Cycling in Chianti and the Giro d’Italia

Cycling in Chianti around Hotel Villa le Barone
Cycling in Chianti around Hotel Villa le Barone

Are you a bicycle fan? Do you want to cycle in Chianti and at the same time watch the “Giro d’Italia” (Italy’s Cycling Tour), one of the great yearly cycling event?

Then, Hear, Hear! On Sunday May 15th, the 9th lap of the race (chronometer event) will start in Greve in Chianti to finish in Radda through a loop including San Donato in Poggio. The race will go through Panzano in Chianti, just a mile away from Hotel Villa le Barone. Be sure to share in the excitement by booking a room with us and being there on Sunday morning to cheer your favorite racer!
2016’s is the 99th Giro d’Italia, almost a century of racing on difficult and often very long laps all across the Italian regions. The Giro declares itself as “the toughest race in the world in the most beautiful country in the world”. This year’s Giro will be 3 383 Km. long, divided in 21 laps; it will start from Apeldoorn in Holland and finish in Torino Italy. The leader of the overall classification is identified by a pink jersey, the color pink beeing chosen because the newspaper “La Gazzetta dello Sport” that created the Giro to boost its sales at the expenses of the Corriere della Sera, was printed on pink paper.

A bicycle for a fireman in Tuscany!
A bicycle for a fireman in Tuscany!

There will be quite a big show, a wonderful “fiesta” in Panzano in Chianti, with Dario Cecchini’s celebrating the event with his horn, and Chianti Classico flowing abundantly!
And after having enjoyed the event, you can enjoy cycling in Chianti yourself, following one of the itineraries that Hotel Villa le Barone has prepared for you!

Italian Christmas Traditions: Crib and Panettone

Christmas crib: an Italian tradition
Christmas crib: an Italian tradition

The Christmas Crib , staging the nativity scene, however small (fits in a hand) or large (human size), is a very fundamental part of the Italian Christmas. As important are the Christmas meals, which cannot happen without Panettone, the Italian traditional Christmas cake.

It is in 1223 that St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order in the 13th century, has created the first staging of the Nativity with the setting up of the “Christmas Crib” (in Italian “Presepio”) to celebrate the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with the Holy Family and the Child Jesus in the manger, inside a barn or a cave. Gradually, the on looking visitors (shepherds, angels, Magi Kings) and animals (ox, donkey, sheep and camels) were added and surrounded the Child Jesus in his trough, its cradle or on straw. All cities and churches of Italy compete to create the most beautiful crib, the most suggestive, the most realistic and the most original, with characters in wood, wax, cardboard, earthenware and even glass. Some cribs are animated, The Neapolitan cribs are particularly known and respect stringent traditional setting up criteria! Many families also have also their own crib at home which comes out of the cupboards this time of the year.

Christmas market in Greve in Chianti
Christmas market in Greve in Chianti

But Christmas is also a family gathering, the occasion to have a delicious meal, always including traditional Italian Christmas cakes amongst which the most famous is “Panettone”, a brioche stuffed with raisins, candied fruits and citrus zest, eaten for breakfast or, after the meal, with sweet wine.
Traditions are essential and Christmas traditions are still very strong in Italy, with the Crib and the “Panettone”!

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.