’Elsa, where we checked out a local café for a charcuterie board. We actually got more than we were bargaining for, as this unsuspecting spot had a breathtaking view from its patio. There was also a highly recommended winery nearby called Castello di Monsanto that we hoped to explore.
Unfortunately, this winery was closed for most of August, so we had to skip it. This tended to be a theme on our trip, as August is the time of year that many Italians go on holiday. This was especially apparent in these small villages, with many businesses shut down.
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That about sums up the highlights for what there is to do in and around Greve in Chianti. Although the area is very attractive to tourists, the Chianti region is still very focused on its wine production. Therefore, the best way to experience this place is to slow down and enjoy the view with a glass of locally produced Chianti Classico. If you can have that wine with some locally made pasta or pizza, even better!