Italy’s Chianti region should be on your travel radar in 2024

If it looks like everyone has been to Italy in 2023, you wouldn’t be wrong in your guess. All those Instagram posts and TikToks of bikini-clad travelers sunbathing on the Amalfi Coast with Aperol spray in hand were surely indicative of the country’s bigger-than-ever travel boom. In fact, according to a June 2023 report by the Italian Government Tourism Board, international tourism increased in the first quarter of the year by a whopping 42% compared to 2022 — and that doesn’t include the summer crowds. And although busy places like the Amalfi Coast, Venice and Sicily seem to have gotten a lot of action in recent years (the latter probably due to The white lotus effect), I’d bet my bottom dollar that in 2024, the rolling hills of Tuscany – specifically its laid-back Chianti region – will have their moment in the sun.

Yes, one would say that the famous central area is already a high-traffic place (its capital Florence is the fourth most visited municipality in 2022, according to Statista), but like the country itself, there are many hidden gems within it that appeal to travelers looking for real rest and some privacy. The aforementioned Chianti region, nestled right between Florence and Siena, is just such a destination, full of all the hallmarks of an authentic Italian getaway, without the huge crowds you might encounter in Rome or Milan (especially if you’re planning your trip in early spring or fall). .

Famous for its vineyards, of course, and stunning century-old villas and medieval castles, Chianti is as idyllic as it comes. Oenophiles in particular will appreciate the area, which is full of wineries and festive events that will send your taste buds on an exotic journey, all against the stunning backdrop of lush green hilltop views and majestic stone estates.

Villa Ardore

So if you’re planning a trip to Italy in 2024, I suggest Chianti as the star of your itinerary. My recent mid-autumn trip forever etched the region in my memory, elevating it to the top of my “must go back soon” list. Perfect for a relaxed and rejuvenating start to the year, this breathtaking region will steal your heart with each wine-filled sip.

Here are some key attractions (either experienced or researched) to add to your itinerary for your next trip to Chianti. See if the guide below inspires you to book a flight stats.

Where to stay

Although you have a number of stunning villas at your fingertips in Chianti, a fully serviced property is the way to maximize your experience. My personal recommendation is the newly opened Villa Ardore. Purchased and restored by Los Angeles attorneys Steven Lewis and Christian Scully with an impeccable eye for chic Craftsman design and custom furnishings, the 16th-century mansion is the epitome of comfortable elegance. The villa, which has eight suites and sleeps up to 18 guests for about $7,112 a night, has a host of amenities that make it so you never have to leave the property—unless you want to, of course. Think a full Roman spa (complete with sunken indoor hot tub, steam room, sensory shower and dry sauna), heated infinity pool and perfectly manicured gardens with botanicals and produce that are used to cook meals on site.

You can also arrange to staff the villa with a private chef (the hotel’s local culinary partner, Chef Roberto Micheli, is a master of Tuscan cuisine), a private driver, a babysitter, a personal trainer or even an art teacher if you take a creative whim. During my stay I enjoyed a poolside massage and a botanical body treatment which is also available on request and I highly recommend it.

The owner of the property, Francesco Goraci, a charming and lively presence in the villa, can arrange some individual experiences such as pizza making, cooking lessons, wine tasting with a local sommelier, etc. It’s also a living, breathing compendium of all things Tuscany, offering information and historical context as well as recommendations for local hotspots, so be sure to take full advantage of this invaluable local resource.

Where to eat + drink

Meat lovers cannot miss a trip to Antica Macelleria Cecchini in the town of Panzano in the center of Chianti. The butcher shop and restaurant are voiced by mustachioed Dario Cecchini, whose skills have been spotted on Netflix Chef’s table in 2019. Go for a hearty lunch of spicy meat ragu, Tuscan beans and tomato stew. Oh, and don’t forget dessert—the olive oil cake is a dream.

If you’re craving pizza, take a quick drive to nearby Siena for a good old-fashioned slice at Pizzeria del Borgaccio, owned and operated by Gianluca Bartolotta, who’s known for his wood-fired creations, especially the carbonara pizza (it’s really not to be missed ).

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Angela Melero

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Angela Melero

Wine tasting is an obvious must while in Chianti, and luckily there are plenty of vineyards and wineries that also serve authentic Tuscan cuisine. While you’re in the area, be sure to pop into the family-run Poggio Amorelli estate, which produces some of the region’s best wines (which you can buy on site or have shipped to your home). After touring the stunning grounds, sip on the property’s bounty as you feast on handmade pasta, seasonal vegetables from the estate’s garden, sheep’s milk cheeses and decadent desserts.

If you have a taste for fine cuisine, try Arnolfo in Colle di Val D’Elsa. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant takes a more modern approach to Italian cuisine and decor, from the iron and glass construction to avant-garde dishes that include things like musk duck with apples and parsnips and San Massimo rice with cauliflower and coffee.

What to do

When not indulging in all the wine Chianti has to offer, there are plenty of non-wine activities to take part in. If you’re in the mood for a little sightseeing, try a horseback riding tour of the countryside or take to the skies in a hot air balloon for an early morning excursion and breakfast that will literally take your breath away. You can also go back in time and drive around the region in a Fiat 500 from the 1960s. The retro trip includes frequent stops at local wineries, stunning views of the town of San Gimignano, and a choice lunch. And if you head to Tuscany during the fall months of October and November, a truffle hunting experience is available for those who like a little foraging.

Chianti is also home to some creative talent. Art lovers will love an art tour of the private home and workshop of local artist Fabiola Quezada. The Mexico City native, who has called Italy home for about 30 years, specializes in nude male figures from a more feminine lens, making them the focal point of much of her mesmerizing work. A visit and a drink with the artist is sure to be a highlight, especially if you catch a view of the Tuscan landscape from her veranda.

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Angela Melero

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Angela Melero

Where to shop

For great shopping and souvenirs, head to the UNESCO World Heritage town of San Gimignano. Dubbed the ‘medieval Manhattan’ of Tuscany, the stone fortress is steeped in history and filled with shops, merchants, art galleries and delicious eateries and cafes. While you’re there, be sure to pop into the Nous Art Gallery, which features art that centers around the four natural elements. Balducci Ceramics is also great for those who have a passion for artisan goods. Every day you can walk into the pottery shop and watch owner and artist Franco Balducci at work on the potter’s wheel. You can really spend a day exploring the winding landmark that is San Gimignano, but be sure to wear comfortable shoes as your feet will be working as you take it all in.

The fashionable set should certainly add a visit to one of the Il Borgo Cashmere boutiques in nearby Florence. (If you find yourself staying at Villa Ardore, you can also request a private trunk show with the brand’s personal shopper bringing you the goods.) For some 70 years, the design house has mastered the art of Italian cashmere, but it’s a must-see — and felt — to be believed. Grab an ultra-soft sweater or scarf as a stylish souvenir that will remind you of Chianti every time you wear it.

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