Radda in Chianti is one of those small Tuscan villages that seems to be overlooked for more vibrant towns like San Gimignano or Greve. The town is made up of local people who support the area's wine making business. It hasn't been overrun by souvenir and ceramic shops, nor the proverbial wine tasting rooms. Radda in Chianti does, however, gain attention from those who seek out undeniably stunning views of the Chianti region, and a taste of local charm and character.
Sitting atop a forested hill and surrounded by extensive vineyards, Radda in Chianti is a great base for visiting the area. There are numerous agriturismi, wineries, castles and Etruscan ruins dotted throughout these hills. Yet, it is the quiet hum of local life here that keeps me coming back year after year.
In Town: Palazzo Leopoldo. In the center of town, this charming villa dates back to 1300. You will find original frescoes, floors and furniture throughout the house. Rooms have been renovated to modern standards but keep the medieval feel with antique furniture and period decor. No cars are allowed into the ancient town so the only noise you may have in the late night is the sound of a distant thunderstorm. Morning brings the sounds of clanging milk and vegetable carts as the markets prepare to open for business. The sites, sounds and smells that waft through your small hotel window magically draw you back into a simpler life and time.
Outside of Town: Livernano. Surrounded by 38 acres of vineyards, ancient olive groves and 130 acres of beautiful woodlands, Livernano gives the traveler a unique experience. Click on my review to read more about this special place.
WHERE TO EAT
Livernano. If you are staying at Livernano, you will definitely want to have at least one dinner there. For a fixed price, you will receive a 4-course meal made from fresh local ingredients (many coming from the farm itself!). I will warn you though, go with an appetite!
Ristorante Vignale. Located in town and within walking distance of Palazzo Leopoldo, this restaurant offers incredible views of the Chianti valley. Here, you will have a bit more of a fine dining experience; and the price reflects it too!
La Bottega. OK, technically La Bottega is not in Radda; it is in Volpaia. But, it is so close (and it is a HUGE favorite of mine) that it warrants a visit. Walking into La Bottega is like walking into a friend's kitchen. Serving down-home Tuscan goodness, Carla (owner and cook) and her mother, Mamma Gina, will make you feel right at home. It doesn't matter whether you speak Italian or not, these ladies will charm you with conversation and laughs all evening! If you're fortunate enough to visit in the summer, reserve a table on the terrace--it is straight from a movie set!
For the artist: Take in the stunning views of the Chianti hills. By walking outside of Radda's ancient walls to either side of the main street, you will peer down into the valleys that surround the village. The views are a photographer's and painter's dream!
For the wine enthusiast: Radda in Chianti sits on the famous Chianti Classico Wine Trail. There are many wine tasting rooms scattered throughout the hills; many are private and require reservations. It will require a little research beforehand, the help of your hotel staff, or a local tour guide to help you navigate your visit. One of my favorites is Casalvento, located just outside Radda in Chianti. Casalvento is the product of Livernano's owners. It is the cantina where Livernano's wines are produced. What makes this place special is...wait for it...the view! OK, the wine is really good, too! Grab a glass and sit out on the terrace for a wonderful afternoon!