A mid-spring escape to Chianti, Tuscany

Chianti, a strongly evocative word. It can be  both a unique wine and a Tuscan area, a spot of extraordinary beauty, roughly extending between Florence and Siena. The accommodations offered by www.tuscanyholidayrent.com are plenty. Particularly recommended the lovely apartments from a renovated 14th century convent on a plateau at 5km from Colle Val d’Elsa.

They are perfect for a regenerating, though short, holiday, being plunged into a  landscape made up of  rolling hills, of rows of cypresses and  solitary farmhouses. An invitation  into history, a journey into the slow time, which still continues to beat  in the  surrounding medieval  villages characterized by distinctive  colours  at this period of the year.

Colle Val d’Elsa stands for a plunge into the spiritual Middle Ages of the nearby Cistercian Abbey of San Salvatore. But the magical atmosphere of this town,  elongated on the tuff  ridge of the Elsa River catches the visitor for its urban features  the Castello and the Borgo, joined by the 16th century Palazzo Campana. Beyond Poggibonsi the landscape offers an incredible skyline, the towers of San Gimignano, still stunning  even after many visits. Walk inside towards the Piazza Duomo with its sequence of medieval palaces and climb up to the Torre Grossa to get lost amidst the Tuscan countryside. Certaldo, the hometown  of Boccaccio the novelist of the Decameron can’t be missed at sunset time when the pervading brick becomes reddishly golden. A tour has also to be devoted to Castellina in Chianti and to its widening vineyards outlining the landscape. A slow drive along the Via Cassia, the consular  road joining Florence with Rome will lead  to Monteriggioni,  to  its 14 towers compared by Dante, in his Inferno, with giants. This medieval jewel  deserves to be discovered  through a walk along the main street joining  the two opposite gates towards Rome and Florence. The houses look special,  detached from modern times, and their towers tell old stories of sieges,  cavaliers and wartimes.

Experiencing the Chianti means  tasting the flavors  which have made famous this part of Tuscany all over the world. Cooking is here art, the high-ranked  ingredients  are  enhanced through ancient simple rites, handed down from generations. Thence the ribollita with stale bread and black cabbage and vegetables from the kitchen garden as main ingredients or the pappa al pomodoro  and the so much loved panzanella from a mixture of  tomato, onion, basil and its final trickle of  real Tuscan olive oil.

A glass of Chianti classic wine can be missing   for this unforgettable  mid-spring holiday.

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