Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Rachel Budke2
Chianti Vineyard Hike
On Saturday, Allison and I went to Panzano, Italy for a hike in a Chianti vineyard. It was absolutely amazing, and was more than I ever expected. We both (easily) agreed that it was our favorite day in Italy together. We spent about two hours of the day hiking through a vineyard, and the weather was absolutely perfect. After our hike, we visited a winery and had a delicious lunch and wine tasting.
We booked our trip through a company called Florence for Fun. Originally, we booked a winery tour with Bus2Alps, but it got cancelled the day before. We were really upset that it got cancelled, and decided to replace it with a trip through Florence for Fun. This day was clearly a case of “everything happens for a reason”! The tour was fabulous, we met great people, and we learned a lot about Chianti. I highly recommend this tour to anyone who will be in Florence. The company is geared towards students, but it is a tour that will definitely suit any age.
As soon as we arrived in Panzano, our tour guide lead us down a small gravel path that lead to all the vineyards. He gave us a lot of history on the region, and explained to us about the Chianti logo – a black rooster. Florence and Sienna used to be rival cities and battle with each other a lot. In order to divide the boundaries of the Chianti region, they decided to ride their horses from both Florence and Sienna until they would meet in the middle. Where they met would be the dividing line. They decided they would both start racing their horses when the rooster started to crow in the morning. However, Florence cheated and did not feed the rooster the night before so that it would be hungry and wake up earlier. So, Florence they got a head-start on the race and now owns more of the Chianti region than Sienna does.
If I had to pick one place to live in Italy, it would definitely be in Chianti. It’s hard to describe how beautiful it is, so I tried my best to capture it through photos. Unfortunately, houses in this area cost millions of dollars, so I will have to earn just a little bit more money before I move there! Haha! During the middle of our hike, we walked past a swimming pool. What an amazing view those people get to have!
We finished our hike when we reached San Leolino. In the first photo below, on the right-hand side, you can see the village where we started our hike in background. In the second photo below, you can see the pool that we walked past. If you look in the middle of the photo, you’ll see a small rectangle of land that is brown with rows of olive trees. The pool is behind the three cyprus trees that are towards that back of the rectangle of land. It’s hard to see, but I promise it’s there!
While we were walking in San Leolino, we just happened to walk past some men who were starting to make some wine. How lucky – it was just the most perfect day! The machines there were using were to remove the grapes from the stems. We all got to taste some grapes, they were delicious and very sweet.
After our hike, we visited a winery that was owned by a young man named Lorenzo. He is a 7th generation wine maker. Our tour guide told us the brand of barrels he uses are considered to be the “Ferrari” of wine barrels.
After seeing the winery, we walked across the street and had a wine tasting and lunch. The food was cooked by Lorenzo’s sister, and it was definitely the best food I’ve had here yet. They have a dog named Pedro who kept laying his head in our laps, patiently waiting for food. We started off with bread, prosciutto, salami, and cannellini beans. The first of three wines we tried was a Chianti Classico. Next, we had some bruschetta, which was bread rubbed with garlic, olive oil and salt. After that, we had pesto pasta. It was definitely the best pesto I have ever had. And then we had another pasta with tomato sauce and lots of garlic. There was so much delicious food, everything was amazing! For dessert, we had cantuccini (small almond biscotti) dipped in a small glass of Vin Santo. We also tried Grappa, which is an alcohol made from the skin of the grapes. I was not a huge fan of it. Lunch lasted a total of 3 and a half hours. It was such a fun event. Allison and I were the only Americans at the table, which was nice because all of my classes are generally only Americans.
Our day in Chianti was absolutely amazing! The only disappointing part was that on our walk back to my apartment, the bottom of the box that was holding wine that Allison bought broke. The wine bottles hit the sidewalk and shattered. It was sad, especially because we had just seen how much work went into the entire process. Always remember to carry things from the bottom so this won’t happen to you!
If you are headed to Italy, be sure to check out a vineyard in Chianti. You won’t regret it!
Ciao! Thanks for reading!