While summer is the busiest season for Tuscany and Chianti, the months of fall are actually my favorite and I believe the best time of the year to come and explore the region. Less crowds and less demand generally accounts for lower rates than in the peak summer season although I have to admit lots are discovering this and the summer season is getting extended until middle or end of October as far as crowds go.
Regardless, if you love wine and enjoy planning your travels around wine areas, then Chianti is likely to be on your list of places to visit. So if you’re planning a visit Tuscany this fall or are already planning ahead for 2024, I have a special recommendation for you. Take a close look at the wine estate of Dianella as the base for your stay in Chianti. You will be immersed in the world of wine by staying directly at a winery: tours and tastings will be easy, but the on-site restaurant also makes it easy to stay in place and enjoy great dining and the estate’s wines.
Dianella sits between the small medieval hamlet of Vinci, home to Leonardo da Vinci, and the larger town of Empoli. It sits atop a hillside in the Tuscan countryside with views of vineyards and makes a great base from which to explore the area of Chianti as well as visit the main towns in Tuscany, including Florence, Siena and Pisa. A car is recommended to move around, but you could stay there and use a private driver to get out and to the closest train station and go to Florence or Lucca, for example.
What to Expect: Elegant Suites, Fine Wines and Dining
Let’s start talking about the lodgings. The Dianella Wine Resort offers luxurious accommodation in twelve spacious suites, with six suites in the villa itself and another six in the recently renovated stables right behind the villa. All have their own sitting area and private en-suite bathrooms but the thing that has always delighted me about these rooms is how spacious they are! These are not suites crammed to try to make the most of the available space but to let you feel at home and comfortable, taking in the views from your room and from the many seating areas in and around the villa and estate. The rooms do not lack for windows, which allow for lots of natural light to come in year round.
I also really appreciate the elegant, luxurious feel to all of the furnishings even as you look closely and realize that they are made with natural materials: fine linens but also wood and straw. The new suites in the stables all have bed headboards that are covered with a finely woven straw, and so are some of the armchairs and some throw pillows. The bathrooms mix natural marble sinks, with modern glass walls.
As all of the suites are for two, this place is ideal for couples and groups of friends or family traveling together as pairs. I would highly recommend it for honeymooners and for anyone on a romantic escape! Just take a look at some of these pictures and you will agree. The gardens offer many corners where you can sit and chat as well as read on a fine fall day, and there are many areas indoors to relax in as well on any rainy day.
Dianella is at it’s heart a wine estate. The winery lives in the villa itself: below the suites are the main halls and reception area, but below that you have the historical wine cellars which were built under the villa and on the side of the hill where the villa sits on. You can book a visit to the winery and get to see the modern part of the winery where the grapes arrive in late summer and are pressed and then through their first fermentation, in these large stainless steel vats. The tour then moves on through corridors lined with bricks that today house machinery used on the estate over the past decades to arrive at the historical aging areas where the wines are stored and aged, both in wood barrels and barriques as well as in large glass-lined cement vats. The visit to the winery is very interesting, especially as you learn from your guide how Dianella wines are made and aged and, most importantly, the why of each process and step.
Wine tasting is obviously in the books if you stay at Dianella, how could it not? But you decide whether you want your wine tasting of Dianella’s organic wines to also include bruschetta and a combination of a selection of cured meats, cheeses or even a light lunch that includes a first course and biscotti. If you’re interested in making your winery tour and wine tasting be exclusively just for your group, you can also request that (for an extra fee, of course).
One of the most recent – and tasty – additions to Dianella has been the opening of Il Magazzino, the estate’s restaurant and wine shop which sits right below the villa along the road that leads you to Vinci. Open every day from 11am, you can enjoy lunch or dinner with a selection of dishes and tasting menus that combine the best of Tuscan cuisine using seasonal ingredients grown on the estate and in the area. You won’t have to go far to enjoy fine dining accompanied by Dianella’s best wines, and you’ll soon find your favorite. You can check the current lunch and dinner menus on Il Magazzino’s website: https://magazzinodianella.it/
Special fall experience: Truffle Hunt and Green Brunches
In the fall, you actually can try a special opportunity available to a few in Tuscany: go on a truffle “hunt” with a local expert on Dianella’s woods, land devoted to mushroom and truffle production! Enjoy the walk, the colors and scents of fall and learn of the work of truffle dogs and their bond between man and nature. The truffle hunt will include a special meal afterward made with truffles, from bruschette to cheeses to taglioni all with truffles.
In addition to truffles, the fall means Green Brunches at Dianella, within the historical cellars. Every Sunday from 12 to 3pm, a fall buffet lunch revolves around an autumn ingredient: from the season’s newly pressed virgin olive oil to chestnuts, to pumpkin and roasted meats. The Green Brunches continue until the end of December, with one devoted to Christmas. Check out the program and more details on this page and to book your spot (reduced cost for children): https://www.villadianella.it/dianella-green-brunch-dellolio-nuovo/
There’s more: Cooking and Dinner in the vineyard
At Dianella, it’s up to you what else you want to do. They also offer cooking classes as well as cooking shows, where you get to see the restaurant’s chef, Alessio Bagnoli, at work preparing an entire meal from starter to dessert. At Dianella, however, there is also the very special Leonardo da Vinci experience: you can either do the Leonardo cooking class, learning how to prepare some dishes inspired by notes on Leonardo’s various Codexes or a cooking show of these dishes. Or you can request a private meal in the villa or vineyard or cellar, just for your group and thus create a very special evening during your stay at Dianella.
So what will you do this fall at Dianella? Start with a Green Brunch on a Sunday this November or go on the hunt for truffles, either way, your stay at Dianella will be spectacular!
About Lourdes Flores
An American living in Florence for over 10 years, Lourdes continues to explore and discover new places in Tuscany with the eyes of a tourist but with the experience of living in Italy. She shares her experiences on this blog and website, particularly offering lots of travel planning help on the Forum!