Wine festival in Panzano in Chianti

August 16, 2015  |  Chianti Holidays, Events, Food & Wine  |  Comments Off on Wine festival in Panzano in Chianti


Enjoying wine  by J and D Fields , winners of the photo contest at Villa le Barone

Enjoying wine by J and D Fields , winners of the photo contest at Villa le Barone

Less than one month from now, September 10th to September 13th, Panzano in Chianti’s yearly wine festival “Vino al Vino” will be held in the main square of the village allowing local winemakers to present their wines. This is a great occasion to sample most of the local wines … and to listen to great jazz!

Panzano in chianti, with its southern oriented large valley named “Conca d’Oro” (Golden bowl), enjoys a very privileged micro climate. The top of the slopes are covered with cypresses and other type of trees, while vines producing the best of wines grow on the most favoured slopes. The vines, though, don’t have it entirely their own way and share the terrain with olive trees also being well represented.

There are twenty vintners in Panzano in Chianti, each one of them bottling under their own brand names the wine made with their own grapes. Their quest for quality is well known. The wines they produce incorporate in their taste and aroma the typicity of their territory, which make them unique and impossible to be reproduced elsewhere in the world. Local Panzano wine makers have developed a viticulture that uses natural products and methods. Most of them are now working under organic and even biodynamic protocols, thus making the whole territory of Panzano “sustainable” and enabling workers and more broadly the whole population of Panzano to live in a protected environment.

View on the Chianti vineyards  from Villa le Barone

View on the Chianti vineyards from Villa le Barone

Coming to “Vino al Vino”, September 10th to September 13th in Panzano in Chianti, you will be able to sample the different styles of wines, chat with the winemakers and participate in a wonderful festive atmosphere. The Panzano jazz band is also part of the attraction!

Panzano square is at a walking distance from Villa le Barone, through a small country road with wonderful views! And if you cannot come for the exact dates of “Vino al Vino”, no problem! This special event signals the beginning of the grape picking season and you will be able to take part in wine tastings that Villa le Barone can organize for you. In our wonderful restaurant or on the terrace, you will also be able to get the best Chianti classic wines produced in Panzano and sitting in our garden you will be able to enjoy a protected environment as well as magnificent views on the Chianti hills and on the vineyards.

Expo 2015 and Abitare la Storia

February 7, 2015  |  Culture and Art, Events  |  Comments Off on Expo 2015 and Abitare la Storia

Milan The cathedral

The best time to visit Italy is “Now”, at the occasion of Expo 2015: it is an opportunity to visit Italy and stay in prestigious Historic Hotels!

Italy will host in 2015 (from May 1st  to  October 31st, 2015)  the Universal Exposition (Expo 2015) in Milan.     Attended by  Country representations, Companies, NGO’s, Individuals from all over the world  Expo 2015 will focus during these six months, on the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.  Italy itself, with its centuries old tradition of fine food and drink will showcase each of its region’s accomplishments highlighting taste, quality and sustainability.

Coming from afar to visit Milan is certainly worthwhile for this event, but to fully take advantage of this occasion, why not take an extra few days and visit some of the Italian regions?  Hire a car, use the Freccia Rossa speed train, travel safely on well kept highways and provincial roads to discover restaurant, hamlets, awesome sights, art cities … from the Alps down to Sicily Italy is a constant surprise.  This year, also, some of you will have a big ally to make your trip more affordable:  the Euro (€), our national currency, has gone very significantly down with respect to many currencies and 20% against the US Dollar … so it’s a good occasion to take advantage of this, buy your tickets and reserve your Hotel!

Villa le Barone: view on the Chianti Hills from the gardens

And where to stay in Italy?   The prestigious historic hotels, partners of “Abitare la Storia”, of which Villa le Barone is a member, are located in beautiful places, from the north to the south of Italy. Staying in an  Historic Hotel , you will discover Italian art and culture, live in style,  and enjoy the tradition of Italian hospitality. Most of the time, you will be greated by the owner itself, who will be happy to tell you the story of his mansion and will give you advice on how to discover the region “out of the beaten tracks”.  It will be also the occasion to sample many of our regional foods and wines: risotto allo zafferano, bollito misto, spaghetti alla carbonara, cassata Siciliana, ribollita, Cannoli … and a thousand more specialties are available for you to taste together with Barolo, Chianti Classico, Aleatico, Brunello, Lambrusco, Amarone!

