LOVELY HAMLET IN THE CHIANTI HILLS

VIEWS, WINE, OLIVE OIL AND GREAT FOOD

IN THE MIDDLE OF CHIANTI

Casavecchia is located on the outskirts of San Casciano in Val di Pesa, halfway between Florence and Siena, in the center of Tuscany, where the rolling hills stretch as far as the eye can see, and wine, olive oil and great food are in abundance. Many important monuments and historical villas are located in this area, called “Classic Chianti”: many of these castles or villas had been built to overlook the valley and oversee its oil and wine productions. It is now called “Chiantishire”, or simply “Chianti”: some of the best wine labels of the world have their home here, such as Antinori, the most famous. Our guests enjoy simply strolling around the area close to the villa or down the dirt road to downtown to explore the village and its sites— a wooden Christ scene by Simone Martini, a cozy gothic church, the remains of the medieval walls— before stopping by a wine bar for a late afternoon tasting.

SAN CASCIANO VAL DI PESA

A gateway leading to the land of vine-covered hills

San Casciano in Val di Pesa is the first town to greet you in northern Chianti. While the delightful town center is perched on a hill, the rest of the town is scattered with small fortresses, churches, and hamlets waiting to be discovered in the winding bends of the Chianti hills.

Owned by the bishops of Florence since its foundation, San Casciano was annexed by the Republic of Florence in the 13th century and was later fortified as a stronghold to defend against the Republic of Siena. Today you can still catch a glimpse of the impressive remains of the imposing city walls and medieval towers.

In town, don’t miss the San Casciano Museum: the sacred and archeological art sections house works from across the municipality. Here you’ll find remarkable reredos of the Archangel Michael and stories of his legend by Coppo di Marcovaldo, in addition to a striking Madonna with Child by Ambrogio Lorenzetti.

Among the many monuments, don’t miss the Collegiate Church of San Casciano and the Church of Misericordia (or Santa Maria al Prato), home to a stunning collection of artwork including a Crucifix by Simone Martini. The area is bursting with churches, a result of San Casciano’s important role in medieval times. Among these, check out the parish church of Santa Cecilia in Decimo not far from the residential center; the Romanesque church of San Giovanni in Sugana; the church of San Pancrazio, a breathtaking example of Longobard-influenced Romanesque architecture; and the church of Santo Stefano a Campoli (from 903), near Mercatale Val di Pesa.

There are as many spectacular villas as there are churches, so be sure to check out Villa i Collazzi and Villa Tattoli near the town of Cerbaia. In Sant’Andrea in Percussina, head to Villa Bossi-Pucci, also known as l’Albergaccio, known for having hosted Niccolò Machiavelli. Last but not least, check out Villa Antinori in Cigliano and Villa Le Corti of the Corsini princes. You’ll also find some impressive castles scattered around the region: add the castles of Gabbiano, Bibbione Castle and Pergolato to your list of things to see.

Florence

IT WILL BE BEAUTIFUL, INDEED

Florence is just a short drive away: one of the best and most desirable cities of the world lies close at hand. Visiting Florence will involve hours of walking, but you will see the Uffizi and David of Michelangelo, the Bargello Museum, and maybe Ferragamo’s for a little shopping. It will be lampredotto to go, ice-cream and queues, Ponte Vecchio and Piazzale Michelangelo. It will be beautiful, indeed.

If you are visiting Tuscany you cannot miss Florence. The Renaissance city is both a treasure trove of historic art and a thriving contemporary metropolis. Beyond the extraordinary artistic heritage, a testimony to its centuries of civilization, the best way to enjoy Florence is to stroll along the riverside avenues at sunset, or get lost among the city’s myriad alleyways of the bohemian Oltrarno or the little streets of San Niccolò, where it feels like you have ended up in another time along its centuries-old walls.

Florence is the perfect walking city due to its compactness: as you stroll from the Baptistery to the Palazzo Vecchio, from the Ponte Vecchio to the Pitti Palace, you will be steeped in a world of art and fashion. Florence’s city center (UNESCO World Heritage Site) is scattered with an eclectic mix of boutiques. All of the world’s best-known labels have set up shop here as the city is a lovemark and landmark for international fashion. When you start to tire of the crowded streets, leave the center behind and head for the hills! A challenging climb leads up to Piazzale Michelangelo and San Miniato al Monte – it’s worth the effort to see some of the most soul-soothing and inspiring views in the world.

From Casavecchia to Florence Airport takes about 30 minutes, while to Pisa Airport it takes about one hour. The Santa Maria Novella Railway station in Florence links regional towns on a daily basis.

siena

Postcard scenery soaked in tradition, history and must-see places

The Siena area, known as the “Terre di Siena” in Italian, is the scenic countryside surrounding Siena, which continues to entice travelers with its beauty just like in the times of the Grand Tour. This land welcomes with the charm of the past, ready to wow with the wonders of wooded and clay valleys, distinctive rows of vineyards, rolling hills dotted with olive trees and centuries-old food traditions.

Siena is so astonishingly beautiful that it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Piazza del Campo, Torre del Mangia and the Cathedral are gems that leave visitors breathless. It’s a city with a strong identity, where the sense of belonging to something greater is palpable, and whose traditions are not just stories worth telling but experiences worth doing, such as the Palio, the old horse race.

Visiting the Siena area means being struck by the sheer beauty of shrines, churches and villages, as well as by streams flowing through woodlands and countless trails surrounded by greenery and nature reserves, such as those located along the river Merse. Enjoy the silence of a relaxing spa experience at the Terme di Petriolo in Monticiano, or at Rapolano, or the quietude of a visit to the Cistercian San Galgano Abbey, in Chiusdino, a place shrouded in mystery that elicits contemplation. There’s also Asciano, where the Monte Oliveto Maggiore Monastery is an equally spiritual destination. Medieval towns like Buonconvento and Monteroni d’Arbia stand near the rugged ravines, as well as Etruscan villages such as Murlo and Sovicille.

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