Berardenga Tour: the sweet honeymoon between Crete and Chianti
Because of the characteristic shape of its territory, Castelnuovo Berardenga is known as the "Grand Duke's butterfly": this stretch of Chianti is home to a wide variety of environments, a perfect synthesis of what the region around Siena has to offer. Among the clays and the hills, this landscape of harmonious shapes preserves the memory of the dawn of time, when a prehistoric ocean covered every corner with its waters. Traces of this can be found in the fossils of Lamna nasus, a prehistoric shark found in the Castelnuovo Berardenga countryside.
The loop route is entirely on low-traffic asphalt roads, and despite the constant ups and downs typical of the Chianti region, it does not involve any particular difficulty; it can be traveled in stages or in a single day.
We begin this short and fairly easy stage by plunging into the part of the territory that first skirts the Val d'Arbia, and then creeps into the first foothills of the Crete Senesi.
We descend along a beautiful road to Colonna del Grillo, passing by the villa and farm of Sestano, once a sacred place for hunting trips. From the gullies of Canapaia we turn again toward Castelnuovo Berardenga and then bend in the direction of Guistrigona, visited by Hannibal with his elephants on his journey to Rome.
We reach Casetta and Acqua Borra from the highway's coplanar, the only flat section of the route. Acqua Borra, a miraculous hot spring and ancient thermal garden of Siena, is located at the foot of what was the site of the famous battle of Monteaperti between the Sienese and the Florentines. Not far from the church is the chapel of Sant'Ansano da Siena.
After setting off again, we reach San Piero in Barca, where the landscape once again becomes populated by wide vineyards that become increasingly thick, all along a ring that allows us to admire farms and villages of great value such as Villa a Sesta, a small hamlet in a panoramic position over Chianti.
On the way back, the intact medieval village of San Gusmé is worth a visit: from here we recommend making time for a detour to the farmhouses and the extraordinary agricultural and natural environment of Arceno with its cypress avenues and park.
The road to Castelnuovo Berardenga now becomes particularly scenic and the Longobard tower of Pieve a Pacina, the site of the ancient bloody clash between the bishops of Siena and Arezzo to establish the boundaries of the dioceses, opens itself to our gaze just a stone's throw from GATE, the Advanced Manufacturing 4.0 Technology District. In Castelnuovo, there is no shortage of places to rest and have a good meal of typical local products, accompanied by a good Chianti wine.