Heart of Tuscany
In the heart of Tuscany, between Florence, Siena and Arezzo is the Chianti, a series of beautiful hills, parish churches, tiny stone hamlets and suggestive Castles. A pictoresque countryside dotted with olive trees, dark cypresses and striped with vineyards, an ispiration for poets, painters and postcards for centuries
About the area
Gaiole in Chianti is situated in a strategic position , is a good starting point for various half day excursions, beginning with a visit of the Castles, pride of the locals, Rocca di Castagnoli, Castello di Cacchiano, Castello di Meleto, Castello di Spaltenna, Castello di San Donato in Perano and Castello di Brolio of course.
Changing destination but not the wonderful scenario of the countryside, is a visit of the lovely, tiny stone hamlet of Vertine, of San Sano with houses adorned with colorful geraniums, or Radda in Chianti a beautiful, small medieval town with defensive walls, tower houses and narrow streets or Badia a Coltibuono, an Abbey lived by Vallombrosan friars until the end of the 17th century and an hotel nowadays .
Why not mention the Terme di Rapolano, a small town in the province of Siena, famous for its thermal baths, a perfect place to relax and recharge body, mind and spirit Vineyards, countries with castles and abbeys, but above all a dense network of dirt roads, make the Chianti, like other areas of Tuscany, a perfect place for simple trips, for beginners or children, for the athletic training of cyclists.
The routes can be practiced with racing bikes, hybrid bikes and mountain bikes, although the topography of the area lends itself to be traveled by mountain bike or good trekking bikes.
The white roads allow to keep a low speed and then to enjoy the view and the historical and artistic beauties that are encountered along the route. The ideal is to also stage the various wineries or farmhouses, where you can taste wine and typical products of Tuscan cuisine.
About the wine
Because of its position at the base of the valley, Gaiole has always played an important role in history as a market center for the towns and castles nearby one among all is the Castello di Brolio, one of the most impressive in the region wich commands the surrounding countryside. Owned by the Ricasoli Family since the 12th century, is now the largest and oldest winery in the Chianti Classico area thanks also to the Baron Bettino Ricasoli who invented here the Chianti Formula in 1872
Since then the wine production in the Chianti Classico area increased due also to many small farms who through the years improved their skills in viticulture and enology enough to be nowadays counted among the most famous wines in the world
Worldwide the Chianti Classico is also known for the “Gallo Nero” label on the neck of the bottle, wich indicates that the winery is member of the “Consorzio Chianti Classico”, the local association of producer.
About the cycling
Tuscany is a region devoted to cycling, it gave birth to some of the best known cyclists…
Gino Bartali (1934-1954),
Fiorenzo Magni (1941-1956),
Alfredo Martini (1941-1957),
Gastone Nencini (1953-1965),
Franco Bitossi (1961-1978),
Franco Chioccioli (1982-1994),
Franco Ballerini (1986-2001),
Super Mario Cipollini (1989-2005),
Michele Bartoli (1992-2004),
Paolo Bettini (1997-2008),
all of them left their indelible mark on the history of cyclism
And the Chianti area with its ancient roads, sometimes dirt, surrouded by a breathtaking nature it has been and still is the perfect location for different types of racing, the “Time Trial Race “in 2016, the “Strade Bianche Gran Fondo” run every 1st sunday of March and, from an idea of Giancarlo Brocci, the “Eroica” that since 1997 is held in early October always with a great success with over 8000 participants.