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Quaint Villages of Tuscany
In Tuscany, amazing history lies before you and for many, it is the very essence of Italy. Perfect hilltop villages with their ancient stone houses and breathtaking panoramic views. These villages are full of sudden glimpses of wider vistas beyond. Outside the villages and small towns, the Tuscan countryside is covered with hamlets and tiny clusters of buildings. These ancient places in remote corners of the countryside have strong traditions and a respect for a past ensuring the preservation of these wonderful treasures. To visit Tuscany visiting only the larger cities would exclude the artisans, farmers, craftsmen and their families whose skills have been honed over for centuries. 
 
Just as Tuscany is known for its gorgeous countryside it is equally known for its glorious food and wines on the table. The cuisine is simple, uncomplicated and made from the finest and freshest ingredients. Wine is the best selling product and Chianti wine is the only wine allowed to mark its labels with the “Black Rooster” symbol since 1924. Other prized items are extra virgin olive oil, and vinsanto. The Chianti Classico district is a zone of strong culinary traditions that have incorporated the culture of farm cooking, the nobility of Chianina beef and the great variety of deli meats made from pork, Cinta Senese hogs and boar. Recently the ancient cultivation of saffron was resumed.

To travel to Tuscany without dining in a local trattoria would be a loss.  Happily for anyone who enjoys good food and wine, you will be in very good company exploring the wonderful cuisine of this region in the small Tuscan villages.
 
Below is a brief description of some of our favorite towns. Although each town is full of history, we don't go into all of the history of the towns since this information is widely available on the internet and traditional guide books.
 
 

Greve in Chianti

  1. Greve in Chianti's Piazza Matteotti
    Greve in Chianti's Piazza Matteotti
  2. Panzano
    Pecorino Cheese found at Antica Macelleria Falorni in the Piazza in Greve in Chianti
  3. Castellina
    Antica Macelleria Falorni established in 1782 and known for their beautiful displays of homemade proscuitto, finocchiona and salami's
  4. Enoteca Falorni  with over 130 Chianti wines to taste by the glass
    Enoteca Falorni with over 130 Chianti wines to taste by the glass
  5. Pecorino cheeses
    Pecorino cheeses
  6. Even the cyclist will find a souvenir to take home
    Even the cyclist will find a souvenir to take home
Greve - the "Capital of Chianti" and its symbol of the black rooster is everything you imagine when you think of wine country. Named after the river that runs through it, Greve in Chianti enjoys a privileged position in one of the most important wine districts in Italy. There are over 600 wine growers in the region. On the edge of town is Enoteca Falorni also known as Le Cantine with over 1,000 different types of Italian wines and over 130 Chianti wines to taste by the glass.  Built out of a cave it is one of the finest wine shops in the region and you could easily spend a few hours sampling the various wines. A few minutes outside the town of Greve there are several nice wineries to stop and visit.
 
In the Piazza Matteotti, a bronze statue of  Giovanni Verrazzano who was born in Greve and founded the New York Harbor looms over the piazza.  All the lives, affections and events flow out from here. There is plenty to do in Greve and one could easily spend a few hours in the piazza and the streets that radiate from it. Under the arched loggia of the piazza are linen shops, ceramic shops, gourmet kitchen accessories, cafes, bakeries and butchers selling local specialties such as proscuitto and  cingiale (wild boar).   A weekly market is held in the square on Saturday mornings with stalls selling fruit and vegetables, clothes, kitchenware and much more. The church of Santa Croce, which sits in the southernmost corner of the piazza, is home to several interesting works of art by the Fra Angelico School.  Macelleria Folorni, on the Piazza is one of the oldest butcher shops in Italy. In addition to meats they have a cheese cellar and specialize in pecorino cheese. 

Panzano

  1. Panzano
    Panzano
  2. Panzano
    Exceptional views
  3. Castellina
    Antica Macelleria Falorni established in 1782 and known for their beautiful displays of homemade proscuitto, finocchiona and salami's
  4. Dario's counter display
    Dario's counter display
  5. Wonderful restaurant with a terrace
    Wonderful restaurant with a terrace
  6. One of the artisan studio for custom designs
    One of the artisan studio for custom designs
  7. Original artwork from one of the galleries
    Original artwork from one of the galleries
  8. Santa Maria Assunta Church
    Santa Maria Assunta Church
This little jewel of a village with Etruscan origins is situated on a ridge 1,600 feet above sea level and is the highest point between Greve and the Pesa River Valley. The panoramic views are worth the stop alone. Panzano is on two levels, on the way up are beautiful villas and a few shops. At the top of the town are some of the original castle walls. The original parish church of Santa Maria Assunta was rebuilt at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries on the site of the former 12th century church. Some of the original art work from the original church was saved.
 
Although a small village, Panzano has colorful window displays, garden terraces, artisan shops and some great restaurants. Carlo Fagiani's shop makes buttery-soft leather clothing, handbags and made-to-measure shoes and boots. His small shop has an entire room of leather samples to choose from in several colors.  Dario Cecchini, the most famous butcher in all of Italy is at Antica Macelleria Cecchini.  This is a very nice shop where you go to chat, drink, and sample the wonderful gastronomic meats. This is where you'll find Dario when he isn't working in one of his nearby restaurants. There is a local cheesemaker a short distance from town where you can purchase both fresh and aged pecorino. 
 
 

Castellina in Chianti

  1. Panzano
    Panzano
  2. Panzano
    Exceptional views
  3. Castellina
    Antica Macelleria Falorni established in 1782 and known for their beautiful displays of homemade proscuitto, finocchiona and salami's
  4. Dario's counter display
    Dario's counter display
  5. Wonderful restaurant with a terrace
    Wonderful restaurant with a terrace
  6. One of the artisan studio for custom designs
    One of the artisan studio for custom designs
  7. Original artwork from one of the galleries
    Original artwork from one of the galleries
  8. Santa Maria Assunta Church
    Santa Maria Assunta Church
Castellina is a town favorite situated in the hills in the heart of Chianti between Florence and Siena. It dates back to Etruscan times and remains of an Etruscan cemetary from the 7th-century B.C. can be found in nearby towns. 
 
 
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