A trip to Chianti represents a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone. In addition to fabulous vineyards and olive groves, this area is famous internationally for its wine and oil. There are abbeys, villas, castles, wineries and restaurants to visit and enjoy.
Departing from your ship in La Spezia, we proceed towards the beautiful countryside of the Chianti region and, following the "Wine Road" between vineyards and olive trees, we'll reach Greve in Chianti, the small village, named after the nearby river, expanded considerably during the 14th & 15th centuries, where we find a monument to Giovanni da Verrazzano, the explorer who discovered the New York Harbor. We see Piazza Matteotti with its porticoes, the Santa Croce church, the San Francesco convent and a series of typical, tiny, local shops and wine-cellars. One of the most famous is the butcher shop Falorni, which has been located in the piazza for 500 years.
You can have free samples of many of their locally produced products. Many famous people from Hollywood (and you thought they were vegetarians!!!) order beef, salami, and ham from Falorni. To find out names, just pop in and ask. In Greve there is also the enoteca "Le Cantine" where you will be able to taste not only more than 100 different wines, but also olive oil, vin santo and grappa, all produced in the Chianti area - a showcase for the region's wines. Time permitting, we will also stop at the Bonollo grappa distillery and at Montefioralle, a small village above Greve, which still preserves its medieval architectural flavor. After Greve, we depart for the magnificent Castle of Verrazzano*, situated on top of a hill between Florence and Siena, in the heart of the Chianti Classico wine production area. It was originally an Etruscan settlement, then a Roman one, until becoming the property of the Verrazzano family in the 12th century. Giovanni da Verrazzano, who discovered the bay of New York and the main part of the East Coast of America (the suspended bridge in New York with the longest span in the world is named after him) was born here in 1485.
At the Castle guided tours can be booked to see the gardens, the centuries-old ageing cellars and, as a curiosity, the wild boars which breed naturally in the surrounding woods. Together with the world famous wines, all the various products of the farm can be tasted, including olive oil, cured meats, wild boar sausage and the area's other typical specialties (light lunch). This visit should be reserved in advance.
Time permitting, after the castle the tour continues with a drive through the typical Tuscan countryside and small villages like Panzano and Castellina in Chianti, with an additional stop for another wine tasting at the famous "Rocca delle Macie" winery. On the way back, you will have the chance to admire the Medieval Fortress of Monteriggioni, with its walls and remaining towers witnessing the distant past, giving an impression that time has come to a stand-still both inside and outside of its walls.
At the end you will drive back to La Spezia pier on perfect time to board your ship.
The proposed itineraries are only examples of possible tours. For different pick up / drop off locations or customized itineraries we invite our clients to contact one of our tour coordinators to help them design their own tour.