Cycling in Chianti

June 11, 2012  |  Activities

There are many cycling and biking possibilities around Villa le Barone, our charming country hotel in the heart of Chianti and this is why we have the pleasure of hosting a number of biking and cycling adepts.

From Villa le Barone, you can very easily reach Greve or Castellina or Radda in Chianti as we are very close to these three towns. Our hotel is pleased to lend, for free, 2 mountain bikes and helmets, but it is also very easy to rent specific bikes of different types in nearby Greve in Chianti. Some Guests prefer to come with their own “road bikes”, which need paved roads. More often, they come with their hybrid bikes or touring bikes, allowing cycling on dirt roads, which in Chianti are often in a decent state of repairs. Whatever type of bicycles you choose, cycling in Chianti might be somewhat tiring, but allows a fantastic discovery of our beautiful landscapes, the historical villages and hamlets, the small churches. You immerse yourself in the silence of the small roads going through forests, vineyards, olive groves, cypress alleys …. along these roads, many breathtaking sights are guaranteed!

Villa le Barone has prepared a few itineraries for its cycling Guests and we would like to share one of them with you: a 30kms long loop (of course you can shorten it!). Going out of our hotel on the right, you go first on a paved road, at the t-junction turn right on a dirt road which climbs nicely and allows you to have marvelous sights on the countryside and the vineyards. You certainly will want to stop, close to the top, to admire the “Cinta Senese “pigs, a very ancient breed going back to Roman times. The first evidence of their existence dates back from the late Middle Ages when Ambrogio Lorenzetti included one of these animals in his fresco called the “Good Government” (visible in Town Hall of Siena), painted in 1338. Villa le Barone’s guests taking some of our special offers can get a free entrance tickets to this museum! The colors of the pig’s coat are dark colored, as a boar, with a pink stripe that encircles the chest of the animal. “Cinta Senese” ‘s salamis and hams are considered the very best! On the road, specially at dusk, you may see boars and deers.

You then keep pedaling, mostly downhill, to Volpaia, in Radda in Chianti, passing through a forest of oaks, chestnut trees, beech trees, with nice openings on spectacular views. Castello di Volpaia is a small fortified medieval village on top of a hill dominating the surrounding countryside: you can see Panzano in Chianti, Villa le Barone and Radda in Chianti. Volpaia has been in the midst of the rivalries between Florence and Siena in the 12th century. You will certainly love going through its narrow streets, admiring the medieval houses, the old wooden doors, the defense walls, the arches . Today Volpaia is mostly dedicated to wine production and if you come in September, at the grape picking season, you can watch the grapes being pressed while the smell of grape and wine surround you! And in all seasons there are two wine bars where you can taste a nice glass of Chianti!

After your visit to Volpaia, continue the road, now asphalted, going nicely down. Take your time and enjoy the Tuscan landscape having a look at Radda in Chianti! When you reach the bottom of the valley, leave the road indicating “Radda” and turn right, uphill, towards the Pieve di Santa Maria Novella, the oldest church in Chianti (1010). The terrace in front of the church is planted with centenarians mulberry trees, a memory to the time, at the end of the 14th and 15th centuries, when in Tuscany silkworms were raised to produce large quantities of silk exported all over Europe ! The Santa Maria Novella church, former seat of a bishop, still belongs, just like the Pieve of San Leolino next to Villa le Barone, to the Fiesole bishopry, but the residence of the bishop, next to the church, is now a private property. Unfortunately, the church is closed. After resting in Santa Maria Novella, you continue uphill towards Castelvecchi. Admire the typical Tuscan old holm-oaks bordering part of the road. The asphalted road ends at Casalvecchi, but you continue on a nicely climbing dirt road, again in a forest of chestnut trees, oaks, and brooms. After approximately 3 kms you arrive at a crossing indicating Panzano on the left and again, take a left at the following cross road …. And you then return nicely downhill to Villa le Barone where you can relax, have a nice drink, dive in the swimming pool, play tennis ! Enjoy sports and relax in Tuscany, in our country luxury hotel Villa le Barone !


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