I could go on for days about how nice this region of Tuscany is. In hindsight, I wish we had stayed there 10 days rather than just the 4. Rolling hills, vineyards at every turn, gorgeous castles, and in my opinion, the best food in Italy. EXCEPT THE BREAD. We’ll get to that later..
We stayed at Casa Poggiarelli in Greve in Chianti. My mom and I wanted the experience of staying in the hills of Tuscany, and from her research (plus a suggestion from my trusty Uncle Wes!) she decided Greve was the place to stay. It’s about a 45 minute drive to Siena, Florence, or San Gimignano in each direction, and there are a plethora of famous wineries and “castles” close by.
When we got to Casa Poggiarelli, I immediately was so distraught about how the owners had sold their property short. It was STUNNING and the pictures online didn’t do it justice AT ALL. As a marketing professional, I got so stressed. I was like, “Mom. They need a marketing manager. They need to update their booking.com listing. This is absurd!” Apparently my mom gave this feedback to Katerina and she said no, that she likes people to be pleasantly surprised when they get there. I can’t wrap my head around this logic, so I will try to do their property a favor with the pictures above on my own blog instead 🙂 . The pool alone.. I DIE.
**Edit: After I wrote this post, I went back and looked at their listing. It seems someone added more photos. Much better 🙂 haha! I also wanted to note how accommodating Katerina was. She helped us make reservations at wineries and restaurants almost every day! Her recommendations made for some of the best meals we had on the whole trip.
We took 2 day trips from Greve- one to Florence and one to Siena, both of which I’ll talk about on the blog on Monday! Admittedly I’m the only avid wine drinker in my family, but luckily my mom was down to do a few tastings with me on the days we did decide to stay in Greve! The first tasting we did was at Lamole di Lamole. We had dinner at their stunning and DELICIOUS restaurant, Ristoro di Lamole, the night before. (Loved our Swedish waiter too!)
It’s important to note that because most of the wineries and properties in Tuscany are family owned, they don’t usually just offer tastings. I’m used to Napa, Sonoma, and Fredericksburg where you can hop from one winery to the next but that’s not how it works in Tuscany. They want to give you a tour and discuss the wine-making process with you, as a lot of them are only open at certain times.
The second wine tour we did was at Castello di Verazzano, one of the many Castellos in the region. We loved our guide, Luan! Once he found out I was a travel blogger, he let us take pictures in other parts of the castle that weren’t open to the public. The property is A DREAM! And the Chianti they produce isn’t so bad either 😉 . Some other castellos you should consider visiting that we didn’t have time for were: Castello Vicchiomaggio and Castello di Querceto. You can actually see Castello Vicchiomaggio at the top of the hill in the distance in the picture above!
Chianti is similar to champagne in the fact that TRUE champagne only comes from the Champagne region of France, and TRUE Chianti Classico only comes from the Chianti region of Italy. You know you’re drinking authentic Chianti if your bottle has a black rooster on the label. We were told the legend of the rooster derives from an ancient war between the Florentine and Siennese people. Both Florence and Sienna wanted to acquire the region of Chianti because of it’s fertile agricultural land, so they set a rooster loose from each city to see which would get there first.
Apparently the people from Sienna spoiled their white rooster, gave him tons of food, and fattened him up in preparation for the race, whereas the people from Florence stuck their black rooster in a cage without food to make him a little crazy. The black rooster was crazed enough to make it to Chianti first and therefore it’s considered part of a greater Florentine region, and hence the black rooster label!
Another interesting tidbit that Luan shared with us is that all the bread in Tuscany is made without salt. Supposedly Tuscan ham is significantly saltier than Parma ham, therefore the bread is made saltless to balance it out. I noticed at the Lamole restaurant that the bread was so bland but didn’t think much of it. Then at each of the wineries the bread they served us with our wine tasting was the same and I was like, “Why does this bread suck?!” Haha. Turns out it doesn’t matter how good the restaurant is.. the bread is all the same!
The town center of Greve itself is also super cute! We were lucky the day my mom and I ventured off there that it was the day of the month for the farmer’s market! Local vendors had their booths out selling hand-made goods: pottery, soaps, woven baskets, paintings, honey, etc! We ate dinner in the town center twice because they have a lot of good restaurants there. But the best meal we ate was at Ristorante la Castellana. As a family we ordered the bruschetta, gratin potatoes, salad, sliced beef with truffle, stewed wild boar, and the pasta with truffle sauce and pork sausage. I couldn’t even decide which dish was the best.. they were all AMAZING.
We also loved our Sunday brunch at Dondoli on their outside terrace, surrounded by trees and nature. The Chianti region is known for their truffle, wild boar, rabbit, and obv Chianti Classico! My dad ordered the stuffed rabbit at Dondoli and it was really good!
Tips in Chianti
-Do a wine tasting/tour at a Castello. Make reservations in advance.
-If you want to eat with a good view of any region in Tuscany, make dinner reservations in advance.
-If you want to see the fields of sunflowers in July, they are further south. The timing/emergence of sunflowers depends on the weather that year, so keep your eyes peeled for them.
-Remember the bread is saltless, so don’t be surprised by the bland taste.
What I Wore
How dreamy is my floral embroidered dress from Chicwish?! I felt like a princess twirling around the Castello di Verrazzano!
If you could drink wine anywhere in the world, where would you go and what kind of wine would you drink?!