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What towns do you think are the best of Chianti?

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Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:08 AM
  #1
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What towns do you think are the best of Chianti?

I was wondering what you all thought were the best towns in Chianti and why? Here are the impressions I received from my guidebook. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

1) Panzano - labeled the prettiest town in Tuscany.
2) Greve - largest town
3) Gaiole - also labeled pretty and charming
4) Castellina/Radda - tiny villages

Out of these towns, which ones do you feel are MUST SEES? My plan is to do Chianti in the morning and early afternoon and then head over to San Gimi in the late afternoon (after the tour buses have left and into the dusk time.)
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 11:29 AM
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It is very easy to see them all..Drive on the "Chiantigiana", a two lane road heading north towards Florence and you'll pass through several of them. Radda and Gaiole are on an adjacent connecting road through the hills. Have lunch in one of the towns; visit Ceramiche Rampini in Radda to purchase beautiful pottery.Look at www.chianti.com for more ideas. We've stayed in Castellina in Chianti twice and used it as a base for exploring Siena and north.I can't imagine not doing a driving tour through this area of hills and vineyards when you are staying nearby in Siena. I don't know how many days you're staying in Tuscany, however on other days you could visit San Gimi and Volterra,and, of course, Florence.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:06 PM
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Do you think I will have time to visit all 5 Chianti towns and then still head to San Gimi in the late afternoon?
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:09 PM
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I stayed at the Villa Pecille in Panzano in June 2010. I loved the area. Luckily the Villa Pecille was within walking distance to the town of Panzano. Very picturesque. The town square was very nice. The town had excellent restaurants and gorgeous scenery. In the future, I plan on returning to the Villa and touring the Chianti area more extensively.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:20 PM
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Look at your map. The main road to Poggibonsi and San Gim. runs from Castellini. Since you do not have time for all of them I would drop Greve and Gaiole and plan to drive from Castellini.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:31 PM
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Bob - okay, I am looking at the map and tell me what you think of this plan:

Start in Siena (obviously) and drive north to Panzano and then south to Castellina and then west to San Gimi.

So, if I drop Greve and Gaoile - I am not missing anything spectacular....
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 12:36 PM
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It is all spectacular---you need to manage your time.
To me, Castellini and Panzano are the preferable.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 01:37 PM
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This is exactly the kind of information I was looking for. Thanks!

Does anyone have restaurant recommendations for a place in Panzano or Castellini that have outdoor seating overlooking the countryside?
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:11 PM
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bob: ...you need to manage your time.

Folks, this guy's my dad. Do you have any idea how many times I heard this phrase during my adolescence?

(Happy new year, big guy.)
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Seriously, Mr Go? We all love your Dad!!!!
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 02:45 PM
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We stayed in a villa just outside Castellina and thought it was a great little village. Really pretty.

mr_go, that's funny!
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:13 PM
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mr_go, how cool to have bobthenavigator as your Dad. I bet you always have the best planned holidays!
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:21 PM
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He and Ms_Go plan their own trips and do it VERY well.
Check out their many trips at www.onelittleworld.com
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:44 PM
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A little chip off the old block, Bob?
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:45 PM
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<>

Il Vescovino: Via da Panzano, 9, located at the top of Panzano on a little street to the left of the church, Tel: 055-8560152, Closed Tuesday.

Trattoria Oltre il Giardino: Piazza G. Bucciarelli 42, Panzano. Tel: 055-852828, www.ristoranteoltreilgiardino.it, Closed Monday.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 03:46 PM
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What a neat website! It is the perfect little traveling family. Bob and son and family should be the models for Fodors.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 04:27 PM
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And, their photo galleries are not to be missed.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:36 PM
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Zoecat - thanks for the restaurant recommendations!
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 05:45 PM
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We stayed between Greve and Panzano this fall and ate twice at Oltre il Gardino and once at Vescovino in Panzano. Both were wonderful. Try to have lunch on the terrace at Oltre il Gardino overlooking the countryside - beautiful! We loved Panzano. The area around the little town square is lovely. If you have a chance, spend a little time there. It would be more rewarding to spend your time in one or two towns than to race to see all of them. The countryside around Greve and Panzano is lovely and there are several vineyards to visit if you have a chance.
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Jan 3rd, 2011, 06:21 PM
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So, it is decided! The two Chianti towns I will see in the morning are Panzano and Castellina and then I will head over to San Gimi in the late afternoon for a gelato. I hear the world champions of Gelato are there.

I will stop for lunch perhaps at Gardino on the terrace in Panzano. Then, perhaps find a winery in either of those two towns?

Thank you so much for all your responses.
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