During your break centred on beauty while staying at Grand Hotel Continental Siena – Starhotels Collezione, give yourself a treat and head out of town off the usual tourism routes to some of the best-known winemaking spots in the world, home to the famous Chianti Classico, Vernaccia di San Gimignano to the southwest and further south the renowned Brunello di Montalcino region. Here are five wineries admired and appreciated by wine lovers all over the world. Castello di Brolio (località Madonna a Brolio, Gaiole in Chianti, ph. +39 0577 7301) whose castle has been towering over Gaiole in Chianti since the early Middle Ages. Also near Gaiole Castello di Ama (località Ama, Gaiole in Chianti, ph. +39 0577 746031), with its extraordinary site-specific art collection amid vineyards and cellars. Just after Castellina, at Fonterutoli (via Puccini, 4, Castellina in Chianti, ph. +39 0577 735790) another enchanting place, the domain of the Mazzei noble family since the 1500s, the estate is still owned by the same family, a winemaking jewel due to its traditions, know how, quality and ability to evolve.
Further south stands San Gimignano, with its 14 towers dominating the tufa lands that have been making white wine since the mid 13th century. The birthplace of Vernaccia di San Gimignano made from grapes of the same varietal, now mostly used in 100% given the tendency towards purity. The oldest winery is Fattoria di Cusona (località Cusona 5, San Gimignano, ph. + 39 0577 950028), owned by the noble Guicciardini Strozzi family since 994!
In the spellbinding Brunello di Montalcino area, considered the best Italian wine in the world alongside Barolo from Piedmont, Castello di Banfi (Castello di Poggio alle Mura, Montalcino, ph. +39 0577 877700) is a must see. The guided cellar tour takes about an hour and finishes in the wine bar with a tasting.