A tour of the Siena Chianti area: much more than just vineyards
Only 4 municipalities and a single main connecting road. So small (less than 400 square metres) and yet Chianti Senese is one of the most appreciated territories in Italy, even outside of Italy. And it’s no wonder as every curve here is a picture-postcard made of hills, vineyards, cypresses and farmhouses.
And that’s not all. It is one of the areas most intrinsically linked to wine, so much so that it has a road that has been renamed Route 222, the wine route. Every season here is the right one, because the colours of the hills change and offer different shades. But it is perhaps in autumn that the colours explode in their most poetic authenticity, fresher and less stifling than the summer days, when the yellow of the sunflowers explodes, but walking these roads can become tiring for those who suffer from the heat.
Territory, history and food and wine are part of the same story, and it is precisely for this reason that travelling by car remains the most practical way to explore these areas.
Stopping to take a photo of the vineyards that run through the hills, stopping for a wine tasting in the cellar, exploring the villages. All without interruption, enjoying every curve and every view from the car window. And speaking of views, on the SR222 in Croce Fiorentina it is worth taking the Strada del Mandorlo up to the church of Santa Maria in Colle, also known as Badiola. From here you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of Chianti Senese!
A precious treasure chest in the heart of Tuscany, Chianti Senese finds part of its identity in its food and wine excellences, often the result of hard and tenacious work with the territory, made not only of gentle hills but also of dense forests where chestnut trees, oaks, Turkey oaks, holm oaks, downy oaks, black hornbeams, flowering ash trees, stone and maritime pines and a large undergrowth can be found. These are the places where the Cinta Senese pigs are raised, an internationally renowned gastronomic excellence, and which today is protected by a specific Consortium. That it is an ancient breed of pig is testified by the famous fresco by Lorenzetti “The Effects of Good Government” of 1338. Supplanted by the imports of the 1960s and 1970s, it was saved when it was in danger of disappearing, in the 1990s when only 40 were left.
Among the products there is one that stands out: the Cinta Senese salami, which is obtained by grinding lean meat of purebred pigs with diced fat, salt, pepper, wine, garlic and sugar.