So, we , in Villa le Barone , are waiting for you  and can help you make a wonderful itinerary across Italy or the part of Italy you have chosen going through our list of Historic Hotels of Abitare la Storia.

Abitare la Storia and Contemporary art in Chianti

September 25, 2014  |  Culture and Art, Events, News  |  Comments Off on Abitare la Storia and Contemporary art in Chianti

Villa le Barone, an historic hotel, member of Abitare la Storia

Villa le Barone, a Chianti member of Abitare la Storia,   the association of Italian Historic Hotels, will host an exhibition from the contemporary sculptor Marina Destombe from 29 Settember to 5th October.

Villa le Barone has developed long time cooperation with Marina Destombe, a Dutch sculptor and painter now living in Tuscany.  From the 20th to the 27th September, Marina exhibits some of her sculptures via Roma in Greve in Chianti.  Afterwards, she will display them on the terrace of Villa le Barone , in Panzano in Chianti,  where guests will be able to admire them.
Marina Destombe has studied in the Netherlands at the Academie Minerva, Groningen and three years at The Kunst Academie Ruud Wackers, Amsterdam. She decided afterwards to continue her studies in Italy at the Florence Academy of Art. It is in Tuscany, in Greve in Chianti, that she comes into contact with the renowned Fonderia Del Giudice, where the art and technique of lost wax casting has been handed down for now 3 generations. Marina is also a painter, and she has a particular passion for portraits, as she explains “Portraits create a juncture between my painting and people’s personalities. They unite the two perfectly”.

A sculpture by Marina Destombe, exposed at Villa le Barone

Marina has exposed held many exhibitions of her works, combining paintings and sculptures, in Holland, Switzerland. Marina has now decided to live and work in Italy, where she has a studio. She also offers watercolor and oil painting courses for adults and children (,  and guests of Villa le Barone can benefit of exchanges with her!

Villa le Barone, a historic hotel member of “Abitare la Storia” showcases contemporary art in Greve in Chianti!

Wine Festivals in Chianti

September 10, 2014  |  Chianti Holidays, Events, Special Offers  |  Comments Off on Wine Festivals in Chianti

Greve in Chianti Wine Festival Piazza Mattteotti

The dates of the 2014 wine festivals in Chianti, close to Villa le Barone, are approaching!  September 11th to September  14th in Greve in Chianti and September 18th to September 21st  in Panzano.

The first wine festival to take place from September 11th to September 14th in Greve in Chianti is the “Chianti Classico Expo”, where nearly 100 Chianti  producers will  give visitors the opportunity to taste their wines : buy a glass, labeled with the Chianti Classico  rooster, and you can taste all the wines you want! But many other festive events are also taking place at the occasion of the festival: olive oil, salami and cheese tastings, many street concerts by the Attraroba Street band, Gli Amici di Chianti, I Blasconati,  and many others. There will be also conferences: ”Responsible drinking”,  “From wine lover to sommelier, an easy step”. The exhibition of Lorenzo Galligani, a contemporary sculptor, will be inaugurated at the San Francesco Museum…The”Chianti Classico Expo” is certainly an event that should not be missed! A lot of fun! Only 10 minutes driving from Villa le Barone to Greve and, if you wish to hike,  we also propose a scenic  walk  in the countryside of about 1hour one way to reach that small town.

