Driving the Crete Senesi and wine tasting in a castle
Leaving Pienza and the Val d’Orcia behind, we drove to Buonconvento and through the Crete Senesi to Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, an abbey seemingly in the middle of nowhere. I thought this route would be more scenic than taking a main road, but it ended up being way too windy and was taking much longer than expected. While not usually an issue, we had a wine tour planned for the afternoon in Greve in Chianti and didn’t want to be late.
We finally crossed over the highway that comes out from Siena and entered Chianti. More windy roads, but Marce was a pro navigator and we weaved our way to Greve with 15 minutes to spare before the wine tour at Castello di Verrazzano, which was also our accommodation for the next two nights.
The tour was fun except the two small kids that were very noisy during the tour (bad luck I guess!). The guide was great although his accent made him a bit difficult to understand at times. After seeing the outside of the castle, the ‘wild’ and ‘organic’ boars, fruit trees, fountains and the cellars, we tasted the wine on the terrace under a canopy of grape vines. Bellissimo!
He also brought out some cheese, balsamic vinegar and some sliced meat and bread. All very good for our 12E discounted price since we were staying at the farmhouse. After the tour, we checked into our room for the next two nights at the property’s shop and wine tasting cellar door on the main road. The farmhouse is about half way between the main road and the Castello. There wasn’t a lot of instruction on the facilities but we found our room and the common room with Italy’s worst coffee (well except the coffee at the B&B in Orvieto!). While every single person we spoke to that worked for the property were amazing and very friendly, the accommodation wasn’t great. The farmhouse building itself was nice but out room was really dark. So dark I forgot Deane and Marce’s passports when we left two days later …
For dinner we went into Greve and had a very bland dinner, but had great people watching since the restaurant, Caffe Lepanto, is located in the main square. Some street performers with interesting dance moves made up for the average meal! Seeing as it’s currently one of Greve’s worst rated restaurants on TripAdvisor, I don’t think we had an uniquely bad experience. On the way to the car we walked by / into a street fashion show. We waited for it to begin and were surprised by the scantily clad young ladies and men modelling lingerie! Quite the eye fulls 🙂
Our 10 day trip to Italy included: two days in Rome, an overnight in Orvieto, two days driving around the Val d’Orcia based in Montepulciano, two days in Chianti based outside of Greve in Chianti, 3 days and 2 nights in Cinque Terre, a stopover in Pisa and two days and nights in Venice.
Click here to see day two of our time in the Chianti region.