I have just returned from a trip to Italy. I always take a trip every May to just see what is new and interesting, to re-visit places that I recommend to make sure the service is still the best. This time I decided to go in late June to early July. The weather was beautiful while I was there but was just starting to get hot when I left. I took a day trip to Chianti with 3 of my closest friends. Ester, Alberto, Manuela and I set off on a beautiful day of blue skies and perfect temperatures to visit Greve in Chianti. Greve in Chianti is one of the stops on our Tuscany and Umbria Tours. Greve is considered the Gateway into Chianti as it is the first major town you reach as you head South of Florence. It is located on SR222, but locally it is called the Chiantigiana Road. Greve has a rich history and is connected to the beautiful Castle of Montefioralle located in the town. Definitely worth a visit when you are in Greve. The main square in the town has an odd shape and was already there at the beginning of the 1500’s. This is where all the activities of the town take place and the heart of all the wonderful small shops and the traditional market on Saturday mornings. There are several places to eat on the square, but today I wanted to find a new place that is not so visited. So after a coffee and pastry, we head into the countryside to visit a few Wineries and look for my new place to eat lunch.
Our first stop was Castello di Verrazzano located just outside of Greve. I love the history and story of this Winery. The name may sound familiar to you especially if you have lived in New York. Giovanni da Verrazzano who discovered the bay of New York and the main part of the East Coast of North America, was born here in 1485. So now you know the history of the Verrazzano Bridge in New York. One of the best parts of being a Tour Operator is that I get special treatment when I arrive at places because they are part of our tours. One of the family members gave us a tour of the Castle and the Wine Cellar. I love the Wine Cellar as it has both the ancient area that has been used for centuries and a new area that has been added for more production. As you go down under the ground into the old cellar it gets cooler and is the perfect temperature for making and storing the wine. The museum has many of the bottles of wine that were produced on the property over the centuries. They have been making wine here since 1170. As you tour the Gardens, you may be lucky enough to see the cinghiale or wild boar that are kept here on the property. The family is very precise in everything they do. When I organize a Tuscany Wedding here at Verrazzano they only allow water and wine. The family is very strict that only things that come from their land or the local community are allowed to be served here at the Castello. Orange Juice and Coca Cola are not on the list.
I love the tradition that the family follows. When you come with me on a tour, I will bring you here and you can see for yourself the history and traditions of this famous family. And of course taste some of the wonderful wines.
Before leaving, he opens a bottle of Chianti Classico that he wants us to taste saying that he feels it is one of the best they have produced. We raise our glasses and touch each glass with the classic Italian Toast chin chin. I can not wait to come back to Castello di Verrazzano, I hope you will be with me next time. Check out my next blog to see where we had lunch……Ciao a presto!