December 29, 2016, 07:29 AM
Scenic Drive from Florence airport to Chianti
We will be travelling from Florence Airport to Castello Di Meleto (for a wedding) at the end of September 2017. We rented a car at the airport and would love to do the scenic drive in Tuscany to get to Castello Di Meleto, which is in Chianti. We have a few questions to best help us plan our drive and visits. And to help guide your suggestions, we are all around the age of 28, love cultural experiences and food, adventure, authenticity over touristic, not the biggest historical buffs:
1) What is the best scenic route to drive through Tuscany to get to Chianti. We don't mind if its a slower drive as long as it has the beautiful Tuscan countryside.
2) We pick up our car at 9:30am and will need to be at the Castle before 4PM. That gives us 6.5 hours. We would love to visit maybe 1 or 2 small towns/sights before arriving at the Castle. which towns would you suggest?
3) We will also need to have lunch so a suggestion of a spot would be lovely
4) On the day that we leave, we checkout at noon and have all day to drive back to Florence where we will stay the night. What additional towns (that we missed on the way here) would you recommend visiting?
Thank you in advance for your help
January 4, 2017, 11:49 AM
For a panoramic drive I suggest you look at starting with Impruneta and then wind your way down towards Gaiole and Castello Meleto.
You will need to catch the Autostrada to the Impruneta exit. And before you ask, yes you COULD avoid the autostrada for those 20 minutes, but I don't suggest it because it will take you through Florence which could be a mess ( but if you insist, map it out on Google and put in the airport to Arcetri to Impruneta. There will be some narrow - very narrow - roads but panorama !!!)
From Impruneta, read through this article for some ideas. There is a box with a suggested itinerary that you can follow from Impruneta towards the south - when you get to Castellina go towards Radda and then Gaiole which will leave you at the doorstep of the Castello.
Read this article for a few restaurant ideas, especially number 8 which could be right along the path. Remember that most restaurants have a lunch hour from 12 till 2pm. They will stay open to serve after 2 but you need to be there before hand - and they are definitely more accommodating if you call that day to advise you are arriving (a large group like yours will give them warning). If they are not open there is another restaurant just a little further down the road towards Castellina, more rustic but just as delish.
On the way back you can follow the other Itinerary towards the north which will have you hitting all the other towns that are great to visit.
January 8, 2017, 07:03 AM
Thanks for the answer and the advice!
I was reading up on the forum and people said that the SR 222 was the most panoramic drive. From google maps, it seems like we can arrive at the beginning of SR 222 from the E35.
Your suggestion was to go to Impruneta first I guess from E35 then SR2 then SP69 (judging from google maps)
Any reason why you choose to go that way instead of straight to the beginning of SR222?
And thanks for the great articles will definitely take a look at them and try to stop by at one of the restos!
January 9, 2017, 12:52 PM
Yes, another option would be to go from the airport (take autostrada) to exit Firenze Sud and from there catch SR222 which is panoramic and takes you down to Greve, Panzano, Radda and then on to Gaiole, which is where Castello di Meleto is.
Donna was proposing a just as beautiful road down that just has you start a bit more west - and then you take the SR 222 on the way up back to Florence on your last day.
This way you do more of a ring circle journey around Chianti, but depending on time in Chianti, if you're there more than a day for the wedding, you'll see that it is a small region and can go back and forth among favorite towns -- and end up on smaller roads and discover small hamlets along the way. You can of course do the drive in the opposite direction -- so that if you don't see Castellina or San Donato in Poggio on the way down, you cover them on the way up.
If you have time while in Chianti -- a must-do detour is to San Gimignano -- further west of Poggibonsi and not along the drive, but definitely don't miss it, maybe on your last day if you have the time.
January 9, 2017, 05:52 PM
The SR222 (Chiantagiana) is definitely a sceneic route (used to live right on this route) - however, I prefer something a little off the beaten track and for that reason try to offer something "different"
Taking the route down from Ipruneta to San Donato will expose you to one of the flip side of Chianti and coming up from the wedding towards Panzano and Greve will give you not only SR222 but what you could call the more classic side of Chianti. Though it is all Chianti, there are some subtle diffrences that make this double itinerary worth its while.
January 10, 2017, 06:51 AM
Thanks a lot Donna and Lourdes for your responses! actually it is an amazing idea to do a different route as we head towards the wedding and a different route back from the wedding to Florence.
Im not very familiar with the routes in Italy and I was trying to use google maps to map it out, but i'm having difficulty. From Florence airport, i put it going to Impruneta, and then a third stop to San Donato...but it seems to bring me back on the main autostrada raccordo firenza-siena (which i assume is not the scenic route?). Is there a better way i can find the scenic route of that pathway?
On the way down, i had an idea of stopping at Greve and montefioralle to eat and walk around the town. But in case we take a different, route, we can always eat in another town :P Then probably heading to the wedding because check in is at 3pm.
For day trips, we only have 1 afternoon free for it and i was thinking of Castellina or Rada?
Then on the day we checkout, we leave at noon and we wanted to visit Sienna if possible. Spend a few hours there and then start driving back to Florence, through which we can take a different path. I know San Giminiano is also very popular but i don't know how we're going to fit all this in :P
We can arrive back in Florence before 9pm so we got pretty much all day.
Would you be able to may be map it out in google maps for me to show me which route i should drive on? I think google maps automatically selects the quickest path which is likely the non-scenic path.
When I looked it up and tweaked it a bit, this was the result. Would this be a good scenic route?
Thanks so much!!!
Last edited by Ryan Char; January 10, 2017 at 07:01 AM.
January 11, 2017, 01:22 PM
Mapping it out.
check out this map
Personally I would suggest that you take your free afternoon in Siena and then maybe use this route to go back to the airport.
On your way back I suggest you check out Viticcio - I visited it and since they would be right on your route I encourage you to look into a stop there.
San Gimignano is lovely - but you don't want to overload your calendar ... then it seems like you are running all over but not ENJOYING anything...besides, if the wedding is a hit - you will be too tired to do much else
January 12, 2017, 06:57 AM
Wow that is Amazing!! thank you so much for mapping it out for me! I noticed it'll take longer (2h12) instead of straight highway (1h15) but this is the scenic route so i'm sure it'll be beautiful! Just to make sure, Leaving from Florence airport, you routed me through to Arcetri before going back down south. I was wondering, did you route it that way (instead of taking the E35 Autostrada highway) in order to avoid the Toll roads (such as on the Autostrada), ZTL zones, and bus lanes? Because right near Arcetri, I noticed the road i pass through is right on the border of the ZTL Settore E. Just wanted to make sure so I don't accidentally go into any fine zones
So i found this restaurant that looks lovely in Mercatale (Il Cavaliere di Gibbiano), so we will probably stop there for lunch.
Since we'll be passing through Impruneta, San Donato, Castellina, and Radda, I think we may only have time to really visit 1 of them. Which one would you visit?
Once again thanks so much for helping me plan this trip!!
January 12, 2017, 11:24 AM
I routed you that way so you could have some fun on the back roads!!! Narrow, curvy and very panoramic.
I would stop at San Donato in Poggio - it is quaint, small, no shops to speak of but the streets are fun to wander around and there are a few fun restaurants there.
If you are interested, around Impruneta the terracotta kilns and shops (the ones I mention in the article) are very interesting. Castellina and Radda are nice but they are so close to the wedding that I bet at least one night you get out to walk around them with friends.
Going back to the airport - Panzano, Greve & Montefiorale.
PS If you go to the restaurant let me know your thoughts - I am always looking for a great new surprise.
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