If you drive the SR222 Highway in Chianti, aka Strada Regionale Chiantigiana, there’s much to discover along the way! We were introduced to Greve in Chianti in 2007, on our first trip to Tuscany where we rented a house nearby, and have returned many times since.
Greve in Chianti is often considered the entrance gate to the Chianti region because it’s the first major town you reach as you head south of Florence toward Siena.
It’s history is connected to the beautiful Castello di Montefioralle located on a hill above Greve as it was the castle’s marketplace beginning in the 13th century. It’s a delightful small fortified village where the famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci was born.
We enjoyed our first visit to Montefioralle, this past spring, so much, we went back a few days later to take more photos and to enjoy a second lunch at the delightful Taverna del Guerrino…they have a covered patio with an awesome, I mean awesome view!
At the beginning of the 1500s, the triangular shaped Piazza Matteotti was already in Greve and is where, every Saturday, a big market of livestock and foodstuffs took place. Today the piazza has a covered arcade on three sides with shops such as Antica Macelleria Falorni who have been in the same spot since 1729! We couldn’t resist their cured meats and Pecorino! The weekly Saturday morning market still exists today and is great fun. It not only takes place in the piazza but overflows up the street towards the parking lot. Nowadays there are no live animals though! But there’s clothing, shoes, foodstuffs, housewares and I bought a pair copper hoop earrings there that I love! Also held in the piazza are a number of regular food and wine festivals each year. Watching out over the piazza, near Palazzo del Comune (the city hall), is a large statue of Giovanni da Verrazzano, the famous explorer, born near Greve, who discovered the Hudson Bay in New York. And at the other end of the piazza is the Santa Croce Church with its neo-classic facade.
While doing all this wandering about Greve, one does get hungry! We had heard that Nerbone di Greve had a restaurant on the piazza but as it turned out, it is now known as La Terrazza oli Osteria…never mind, seems to be the same chef and we had a great lunch upstairs, on their covered patio overlooking the piazza! Ooh…that mascarpone cream with mosto cotto…heaven!
Let’s face it…for us it’s about the wine! In 1932 Greve, after the area had been redrawn, found itself included in the noble wine region of Chianti Classico. The Gallo Nero or Black Rooster symbol, seen everywhere, appears only on wines whose producers belong to the Chianti Classico Consortium. When you visit, you simply cannot miss doing a little tasting! An absolute must for us, at least once every trip to Chianti, is spending some time at Le Cantine di Greve tasting wines. We love this place! They use a credit card that you apply a certain amount of money to, then amble over to the different tasting stations, pop the card into the slot of your chosen in the “wine machine”, place your glass under the spigot and voila! Why don’t we have this in Vancouver?? When last there we were on the lookout for some Vin Santo to bring home. We tasted a few, found a delicious one and bought the last bottle!