Chianti region, Tuscany ©
A circular route from Siena through the Chianti hills provides visitors to Tuscany with a wonderfully scenic and sensory travel experience. The route covers the villages of the Chianti Classico wine region, garnished with ancient castles and rambling farmhouses. The vineyards and wooded hills of the Chianti are best explored along its winding back roads or from within its sleepy hamlets. By car, visitors should keep a lookout for signs marked 'vendita diretta' ('direct sales'). The first stop is at Castello di Brolio, a magnificent vineyard owned by the Ricasoli family since 1167. The SS484 will take you south of Brolio and north past the hamlets of San Gusme, Campi and Linari before rejoining the road for a diversion to the Meleto castle. Another worthwhile stop is at Badia a Coltibuono, for its restaurant and Romanesque church. The winding road west to Radda, in Chianti, is especially picturesque. A further nine miles (15km) from here is the hamlet of Volapia, a delightful place which makes you feel as though you've travelled back in time; as does a visit to sleepy Castellina. Within the ramparts of this walled village is the Bottega del Vino Galla Nero, at Via della Rocca 13, showcasing the region's delectable wines and olive oils. There are many potential detours and attractions in the region and although it is a good idea to pick a few desired stops in advance it is a joy to just get lost in the area.