There are many reasons why you need to visit this medieval Tuscan village! The first time I happened upon Volpaia was back in 2018 and I visited again last year. It is one of those places where I will continue to travel back to. For starters, there’s a free parking lot as you enter the village. Park your car and get ready to take in this wonderful village!
Why you need to visit this medieval Tuscan village – a rich history
I learned a lot about Volpaia from this post by Italia by Natalia as well as on the official Volpaia website.
The first documents mentioning Volpaia date back to 1172! It was built as a fortified village situated on a hill between Florence and Siena. The name comes from the coat of arms of the original family from Volpaia, which included a fox (volpe). Today, you can see this on the logo for the village!
Volpaia is considered a well-preserved medieval village. It is surrounded by over 110 acres of fields with old vines and almost 30 acres of olive groves. The village now belongs to the Mascheroni Stianti family. Giovanna received the property as a wedding gift from her dad Raffaello in the 70s.
“Four generations, united in the dream of Volpaia.”
Along with her husband, Carlo, Giovanna brought Volpaia back to being a village intimately involved in the production of wine, oil and vinegar. Today their children, Federica and Nicolò, also have a hand in Volpaia’s identity.
Volpaia has an over 10,000 square foot fruit and vegetable garden. In September of the year 2000 they started the process of making their production recognized as organic. This was just a bureaucratic process since organic was always part of Volpaia’s standards – using natural fertilizers, and no pesticides or synthetic chemicals. They keep a close eye on their vines daily but the microclimate, altitude and terroir of the area help them fight diseases biologically.
Volpaia is known throughout the world for the uniqueness of its cellars hidden in the walls of the ancient village and their wine was included in the three best wines in the world by Wine Spectator.
“The vats and cellars, the vinsantaia and bottling, the orciaia and the mill – while very modern – are still housed in the basement, in palaces, in deconsecrated churches and in the buildings of the village, joined together by a surprising “wine pipeline” underground.”
They have a bunch of different tours and tasting offerings – depending on if you would like a group or private experience, how many people are in your group and what exactly you would like to do. We enjoyed our tour of the intricate locations that make up the production in the village. Marco, our guide, explained the process of each production and also guided us through a delicious wine and olive oil tasting.
You can take part in a cooking class with Giovanna, who learned to cook authentic Italian food through tradition handed down by her grandmothers and mother. She will teach you how to prepare a typical Tuscan meal with appetizer, first course, second course, side dish and dessert in this half day class. Of course the experience concludes with you getting to enjoy the deliciousness you just made, paired with the wines of Volpaia. I definitely want to book this the next time I am in town!
Other delicious dining options
Though small, Volpaia’s dining options are mighty. There are a couple of spots I still haven’t tried: Forno Volpaia bakes bread, pizza, focaccia, cakes and traditional Tuscan dishes & Ristorante La Bottega is a family-owned restaurant by the sister of Paola, who owns Bar-Ucci (mentioned below). I will definitely have to try these when I return next!
Osteria Volpaia boasts 3 private dining rooms and a large terrace. We enjoyed our meal on the gorgeous terrace. All of the dishes were plated with gorgeous presentation and were beyond delicious. Their menu changes several times a year depending on the season and the availability of fresh and local raw materials, which mostly come from their organic gardens.
Bar-Ucci is owned by Paola Barucci, who was born in and has always lived in Volpaia. She opened it in 2002 for her mom and dad, to thank them. Inside the bar you will find photos that retrace their family history. Nowadays, her mom Gina help by making cakes.
Paula has always worked in the wine world, which has helped her appreciate her beloved Chianti even more. Her wine list includes different areas of Tuscany, from producers she knows personally.
“The best compliment my clients pay me is when they tell me they feel at home and I never expected such a success of positive comments, which is why I would like to thank everyone with my affection and esteem.”
“The Tuscan and Chianti tradition of food has very ancient roots, but from the Etruscans to the present day the recipes have not changed much. Simplicity, a few predominant spices, bread without salt and the splendid cold cuts and cheeses are still the basis of eating today daily.”
Walter ordered a beer and I had a spritz, then we shared the cacio e pepe and wild boar pappardelle. Of course we couldn’t leave without trying Gina’s cake! It seems you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu and we definitely felt at home 🙂
Why you need to visit this medieval Tuscan village – charming & dreamy day or night
Volpaia is beautifully charming whether you visit during the day or night. You can see the town in part of a day, but I think it worth sticking around to see it in both lights. If you’d like to stay in the Chianti area, they have wonderful accomodation options – from rooms, to apartments and villas!
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