By Yena Lee
As grape-harvesting season is in the full swing of things, the Chianti wine district comes to mind when in Tuscany. Although there are many notable small and large towns in Tuscany that create flavorful and notable wines, they are also enjoyable beyond the wines they produce.
One particular city, named after the small river that runs through the town, Greve in Chianti is often considered as the “gateway” into the Chianti wine district. The town adopted ‘in Chianti’ to its name when it was included into the Chianti wine district in 1972. Greve in Chianti is nestled between Florence and Siena — about 31 kilometers south and 42 kilometers north, respectively.
The town of Greve in Chianti plays a vital role in the growing of the grapes that are used to make the local wines — the most notable being the Chianti Classico. Beyond their role in the grape production, the town is also heavily invested in olive oil production and truffle harvesting. Another notable production of Greve in Chianti is meat, especially pork. The Cinta Senese pig, a special breed unique to the region, is excellent quality pork.
The town’s frazione, or subdivision, Montefioralle claims to be the birthplace of the famous Amerigo Vespucci, who was an explorer and America’s namesake. Although there are conflicted reports regarding Vespucci’s birthplace, there is a house in Montefioralle’s main street that is marked with a “V” and a wasp for the Vespucci family. Another famed explorer, Giovanni da Verrazzano, was born just north of Greve in Chianti. Famous for discovering the Hudson Bay in New York, the Giovanni da Verrazzano statue stands tall in the main square of the town.
How to get to Greve: Although getting to Greve in Chianti via car would be the easiest and the most scenic, there are other modes of transportation available. An easy way to get to the town would be from the Santa Maria Novella station. Hop on bus line 365 and you will get to Greve in Chianti in just about an hour.
What to do: Beyond being the entrance gate into the Chianti region, Greve in Chianti is full of historical sites.
As previously mentioned, Montefioralle is a frazione of Greve in Chianti. The subdivision town boasts its history and its beauty and it is less than a mile away from Greve in Chianti’s main square.
Every Saturday morning, the weekly market takes place in Greve in Chianti’s main square, Piazza Matteotti. The Saturday morning market offers local products by artisans, workshops and restaurants. In addition, the main square is home to the Antica Macelleria Falorni, which is a butcher shop that has been nestled in the same location of the square since 1729.
The Chiesa Santa Croce is in the main square, as well. The church was originally constructed in the 11th century; however, it was burned down and rebuilt in 1325 with a neo-classical façade.
If you happen to find yourself in Greve in Chianti during the second weekend of September, be sure to check out the Chianti Classico wine festival, which is held every year. Although it is a wine festival, there are local olive oil and cheeses available, as well.
What to eat: Beyond sipping on the wine from Greve in Chianti, which usually is a Chianti Classico, there are must-eats in the town.
As the pork is special in Greve in Chianti, a must-eat local dish is a Cinta Senese porchetta sandwich. In addition, when it is truffle season, restaurants will offer up seasonal dishes with truffles.