If you haven't been to the Chianti region in Tuscany yet, I'm not sure what you're waiting for. The largest wine region in Italy, Chianti offers my favorite wine in the world, and for good reason. A delicious red made out of at minimum 80% Sangiovese grapes, this wine is the literal heart of Tuscany.
The best way to experience these rolling hills and succulent wine, is with my friends at Fun In Tuscany via horseback!
The Best (and most traditional) Way to See Chianti
After hopping in a van with the Fun in Tuscany staff and a few other fellow travellers from Australia and America, we arrived at the quaint agriturismo, Il Vecchio Maneggio, translating to "The Old Ranch". A stunning little farm villa with 5 rooms for those wishing to have an overnight stay, the family makes their own honey and olive oil, as well as wine. Several wild horses roam the grounds and there is a swimming pool overlooking the hills to cool off in the summer months.
After a quick espresso, a shot of limoncello, a stunning panoramic of San Gimignano from afar, and taste of honey, we saddled up for an hour long excursion through the Chianti vineyards. Farm dogs running alongside us, we watched grapes harvested by workers, and rode through the serene countryside. The perfect weather, amazing sights and smells, made for a perfect morning trip. The ride was wonderful, with abounding vineyard hills, and olive branches as far as the eye could see. The pristine fall weather ensured a comfortable ride.
No previous riding experience is necessary, though an understanding doesn't hurt. The horses were well trained, safe, and though one troublemaker liked to make pitstops for snacks, they treated us perfectly. Absolutely my new favorite method of transportation anywhere.
San Gimignano, a Medieval Time Capsule
Stepping onto the streets in San Gimignano is like stepping back into a medieval fairytale. Once hosting an approximated 150 towers, San Gimignano remains mostly untouched by Renaissance and Baroque eras, due to the quick upgrowth of nearby Florence directing traffic away from the town. Set atop a high hill, San Gimignano offers a perfect panoramic view of quintessential Tuscan hills, and the town also sports the best gelato in the world from Gelateria Donoldi, with the famous flavor Crema di Santa Fina. A must visit when you book your day trip to San Gimignano.
Traditional Tuscan Lunch
After the fun on horseback and our wonderful tour through San Gimignano, we headed to a wine tasting and traditional Tuscan lunch. 10 different types of wines are presented, from a dry white, to Chianti red, a Brunello, and a bitter sweet desert wine. Antipasti, ribollita, and a delicious homemade lasagna were served to make the perfect end to a wonderful day.
About Fun In Tuscany
Founded in 2005, Fun In Tuscany was the first company to open horseback riding and vespa tours through Tuscan vineyards. Knowledgeable guides lead small groups of no more than 8 or 9 through one of the most beautiful places in Italy. Their tours generally last from 9:30 - 5:00, and there are several options apart from horseback riding. Wine tastings, vespa tours, ATV tours, and more are availabile. For more info, and to have an amazing experience you will never forget, visit www.funintuscany.com. Be sure to book with them and check this wonderful experience off your bucket list!