Day-trips in Tuscany #2 – The Hills of Northern Chianti

Rada in Chianti, lovely walled town near the vacation villa to rent in Chianti, Podere Patrignone www.patrignone.com

Guests who come to stay at our Chianti villa rentals near Castellina in Chianti are often looking for day-trip ideas. A couple of weeks back I described our most popular day-trip, to San Gimignano and Volterra. This week I’m heading north of Patrignone into the Chianti Hills.

You can do this loop in any direction you like, and if you’re short of time, feel free to skip a couple of places. In fact, there are so many great places to see, so many amazing please to eat at, and so many excellent wineries en route, that you could easily spend 2 or 3 days doing different bits of this loop. Luckily, it’s all very close by, so it’s easy to split the tour up into separate days if you have the time.

You can find all the places I mention in the embedded map below, including websites and phone numbers, in case you decide to make reservations.

Stop 1 – Radda in Chianti

Driving to Radda takes around 25 minutes, assuming you don’t stop in Castellina in the way to have breakfast. Radda is one of my favourite towns in the area; it has nice restaurants and bars, some interesting shops, and is extremely pretty. It’s also not too ridiculously touristy, though I must admit I prefer it in the evening when it’s quieter. There’s a great spa in Radda if you have a few hours to kill ()more about that another time), plenty of good places to eat, and some excellent shopping to be had – ask Verity for her favourite clothes and home-ware shop.

Volpaia, walled town near the holiday villa to rent in Chianti, Podere Patrignone www.patrignone.comStop 2 – Volpaia

Tiny, but extremely pretty, with a great bar for coffee & cakes, and some decent restaurants, all owned by the same family! Very photogenic, and a great place to wander around. Not a long stop, by any means.

Stop 3 – Ristoro di Lamole

There’s not much to Lamole. Some very pretty views on the way up and down, but the main reason to go to Lamole is to eat, and to eat very well indeed. Ristoro di Lamole is one of our favourite haunts. It serves great food, the staff are fantastic, and the view is spectacular. No one ever forgets their meal there. It’s not cheap, and you definitely need to ring the day before if you want a nice table at the front of the balcony, but it’s well worth the effort.

Stop 4 – Greve

It’s on most people’s to-see list, and is well known for its market square, and the excellent pair of butchers who have shops there. Some excellent restaurants with views over the square. If you want to go on market day, you need to be there Saturday morning – click here to find out lots more about markets in Tuscany. It’s a nice enough place, but I find it hard to get too excited over Greve.

Montefioralle near Agriturismo Podere Patrignone where you can rent a vacation villa
An atmospheric town near Greve

Stop 5 – Borgo di Montefioralle

But just 5 minutes away, Montefioralle is a very different kettle of fish. It’s a really beautiful little town. Not much to it, one or two restaurants and a bar, but it’s well-worth the diversion. Stunning little place. They have a small but lovely wine fair there every year, well-worth a visit if you’re in Tuscany in September.

Stop 6 – Panzano

Sleepy little town on a hill, with an interesting church, and a great bar next door where you can get an excellent inexpensive lunch with spectacular views and great wine by the glass. There are several other restaurants, a great wine shop, and if course, the famous Dante-spouting, opera-singing butcher of Panzano, Dario. If you want the best meat, there’s a much better butcher in Castellina in Chianti, but Dario is a great self-promoter and an excellent tourist attraction, and he restaurants are a lot of fun (even if he does get his meat from Spain). There’s an excellent flea market on the first Sunday of every month. I’ve wasted load so money there.

And that’s it. If you follow the route below it’ll take you past another couple of restaurants and some excellent wineries, assuming you’re still hungry or want to pick up some wine to drink on the Terrazza.

If you’re interested in map that includes all our favourite restaurant, shops, beaches, and a load of other useful places if you are coming to Tuscany on your vacation or holidays, then try this map of everything.

The route and places of interest

If you’re planning a trip to Tuscany, and you would like to know more about staying at our Tuscan olive farm, Podere Patrignone, we have a large villa and 5 villa apartments to rent. We live here all year, and are on hand to give you a help and advice. We hope you can join us!

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