Driving the Crete Senesi and wine tasting in a castle

After two days visiting Montepulciano and the Val d’Orcia, we were heading north to the Chianti Region. This is a region well known for its wine varieties. It’s no surprise that wine tasting was the main reason for this part of the trip. When I found out we could do a wine tasting in a castle, I knew I needed to make it happen. Being able to stay on the ground of the castle was an added bonus.

Driving the Crete Senesi

Our drive took us from Pienza in the Val d’Orcia to Buonconvento and through the Crete Senesi. This beautiful part of Italy is found in the region to the south of Siena. To break up the drive, we made a short stopover at the Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore, an abbey that seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. Which I think it was!

I thought this route would be more scenic than taking a main highways, but it ended up being super windy and took 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.

The Abbey di Monte Oliveto Maggiore

Abbey in the Crete Senesi
The Abbey in the Crete Senesi
Abbey in the Crete Senesi
Abbazia di Monte Oliveto Maggiore. Who doesn’t like a drawbridge?!

Our arrival in Chianti

After way too long, we finally found the highway that marked our entrance into the Chianti region. We didn’t leave the windy roads completely behind, but with Marce’s pro-level navigation, we weaved our way to Greve with 15 minutes to spare. Without time for checking in, we made it in time for the start of the wine tour at Castello di Verrazzano. This would also be  our accommodation for the next two nights.

The wine tour at Castello de Varrazzano

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!

Besides the wine, our tour guide 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.

castello di verrazzano wine barrels
I think mom said something along the lines of wanting this in her basement …
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Part of the castello saw during the tour
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Several wine varieties to sample
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View from the terrace at the Castello

The Farmhouse at Castello di Verrazzano

After the tour, we checked into our room for the next two nights at the property’s shop and wine tasting cellar door located 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 all the staff was amazing and very friendly, the accommodation wasn’t great. The farmhouse building itself was nice but our room was really dark. And I mean very dark. So dark I forgot Deane and Marce’s passports when we left two days later …

farmhouse cat
One of the very friendly cats who made himself at home in our room in the farmhouse
castello di verrazzano farmhouse
The farmhouse. It has 9 rooms and apartments.
castello di verrazzano wine cork
Biggest wine cork ever!

Dinner in Greve in Chianti and a Fashion Show!

For dinner we went into Greve and had a very bland dinner. Fortunately it offered excellent 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 🙂

Fashion Show
One of the highlights from the fashion show. I think the entire town was out that night.

Our 10 day trip to Italy included: two days in Rome, an overnight in Orvietotwo 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 Terrea stopover in Pisa and two days and nights in Venice

Click here to see day two of our time in the Chianti region, including wine tasting at the Greve in Chianti Wine Festival.

We visited the Chianti region in mid-September 2015. 

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