August 18, 2009, 10:08 PM
getting around chianti
My family and I plan to leave Florence on a Sunday morning in hopes to hit some of the major Chianti vineyards and also Siena in just two days. What is the best way to travel? I looked at another post that recommended the SITA but it appears to only stop in a few places between Florence and Siena without stopping at any major vinyards. We would really like to to see, for example, Castello di Brolio, Castello Vicchiomaggio, and Castello di Verrazzano. I'm open to renting a car, but I'm a little worried about parking in Siena. It seems tempting to rent a car in Siena and then do the 50 km loop which hits many of these major vinyards. We are determined to do it on our own, mostly because we've found group tours to be expensive and we're not worried about finding our way around.
I guess the main question is, to visit the Chianti region vinyards in a day should we travel by bus or car? We prefer bus, but question if this is possible.
August 20, 2009, 07:32 PM
it IS possible to visit Chianti wineries by bus from Florence
You might be able to visit all of the wineries you've selected by BUS but most definitely not all of them in one day.
Most wineries are located off the main roads in the hills - you might be able to get near an estate and then have to do a bit of walking to arrive at the estates.
The most limiting factor is the bus schedules - you might get to where you want, but then not make it back in time to catch the next bus (when there is one).
The easiest to visit by bus would be Verrazzano and Vicchiomaggio starting in Florence. They are both located just off the SS222 road that connects Florence to Siena and passes through the heart of Chianti. SITA buses do go down this road often, most of them arriving to Panzano in Chianti.
You can see bus schedule from Florence into Chianti here: http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf
The ones with a cross are the ones that run on Sundays, the ones with a hammer run Monday through Saturday and the ones with an A within a circle run only Monday through Fridays. As you can see, most arrive to Panzano, and only a few make it to Radda, Castellina or Gaiole.
The Castello di Vicchiomaggio is the closest to Florence, from the SMN train station, catch a SITA bus toward GREVE IN CHIANTI and get off at the LE BOLLE stop which is about 2 km from the castle - from here it is about 20 min uphill walk up to the castle where tastings are offered. The basic tastings are offered every day and don't require reservations but if you want a tour or lunch included, better to book ahead: http://www.vicchiomaggio.it/eng/services.html
The Castello di Verrazzano is just a little bit further down the same road with a wine shop right off the road where you can do wine tastings right there without booking ahead of time. You get off on the next stop after Vicchiomaggio which is called GRETI. The estate itself is located 2 km up the hill beyond the wine shop so if you want to visit the winery and tour the cellars, you'd have to do the climb up. For tours, you should book ahead - see details here: http://www.verrazzano.com/en/programmes-wine-tours/ ("Vendita diretta" refers to the wine shop).
If you want to do tours of the cellars, make sure to contact them and book, telling them you are arriving by bus and I am sure they'll suggest which are the ones you should take. Depending on how long each tour and tasting takes, you might still be able to do both before heading back to Florence.
If you do just tastings you might have time to reach Greve - it is a charming town and there are more shops here where you can do more tastings .
The Castello di Brolio is in Gaiole in Chianti which is further away. There seems to be only one bus from Florence in the afternoon (departs 1.35pm and arrives at 3.30pm) and only one from Gaiole in the morning toward Florence (departs 6.55am and arrives at 8.55am in Florence). So you can get there but getting back might be a problem.
It is easier to reach Gaiole by bus from Siena since there are more buses - the 127 line from the train station has departures at 7.05am, 12.50pm, 2.15pm and 5.50pm.
You can also reach Gaiole by train, sort of. Take the train Firenze-Montevarchi (schedules on www.trenitalia.com/). Be sure to be in Montevarchi around 1.00pm to take the bus for Gaiole leaving at 1.35pm.
I was going to suggest taking advantage of a special promotion offered by the Florence province of a tour in Chianti with wine tasting included but it is only offered on Thursdays. It seems you cannot consider it but others might find it interesting so here is the link:- http://www.firenzeturismo.it/en/even...l-chianti.html - It seems like an interesting proposal so I might be doing it myself soon and then tell you all how it goes.
My conclusion: from Florence, visit by bus both Vicchiomaggio and Verrazzano and if time permits, Greve and then return to Florence. You can spend the night in Florence again and head off to Siena in the morning.
If you want to do more, you should rent a car. If you rent, make sure to eat something with your tastings and do more spitting than drinking.... or the driver doesn't drink. Don't get behind the wheel if you feel you cannot drive safely - the SS222 road is a 2 lane road, winding up and down lots of hills.
