23 November 2017
In the Chianti hills certainly, neither wine nor history is lacking. If there is a summary of all this gathering into one, fascinating place, it is surely Badia a Coltibuono. It is a romantic abbey surrounded by a forest that boasts almost a thousand years of life, founded by the monks in the Order of Vallombrosa in 1051. At the same time, so it is said, the first vineyards were planted.
Abandoned by the monks under Napoleon, it was purchased in 1846 by the Florentine banker Michele Giuntini, ancestor of the current owners. Today it is a successful business, also including a farm and restaurant and which has become a welcoming place for tourists without losing its atmosphere, which invites to silence and meditation.
From the 12th-century bell tower to the church of San Lorenzo, from the typical Latin-shaped plant to the splendid Badia garden, a typical "hortus conclusus", still rich in aromatic and curative plants as in monks, the Abbey offers great emotions to the art, architecture and botanical enthusiasts. The bell tower, in particular, strikes in large proportions with respect to the modest sobriety of the church and the porch.
The monks who saved the Chianti
The plants that we can still see, able to give a "good harvest" of bunches each year, are in a way the great-granddaughters of the ancient plants of those older times, and the wine that is produced is among the best and more authentic of Chianti. The monks of Vallombrosa saved the Sangiovese when the Roman Empire fell, protecting it from the barbaric devastation: without them, probably Chianti as we know it would have never existed.
For wine enthusiasts, the wine cellar of Badia a Coltibuono is an unforgettable emotion thanks to the antiquity of the structure but also to the presence of a collection of vintage bottles that are now extremely rare. Inside this cellar you travel through time, admiring bottles saved by wars and looting. In addition to visits to the cellar, here you can experience tastings, take part in cooking classes and admire an unparalleled landscape.
Badia in Coltibuono is a key step in our "History and Castles of Chianti" (3 nights) and "Florence and Chianti: a journey between taste and history" (4 nights).
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