When you think of visiting the Chianti region of Tuscany, you probably automatically think about the famous wine that comes from this part of the world. You can, of course, drink Chianti wine year-round, in almost every corner of the planet, so well-known is this wine – but for serious wine lovers, there’s no better time to visit and no better excuse to sip than during the Chianti Classico Wine Festival every September.
The small town of Greve in Chianti hosts the Chianti Wine Festival every year during the second weekend of September. Of course, the term “weekend” is loosely applied here, as the festival gets going on Thursday afternoon. During the festival, Greve’s Piazza Matteotti gets packed with stall after stall of Chianti wine producers, all waiting to pour you a sample of their Chianti Classico. Festivel-goers purchase a wine glass from the stall called the “Segretaria,” and can then taste eight different wines on one ticket.
On the opening Thursday of the festival, things get going at about 5pm, but on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of the festival it starts at 11am and goes through 8pm. There are anecdotal reports that the festival has actually run out of wine glasses in the past, so if you’re keen on attending the Chianti Wine Festival don’t plan on showing up only on the final day. Along with wines, there are also olive oils and local cheeses you can sample.
The town of Greve itself is a fine day trip from either Florence or Siena. It’s a small town, and although it’s probably most famous for its wine production it does also have an old Franciscan monastery right on the main square, as well as a wine museum. If you want to stay overnight in Greve during the festival, be sure to book your stay well in advance. Otherwise, you’ll need to plan your festival visit as a day trip. Note that there is no train station in Greve, so you’ll either need to rent a car or take a bus.