If parking in Siena concerns you, know that there are several lots around the historical center. The most convenient one where you always find space is the one at the train station. From here, hop on the bus that takes you up into the historical center. But if you don't feel like driving at all, you can do a day in Chianti by bus and the second day in Siena (get there by train or SITA bus from Florence).
EDITED 10/2013: The Chianti wine tasting tour offered by the Florence tourism board on Thursdays is NO LONGER OFFERED.
September 17, 2009, 06:44 AM
reserving a wine tour
I truly appreciate your detailed response!! This forum seems too good to be true! Local advise for free!!
I am excited about the promotional wine tour. What a great deal!
We may rearrange our destinations in order to be in Chianti on Thursday.
Is it possible to book this wine tour in advance? If not, do you know how likely it is to get a seat? My mom tried to e-mail the contact on the website above, but did not get a response. I plan to try again tonight.
Thank you so much for your help!!
September 22, 2009, 07:25 AM
Thank you so much for your help!! Your free advise seems too good to be true!!
We ar considering rearranging our trip in order to take advantage of the Thursday special but we haven't been able to get an answer from the e-mail listed on the website.
Do you know if and how we can book in advance?
October 6, 2009, 12:26 AM
wanderer - I'm sorry I had missed your last posts. Did you ever manage to get a reply from the email listed on the website for the Chianti tour? When will you be in Tuscany, if you haven't been here already? I can try to get more information for you if you give me a few details.
August 27, 2010, 03:21 PM
Chianti tour and winetasting
We did end up doing the tour in Chianti as organized by the Florence APT and Chamber of Commerce held on Thursdays - really good day trip from Florence!
Read here for more information: http://www.discovertuscany.com/forum...workshops.html
July 16, 2013, 04:29 PM
Re: getting around chianti
I too am looking for information about getting around Chianti. We are staying in an Agriturismo in Greve for 4 days but my boyfriend's driving license has just expired! We had been planning to rent a car but now a bit concerned we might have a long few days to fill. Could you recommend any day trips or tours to nearby towns / vineyards by bus? There are so many places that sound nice but I am not sure how easy it will be to get to any of them!
PS. Our next stop after Chianti is Castelglioncello - what is the easiest way to get there? Thanks!
PPS. Also I would love to find a sunflower field - any recommendations?
July 17, 2013, 10:48 AM
A car is recommended for Chianti
When are you coming to Tuscany? Sunflowers are in season now and you'll find them pretty much everywhere, but it is difficult to say with precision, they aren't planted in the same fields every year, they alternate. It is definitely likely you'll see some in Chianti, although in Greve you'll see more vineyards and olive groves... I've seen sunflowers between Panzano and Castellina before.
Chianti is definitely best visited with a car, there are so many small villages that cannot be reached with public transportation. The bus line that gets you to Greve and Panzano is still the same listed above - http://www.acvbus.it/orari/365.pdf
feriale = weekdays, festivi = weekends.
as you can see, the options are limited but doable if you plan around them. But with just 4 days, I think you definitely don't want to waste too much time around bus schedules - if your boyfriend, he'd better renew his license fast so that he can drive - if it isn't an EU license, then make sure he also has an international driving license along with his license.
As for Castiglioncello, it is along the coast along the train route that heads south from Pisa - so if you don't have a car, the best way to get there is to head back into Florence and from Florence's SMN station take the train to Castiglioncello. There is likely to be a train change in Pisa - see train timetables here: www.trenitalia.com
Otherwise, car is easier as you can just cut across west through San Gimignano or Volterra to the coast.
July 17, 2013, 12:32 PM
Re: A car is recommended for Chianti
We fly from Dublin to Pisa tomorrow, then have a few days in Florence before heading to Chianti. So glad to hear the sunflowers are in bloom right now - I am so worried we won't get to see any! Would there be any sunflowers near Pisa, Florence or Castiglioncello?
Sadly there is no time to renew licenses but actually including travelling from Florence and to Castiglioncello it will really be more like 2 full days there. We might organise a trip to a nearby wine-tasting by bus one of the days and just spend the other in the grounds of the agriturismo and in Greve.
Thanks for all your help - this is a great site! Very useful, will definitely be using your tips to find sunflowers somewhere along our journey!
Last edited by ricecl; July 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM.
July 17, 2013, 01:29 PM
You can definitely get the wine tastings done just outside Greve - take notes of the #2 post above - Vicchiomaggio and Verrazzano are not far outside of Greve!
HAVE FUN! You'll have a good excuse to come back again soon