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Photo © Comune Greve in Chianti
Photo © Comune Greve in Chianti

The flavours of Chianti: festivals not to be missed

All the food and wine events not to be missed in the land of good living

by  Chianti

Besides being known worldwide for its breathtaking landscapes, Chianti is also appreciated for its unmistakable flavours and fragrances

Here, a good glass of Sangiovese wine, accompanied by natural and genuine food, seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, brings together people of all kinds and races: that's why in Chianti there are many festivals dedicated to food and wine products.

  • 1.
    Spring and the scents of Chianti
  • 2.
    Summer among stars and tastings
  • 3.
    Autumn, time of grape harvest and olive picking
  • 4.
    Winter, between oil and Christmas markets

Spring and the scents of Chianti

Spring in Chianti
Spring in Chianti - Credit: Visit Chianti

The awakening of nature is accompanied by the scent of wine and oil, with many events between March and June.

It is the Chianti Ultra Wine that opens the season of events at the end of March. Organised on the sidelines of the Chianti Ultra Trail races, the event includes tastings in the Casa del Chianti Classico, in Radda in Chianti, and guided tours to the "Sensorial Museum of Chianti Classico Wine".

From April to June, oil is the main attraction in the municipalities of Barberino Tavarnelle, Castellina, Greve in Chianti, Radda, San Casciano Val di Pesa and Castelnuovo Beradenga, members of the association "Città dell'olio". They organise "Le merende nell'Oliveta" (snacks in the olive grove), open-air days of relaxation and fun, with activities that help to rediscover the value of conviviality and appreciate the extra virgin olive oil combined with gastronomic excellence.

On the second weekend of May " La Vetrina delle Città Slow” (The Showcase of Slow Cities) is held, which brings together the Cities of Good Living from all over Italy with typical products of quality and craftsmanship, in the beautiful setting of the Piazza Mercatale in Greve in Chianti. Also in May, on the third weekend, Montefioralle, hosts "I Vini nel Castello" (Wines in the Castle). This is a food and wine festival that takes place between the square and the main street of the town. In Pianella, in the municipality of Castelnuovo Beradenga, in the last weekend of the month is "La Maggiolada" with the re-enactment of the threshing and the tasting of typical culinary dishes.

In June the Pentecost of Castellina in Chianti opens the celebrations, with the feast of winegrowers, followed by "I profumi di Lamole", which takes place in the homonymous hamlet of Greve in Chianti, which brings together producers of wine and oil. 

June is also the month of an unmissable event for meat lovers, called "ciccia": the "championship of the steak of Mercatale", in San Casciano in Val di Pesa. In the typical braziers, the "Mastri Braciaioli" cook the Florentine steak, and to win, the participants must be able to eat the largest quantity of meat. Spectators can thus discover the secrets of grilling and buy quality steaks. Also in San Casciano Val di Pesa, in the hamlet of Chiesanuova, there is the historic Sagra di' Pinolo, where typical dishes can be tasted. These include the "Pinolata", a sweet symbol, and one can discover the methods of gathering pine cones and processing pine nuts.

Finally, in Castelnuovo Berardenga there are two events not to be missed: "Castelnovino", wine tasting and sampling of typical products and the "Corsa dei Ciuchi", which creates a competition among the districts of the country, accompanied by the culinary review.

Summer among stars and tastings

Summer in chianti
Summer in chianti - Credit: Visit Chianti

The summer in Chianti, characterised by important food and wine festivals, is accompanied by the chirping of cicadas, sunset walks in the vineyards and, above all, evenings of tastings and events.

It starts in July with "Due Paesi in festa" near Pieve di San Pancrazio, a hamlet of San Casciano in Val di Pesa. The festival involves the villages of San Pancrazio and Lucignano and is also known as the Brioche Festival with homemade ice cream.

"Calici di Stelle" is the festival organised by Movimento Turismo del Vino Toscano in the month of August: wine lovers and visitors can taste wine under the starry sky. The municipalities of Barberino Tavarnelle, Castellina in Chianti and Castelnuovo Beradenga take part in this festival. In Greve in Chianti, moreover, do not miss "Lamole under the stars", on the first weekend of August: the total absence of light pollution makes the observation of the stars easier  with a good glass.

Between July and August, Castelnuovo Berdenga hosts several events: "Birra e Salsicce" in Vagliagli, "Blues Divino" for those who love blues and typical dishes. "Braciere di Carne e Pesce", in the hamlet of Quercegrossa and the "Serate Danzanti" in Geggiano with the possibility to taste excellent typical dishes.

Between the end of August and the beginning of September, there is also "Montaperti Passato e Presente", in Casetta, between sport, culture and food, and wine for the commemoration of the historical Battle of Monteaperti. On August 24, Castellina in Chianti celebrates San Bartolomeo with the Watermelon Fair, with stands of typical products throughout the village.

In Radda in Chianti, finally, September is the month of "Radda nel bicchiere" that involves the whole village. Goblets in hand, curiosity and time at your disposal: this is all that is needed to maneuver through the streets of the village, where local producers present their best labels.

Autumn, time of grape harvest and olive picking

Autumn in Chianti
Autumn in Chianti - Credit: Visit Chianti

Autumn is the main season in Chianti, the time of grape and olive harvest.

The most important event is surely the Expo Chianti Classico of Greve, which gathers producers from all over the Chianti Classico territory, a privileged occasion to know this wine in its production area. It takes place on the second weekend of September, in the splendid square of Greve in Chianti with tastings, art exhibitions, and concerts.

Castelnuovo Berardenga celebrates grapes with the Festa dell'uva in Vagliagli. For the occasion, the small village is turned into an incredible showcase, where traditions, crafts, and customs connected to the land are revived with the rediscovery of authentic aromas and flavors of the territory and even a review of allegorical floats. Also in Castelnuovo Beradenga, in the hamlet of Villa Sesta, a unique street food festival is organised in October: "Dit'unto", i.e., the festival of eating with one's hands, with the participation of restaurateurs from all over Italy and star chefs. In addition to high-quality food, there are also games for children, live music, and excursions on foot or by bike.

Moreover, at the end of October, the 6 municipalities of Chianti adhere to the "Camminata Tra gli Olivi", in collaboration with the Associazione Città dell'Olio: a day dedicated to the discovery of the "green gold" at the time of the olive harvest and pressing.

Winter, between oil and Christmas markets

Winter in Chianti
Winter in Chianti - Credit: Visit Chianti

Winter is the season of rest for the vineyards but the organisation of events dedicated to good food does not stop.

Some events that cannot be missed include the Rally Day Fettunta in Barberino Tavarnelle, one of the most popular and long-lived car races in Italy. Accompanying the days of tests and races, stands of typical products are set up, with tastings of products starting with extra virgin olive oil, the real protagonist.

In December, Castelnuovo Berardenga celebrates Christmas with Christmas markets and culinary initiatives for adults and children. At Villa Sesta, the Christmas version of Dit'unto is in display: the "Mercat'unto!" an entire day dedicated to quality street food and crafts, a great opportunity for those looking for Christmas gifts.

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