Tuscany. Castello di Volpaia – the essence of Chianti

Volpaia - serce i kwintesencja Chianti. Toskania

Picturesque hills, green forests, small stone villages, impressive vineyards to encourage visits and wine tasting, and old olive groves, interspersed with narrow roads and cypresses. Here is the Chianti, the most famous Italian wine region. And there, right in the heart, but at the same timeoff the beaten track, away from the main routes, but at your fingertips, a tiny village with more than 1000 years of history and famous for its production of ond of the best wines at the region. Full of atmosphere medieval walls covered with climbing rose bushes, and among them, a restaurant serving delicious Tuscan cuisine embellished with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. I invite you to Castello di Volpaia, a place which for me is the essence of Chianti.

It was warm and sunny, one of the last days of April 2013, when setting off to explore the Chianti we focused main goal of our sightseeing at the tiny village – Volpaia. This wasn’t the case, because about the unique qualities of this place we knew long time before our trip to Tuscany began.

Even the SP112 road leading from Radda in Chianti to Volpaia is so picturesque, that it’s an attraction in itself. This is a typical idyllic, picture postcard highway, on both sides covered with cypress trees, curving like a mountain stream between fields of vines and olive trees. Delighted with the views suddenly we reached the goal. Suddenly, because the town emerges from behind the hills quite unexpectedly, when round a bend appears his first walls, and is so small, that from the board informing about the entrance, to the board wishing farewell is up to 400 meters.


Road SP112 from Radda in Chianti to Volpaia


Road SP112 from Radda in Chianti to Volpaia

pierwsza papierowa książka


Road SP112 from Radda in Chianti to Volpaia


fter entering the town signposts leads to the free parking on the left side of the road. There, we left the car and went to a meeting with more than 1,000 years of history.


Parking lot at the entrance to Volpaia from Radda in Chianti

Volpaia, actually Castello di Volpaia, built in the eleventh century as a fortified village situated on a hill (400 – 650 m asl) on the border between the rival Florence and Siena. The name comes from the village of Volpaia family, whose coat of arms was a fox (Volpe). Although until today survived only part of the original fortified walls and two of the six towers, medieval layout of buildings in the village is still intact, so Volpaia is considered one of the best preserved medieval villages in this part of Italy. Surrounded by 46 hectares of fields of old vines and 12 hectares of olive groves, the village now belongs to family Mascheroni Stianti: the owner of the property Giovannella, who  received Volpaia as a wedding gift from her father in 1972, her husband Carlo and children: Nicolo and Federici.



Vineyards Volpaia source: Italian Botanical Heritage



Volpaia source: Italian Botanical Heritage


An old map of Volpaia. Foto Wikipedia.org


Volpia, an old photo. Foto Castello di Volpaia


The family Mascheroni Stianti, the owners of  Volpaia. Photo Castello di Volpaia

What is the best way to see Volpaia? I would recommend you three stages: firstly a leisurely walk around medieval streets, which here is only ten, secondly wine tasting and thirdly a delicious meal. Here we go!


One of the most important buildings in Volpaia is the renaissance chapel of Sant’Eufrosino on Piazza della Cisterna, in which is mounted the tank used to collect rainwater.


On the right there’s a fragment of the castle from with the entrance to the store, where you can taste and buy local wine, classified as the best quality Chianti Classico. What is the secret of wine from Castello di Volpaia? The standard Chianti Classico is aged in barrels for 18 months in Volpaia this period is extended up to 24 months.


Piazza della Cisterna


Volpaia is full of charming alleys and corners. In this town in every step you feel the breath of a history


Being in Volpaia absolutely pay attention to the ubiquitous roses, luxuriantly adorning the old walls. Their lover Carlo Mascheroni, the husband of the owner of Volpaia, is personally looking after them.



Ah, the wine tastings! After a difficult choice we bought two bottles, one still is waiting in the home basement for the right opportunity.

Eagers, on an appointment may also visit the Fattoria, see granite circles to squeeze the oil, large vats for wine fermentation which is storage in huge oak barrels. A wine in Volpaia is stored in every free space, even in two of the three churches was turned into wine warehouses, and in the third, where Masses are celebrated, the wine is stored in the basement. Most residents are employed in the family business and are directly or indirectly involved in the production of wine and olive oil. So the village is not only open-air museum, another tourist attraction, but a living and resilient communities.



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Photos: Castello di Volpaia

Filled with amazing atmosphere of the medieval walls did not have the slightest desire to leave Volpaia. So happened, that there was just time to dinner. Without thinking for a long time, we headed to a place where the magnificent Tuscan cuisine seasoned with a view of the hills of Chianti I will never forget. Welcome to the Ristorante La Bottega.

la bottegA VOLPAIA


La Bottega is a family restaurant. Oriano, the head of the family, produces cold cuts and vegetables. Mamma Gina is Chef, whose specialty is homemade pasta and soup ribollita. Carla, the older sister, runs a restaurant, and younger Paola in the barUcci next door prepares snacks with special homemade salami and serves them with a glass of chianti from Volpaia. The owners emphasize, that the dishes served at La Bottega is the taste of the old days, which has existed for 300 years!

Although it was the end of April or low season, although it was a weekday and not a weekend, all chairs in the garden were occupied. But fortune smiles on us after just ten minutes of waiting, when left the restaurant a couple dealing with a table right at the wall, the one with the best view. La Bottega menu is not long, barely two-page, but in it can be found specialties of the local cuisine. BBoth focused on the meat in addition Arthur chose ribollita – a thick soup based on beans which belongs to the canon of Tuscan cuisine, and I ravioli con ricotta e spinaci, or ravioli with ricotta cheese and spinach. Never before and never after I haven’t eaten better versions of this dish.









Volpaia, pearl of Chianti, I’ll be back here, and heartily recommend this village to you!


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