A classic village that’s off the beaten path, but as with many villages across Italia, this is well worth your time, and could prove to be a favorite.
I reckon this place swells with tourists during the summer, but my appointments had me crisscrossing the Chianti Classico regions for the better part of 2 weeks in early May; though at the time of my visit only a handful of visitors dotted the streets; many of them seemed to be there for bicycle touring.
Each year I spend at least a night or two in Gaiole in Chianti, and each year I leave wishing I’d been able to stay there longer, to really get to know the place, but appointments/winery visits always keep my schedule very tight, and so I’ll just have to settle for a few nights. That said, if I were coming here on holiday, this would be a great base-camp for nearby (as in they’re everywhere) wineries, trails/hiking, the larger cities of Florence, or possibly even a (long) day trip to Siena.
So what’s the attraction here? I can tell you, it’s not because its flashy, it’s not trying to be anything more than it is, which is a quiet village with lots of long-time residents, centuries of history and a pace that says “stay a while, enjoy”. There’s a sense of pride here, it’s obvious no matter where you choose to visit. The town’s clean, (really) quiet at night, yet bright and cheery during the day. Getting around on foot is quite easy, and, for all save the highest touristic months, parking is easy to find.
My recent visit brought me to this AirBnB. I’ve left a review (Tim), and needless to say, it’s very positive.
(above: Lorenzo’s AirBnB space – he’s got a few different ones in town – with really big bedroom and spotless/big bathroom)
Just below the (really spacious, super-clean) room, on the street-level of the same building, is the Storica Macelleria Chini. Wow, I wish my town, or anywhere within 30 minutes of me (ok, within 3 hours of me), had a place like this where I could buy meats. The curing is done in house, as one would expect, and they’re all too happy to let you taste the various salami, etc., to see what you like; they even producer their own wine, and yes, you can taste that for free, too. I’ve been in Colorado for 20 years now, which is to say I’ve longed for a place just like this for 20 years. If your visit to Gaiole in Chianti has you staying for a few days or weeks, and it’s equipped with a kitchen, this is the place you want to visit as soon as you hit town.
After I’d checked into my room, I had to decide if I was too tired to eat or if I wanted to find something close by. Luckily for me, close by was all of about 100 steps from my AirBnB, Le Cose Buone, #7/36 on TripAdvisor, but #1 with me, thanks to the brilliance of this man, Andrea Di Povia (below).
All future visits to the area will include a stop here (whether it’s to eat in or to takeaway or both!), as the selection and quality greatly exceed expectations. The price is too low, I always end up shaking my head and telling myself, I didn’t pay enough – the quality is easily worth twice the cost.
There are only like 6 or 7 tables, so it’s not noisy, the service is flawless and the foods are just spot-on perfect.
This might be the first time I’ve blogged about a place other than a winery. But I felt compelled to put this on the internet in hopes that someone(s) might find it useful. I can’t wait to return.
(header photo: I chose this photo, plucked from the internet, because in all the years I’ve been going to Gaiole in Chianti, I’ve not seen this many people there at one time – not even if you added them up from all of my visits there and multiplied by 3; it’s a quiet, charming village)