Day-trips in Tuscany #3 – The villages of East Chianti

The third day-trip in my series of Day-trips in Tuscany takes us to the east to visit some of the cuter, smaller villages that we love. You can take this route in either direction, depending on where you want to stop for lunch, but I’ll take you on our more usual route…

Stop 1 – The Chianti Sculpture Park

Our first stop is usually the Chianti Sculpture Park. I’ll be doing a separate post on this at some point, but until then, here’s the post I did on G+ last year. It’s a lovely peaceful walk through modern sculptures set in the woods, and the kids love it too. If we’re feeling in a particularly arty mood, we might also pop into the adjoining art gallery, La Fornace, and have a chat with the owners. You can spend as long as you like, but unless you’re sticking around for the weekly evening concert, then a couple of hours should be plenty.

The Chianti Sculpture Park near Podere Patrignone
The glass maze at The Chianti Sculpture Park. You just try and keep the kids out of it!

Stop 2 – Lunch in San Sano

As we’re not especially early starters (!), by the time we’ve finished it’s usually lunch-time, so we head over to San Sano to La Grotta, a very unassuming little restaurant that does great pasta dishes on a lovely little shady terrazza. The town of San Sano is a perfectly preserved medieval village, albeit a little quiet for my liking.

The excellent Castello di Brolio is not far off, so if you’re in the mood to taste wine and tour a castle, you could do a detour over that way, though don’t be surprised if you run out of steam for the rest of this loop if you go. Remember to book in advance if you want a tour.

Steps 3 & 4 – Gaiole & Volpaia

From here, the next stop is Gaiole in Chianti, a lovely little village with a decent clutch of good places to eat, Il Papavero being our favourite. Then it’s on to the mysterious little 10th century castle-village of Volpaia, which again has some good places to eat, and is well-worth a wander. If you’re a photographer, get here at dawn or sunset for some very moody shots.

And if you’ve still not had enough, you can end the day at Radda in Chianti, which we have posted on already on numerous occasions, so I won’t bother overdoing it here. I’ll just say that it’s a very beautiful village, easily the largest of all those I’ve mentioned here, with some excellent restaurants, bars, and shops.

To be honest, we’re often perfectly happy to just go the Sculpture Park and for lunch at San Sano, especially as the kids have limited capacity for medieval towns. But you might be more motivated, though if you do everything, you might struggle to be back in time for sunset drinks on the Terracotta Terrazza back at Podere Patrignone.

If you’re interested in map that includes all our favourite restaurants, 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 key stops

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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