By Marc Justin in Florence—
Many would say visiting Florence without dousing yourself in Chianti wine makes for an incomplete trip. But did you know that the Chianti region is not only a basin for wines but also home to walking trails that will awaken the dormant hiker buried deep inside every Cheapo.
Greve in Chianti, today’s featured destination, is situated about 45 minutes from Florence. It is a recent member of the Chianti family since the wine district was officially enlarged in 1932 and is the region’s biggest town. Be sure to visit the town’s main piazza, abundant with restaurants, souvenir shops and of course, plenty of wine. The town also sprouts several walking trails that twist their way through modern-day villas, medieval ruins and spaces of wooded wonderment. Oh yeah, and there are vineyards around too.
How to Get There
First, find the bus. The SITA bus is situated just a few steps from Florence’s train station and will be your chariot for the day (there is no train service to Greve). Buses are frequent and cheap—tickets can be purchased directly from the bus station for under €3. The bus schedule can be downloaded here.
I highly recommend visiting Greve in Chianti’s tourist office upon your arrival to get your hands on wine-tasting and walking trail info. The office is located at Via Giovanni da Verrazzano 59 and is open from March to October from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Yours truly recommends the hikes to Passo dei Pecorai (three hours) or Panzano (two hours) which although classified as intermediate are actually quite easy to do. Be sure to also charge your camera before the hike (insert excerpts from awkward argument with partner about dead camera while in the midst of romantic gaiety here) since the scenery is really worthy of Kodak rapidfire. Also, do bring some sort of hiking footwear or post-seventies-era running shoes since there are gravel descents that will require sure footing.
Did you Know?
Mona Lisa, the woman made eternally famous by Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece, is said to have been born in the nearby Vignamaggio Villa just outside of Greve in Chianti.