When you dream of a holiday in Chianti, do you dream of a hot air balloon ride over ancient villages, of going truffle hunting in the countryside, or becoming a Tuscan Shepherd for a day?
Think Chianti and the name almost immediately conjures up connotations of the famous Italian wine. Most travellers book a trip to this peaceful Tuscany region with its almost halcyon way of life to discover more about the exquisite Chianti Classico red wine.
And, of course, a trip to Chianti and a stay at our Tuscan countryside retreat, Villa Prenzano, wouldn’t be complete without exploring the glorious local vineyards and discovering your favourite Chianti wine, and our on-the-ground team will be delighted to organise vineyard tours and wine tastings for you during your stay.
However, step away from the rolling vineyards of Chianti, the famous art collections and the exquisite cuisine, and you’ll find a region replete with extraordinary pursuits to satiate your curiosity for new adventures.
Here are our Top Eight ‘Out of the Ordinary’ experiences in Chianti to try out during your stay, and don’t worry, we haven’t left out art, cuisine and wine from the list!
Go Truffle Hunting in Chianti
Get first-hand experience of how tricky it is to cultivate truffles. You will learn tips to find them as well as see how to clean and prepare them.
The truffles you find will depend on which season you visit Tuscany. In the autumn, you will be hunting for the white truffle. The precious black truffle season is from November to March, Marzuolo truffle from January to April and the Scorzone truffle is picked throughout summer and into autumn.
This is an unbelievable experience to join a truffle-hunter and, usually, their dog through the woods. The day comes to a climax with a dinner starring Tuscan specialities with truffles accompanied by Chianti wine, of course!
Trust us when we say that truffles taste even more divine when you pick them yourself. Ask your host at Villa Prenzano to organise your truffle hunting day in the Chianti hills hunting for scarce truffles.
Far-reaching views on a hot air balloon flight in Chianti
Get a bird’s-eye view of the sublime Chianti countryside, with its rolling hills, vineyards, woodland and picture-postcard-perfect Renaissance towns on a hot air balloon flight with Tuscany Ballooning.
The flights leave early in the morning when the conditions are favourable and lift off from the heart of the Chianti wine region, floating over beautiful ancient towns.
During the flight, the pilot and crew recount the rich history of the region and on landing, you’ll be treated to a Champagne Prosecco breakfast before hopping onto a 4×4 for a cross-country trip back to the launch field.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a dream trip for photographers, as hot air ballooning offers the perfect pedestal for aerial photography.
Be a Tuscan shepherd for the day!
What better way to experience authentic and rural Chianti than swapping your designer sneakers for a pair of rubber boots and becoming a Cashmere shepherd for the day?
Chianti Cashmere organises this fun and sustainable experience, herding cashmere goats through the Tuscan countryside. You’ll get to visit a landscape that is only reserved for locals and goats; on a farmstead that is one of the only certified Wildlife-friendly farms in Europe.
Of course, an excursion in Chianti wouldn’t be complete with a wine-tasting stop-off and a tour of a local winery and on return to the farm, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch with all locally-grown and farmed ingredients.
Peaceful horse riding through the Chianti countryside
A relaxing way to soak up Chianti’s countryside scenery is a horse-riding experience in the rolling hills of Chianti. The pace is so much slower than by car or helicopter so you have plenty of time to fully appreciate why this landscape has inspired many great artists.
The ride can be rounded off with lunch at a restaurant or a picnic in the countryside. We recommend that guests go horse riding in the first day or two of their holiday as a way of unwinding and flowing into a slower pace of life.
Let’s get cooking in Chianti!
If you are a lover of Italian cuisine, and let’s be honest, who isn’t? Dining out at a traditional restaurant in Tuscany is a heavenly experience. The local ingredients, pasta sauces and roast meats are stupendous – Bistecca Fiorentina is an absolute must-order dish.
Many of our guests ask us for our favourite recipes during their stay – and we’re happy to oblige. But if you really want to immerse yourself in the world of Tuscan cuisine, we recommend a Tuscany cookery class at the hands of the masters.
Chianti is home to several excellent cookery and wine schools, where you’ll get hands-on experience creating a traditional Tuscan menu and learning about the accompanying Chianti wine.
Dine at home with an opera singer
Alternatively, if you prefer to learn about Tuscan cuisine in the comfort of Villa Prenzano, we have created culinary experiences to delight the senses which take place in our fabulous villa kitchen, such as Opera in the Kitchen: a cookery class, followed by an exquisite four-course dinner, accompanied by a live Opera performance or a Chianti Classico master-class and wine tasting from our recommended sommelier, held in the garden at Villa Prenzano.
Another pleasurable way to experience fine food in Tuscany is to dine out in one of its most exclusive restaurants, such as the Michelin-star Osteria di Passignano (26 minutes) next to the Badia di Passignano monastery. We love the way they create modern dishes paying homage to Tuscan traditions and cuisine.
You’ll discover more superb restaurants to try during your stay in Chianti, in our two-part Chianti Restaurant Guide.
A bird’s eye view of Chianti’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites
See the mediaeval cities and UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Florence and Siena from a different perspective during a once in a lifetime helicopter flight over these beautiful cities.
Or perhaps you’ll choose a helicopter flight over the breathtaking Tuscan landscape with lunch and wine tasting. This is a unique opportunity to see the landscape shift from rolling hills and vineyards to the rooftops of Chanti’s historic Renaissance towns.
Tenuta Torciano offers a unique helicopter tour over the beautiful towns of Chianti with an accompanying wine tour.
Get an exclusive look at Chianti local life with a private tour
Discovering Chianti and Florence at the expert hands of a local guide, is the best way to learn more about the region’s history, culture, and art. However, we understand that some tours are too crowded to be able to appreciate the beauty of Tuscany.
Our team at Villa Prenzano has developed private and exclusive tours for our guests, which you’ll be able to enjoy with just your family and friends. Asking as many questions as you wish, and experiencing a side of Chianti and Florence that a group guided tour won’t show you.
Here are some of the private tours available in our tailor-made Chianti experience packages:
- Delve into the world of Florentine perfumery and create your own perfume with fragrance alchemist, Dr Lorenzo Villoresi of the Museum of the Art of Perfume.
- Discover Florence, Siena and Lucca, as well as Chianti’s mediaeval villages and hamlets with a private guided tour
- If you want to visit some of the most famous museums in Tuscany without the crowds, we can organise private viewings at the Uffizi, Accademia, Pitti Palace, Bargello, the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, Gucci Museum in the 14th-century Palazzo di Mercanzia, 13th-century Basilica of Santa Croce and Michelangelo Buonarroti House to see some early works of Michelangelo among other landmarks.
Find out more about private tours and the workshops and wellbeing experiences we offer at Villa Prenzano as part of our Six Senses program.
When you book our 11th-century aristocratic villa, let us know about the ‘Out of the Ordinary’ Chianti experiences you would like to enjoy during your holiday and our team will endeavour to turn your Tuscan dreams into reality.