Panzano in Chianti The Wine Festival Vino al Vino

The second wine festival taking place is “Vino al Vino” in Panzano in Chianti from September 18th to September 21th. It is smaller and only the vintners of Panzano meet in the village square to show their wines, often judged as the best of the region. Here too visitors have the chance to sample the different styles of wines, chat with the winemakers and listen to some great jazz! The Vino al Vino Festival is not to be missed either. It is organized by the “ Unione Viticoltori di Panzano”,  a free and independent group of 20 wineries founded by Giovanni Manetti, (Fontodi), working to promote a “Sustainable Panzano”. The main things that unify those producers are – the love for the land, Panzano, where they live, work and raise their children. -the passion for their work as vintners and winemakers, each of them making wine with their own grapes and running their winery directly taking care of all principal aspects. -the commitment for furthering the quest for quality, a quest that sometimes can become obsession. The Union is aiming at contributing to a “Sustainable Panzano” with a viticulture, that, if sustainable and organic, will allow to live and work in a cleaner environment,  and that will enable a healthier production of  wines, without chemical residues and of higher quality.. Hotel Villa le Barone, located in Panzano, also contributes to a “Sustainable Panzano” and has been designated as an “Eco-leader “ by Trip Advisor.  One can easily walk from Villa le Barone to the Vino al Vino Festival: it takes only 20 minutes!
Take a week end break and stay at Villa le Barone to enjoy the Vino al Vino festival.

The Palio of Siena: a must, to be seen at least once in a lifetime!

June 26, 2014  |  Chianti Holidays, Culture and Art, Events  |  Comments Off on The Palio of Siena: a must, to be seen at least once in a lifetime!

Close to Siena , "Contradas" flags in Villa le Barone's fitness room

The Palio of Siena horse race that takes place on July 2nd  and August 16th  in the Piazza del Campo should be seen at least once in a lifetime: The race itself lasts a very short time, but it is preceded by a beautiful parade where each “contrada” (neighborhood) participated  garbed in its historical costumes.

During the 4 days preceding the Palio, Siena also becomes the venue for parties and the occasion for several celebrations.
Our Reception can book tickets for the Palio of Siena, either July 2nd or August 16th. And after the hectic crowd in Siena, you will return to the relaxing quiet atmosphere of Villa le Barone, just 40 minutes away.

The Palio of Siena is an event that has always been part of the life of Siena’s inhabitants. Each year the Sienese go crazy for the Palio, which takes place since 1644 in the central Piazza del Campo.
The first races were with “buffalo” type cattle, later on donkeys and finally real horse races were held. Today, the race takes place between 10 districts (“contrada”) of the seventeen in the city.  Violante, Princess of Bavaria, governor of the city at that time, established in 1729 seventeen districts or “contrade” (Contrada is the singular). Even today, Siena has 17 contrade, almost all named after  an animal: Aquila (Eagle) Bruco (Caterpillar), Chiocciola (Snail), Civetta (Owl), Drago (Dragon), Giraffa (Giraffe), Istrice (Porcupine), Leocorno (Unicorn), Lupa (She-Wolf), Nicchio (Shell), Oca (Goose), Onda (Wave), Pantera (Panther), Selva (Forest), Tartuca (Tortoise), Torre (Tower), Valdimontone (Aries). Six other contrade do not exist anymore, but existed before 1675 Quercia (oak), Vipera (Viper), Orso (Bear), Leone (Lion), Gallo (Rooster) and Spadaforte (Sword) and were disqualified because of their violence. Although they are now extinct they always march alongside others in the traditional procession of flag bearers, drummers and trumpeters, which precedes the race. Each contrada is headed by a Prior and each contrada has its own church, its symbol, its flag, its songs, its codes, its colors.

Siena is preparing for the Palio and flags are displayed

Palio rules are very complex and only a true Sienese can explain you all the subtleties! The race itself takes a very short time for the horse / rider team, representing one of the seventeen districts of the city, to run the three laps around the square. But the race is preceded by a spectacular grand parade. With colorful costumes and very  lively, all contradas are present with drums,  notables, horsemen,  … flag bearers throw their flags  with their staff high in the air and then catch them adroitly back. The horses and riders wear the colors and weapons of their district. During the race, riders ride bareback. They have the right to use their whip to hit other horses and their riders. The winner is the first horse (not necessarily the rider since he can fall!) that finishes the race, as long as  its head ornaments is still intact. The winner gets the Palio flag, painted specially for the event. That’s when the big party in the winning “contrada” begins!

Staying at the historic Hotel Villa le Barone, near Siena, you will enjoy this beautiful city and if you like, go attend the  Palio, an event worth seeing at least once in one’s lifetime. We can reserve a place for you!