If we had to pick the prettiest hamlet in Chianti it probably would be Montefioralle. Enclosed within its original walls, this tiny village is certainly one of the best-preserved mediaeval fortified villages in the area and in the whole of Tuscany. It sits on a hilltop just above Greve in Chianti, it is a great destination for a relaxing day trip from Siena or Florence.
|Montefioralle - Panorama|
Wondering along narrow cobbled streets you will see characteristic tower houses and two sets of ancient walls, reminders of the days when the village was a stronghold at the forefront of the long bloody feud between Florence and Siena. During the Renaissance, rich silk merchants the Vespucci built a lavish country house on the main street, which has survived and can be recognized by a carved letter “V” and wasp above the doorway. Historians believe that the future explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born here.
At the top of the hill stands the Church of S. Stefano where you can admire beautiful frescoes dating back to the 13th century. Just outside Montefioralle is another example of rural Romanesque style in Tuscany, Pieve di San Cresci built in the 12th century.
|Montefioralle - Street|
If you visit the village in March, you can enjoy the annual Festa di Frittelle during which locals cook sweet rice fritters in a giant pot in the central square that are eaten accompanied by dessert wine Vinsanto. In May Montefioralle hosts the Wine of the Castle Festival during which visitors can taste excellent Chianti from local producers.
Make sure to stop at the small family-run restaurant “Taverna Del Guerrino” with a delightful terrace overlooking the nearby green rolling hills. The menu is short and all dishes are made strictly with local ingredients: thick traditional tomato soup “Pappa al Pomodoro”, pasta with a wild boar sauce and juicy grilled steaks of local chianina beef.
Photos via Flickr by: Jon Culver, Dolf van der Haven.