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San Polo & Strada in Chianti

Quiet villages, churches with a millennium of history and the Sangiovese vines and olive groves of the Chianti region

By: Donald Strachan Writer & Journalist | Specialist in Italy & European travel

San Polo in Chianti travel guide

Nestled in a small depression at the end of a little wooded valley, San Polo in Chianti is a peaceful place, and rarely troubled by visitors to this famous region of Italy.

The hills around San Polo mark the northern reaches of the Chianti Classico wine region. It can be hard to believe you are less than 10 miles south of Florence’s suburbs

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Parts of the original Romanesque structure in the Church of San Polo, dating to the 11th century, remain intact. Its main art treasure is a devotional work painted by an anonymous artist close to Bernardo Daddi, who was active in early 14th-century Florence and probably died during the Black Death. A little balcony outside the church looks over the town.

The Pieve di San Miniato di Rubbiana is up a steep hill lined with cypresses and olive trees, and marked with the stations of the Cross. Another very old parish church, it was first documented in 1015. Parts of the original Romanesque structure survived an extensive remodelling during the 1800s.

San Polo in Chianti is a peaceful place and rarely troubled by visitors to this famous region

Out of Town: Strada in Chianti

Four miles west of San Polo back on the Chiantigiana (the “Chianti Road” or S222) is Strada, another village with ancient roots. Its own church is dedicated to St. Christopher. A Lombard structure, it dates to before the year 1000 and was probably built on the site originally developed by the ancient Etruscans. (Though the neat trio of Romanesque-style arches on the façade are a 19th-century addition.)

A wooden Crucifix inside was decorated by Florentine Neri di Bicci (1420–92).

Strada’s butcher, Macelleria Secci, is a friendly place, and has been family run since the 1850s. Their top-quality meat is ideal for loading up the BBQ.

Around 2 miles south from Strada, Spedaluzzo is a tiny hamlet with some of the best views anywhere along the Chiantigiana, looking both north and south across a rolling sea of Sangiovese vines.

Three Excursions from San Polo

  • Florence: it’s very close, easily accessible by bus, bike or car, and has enough art and culture to keep you busy for a year
  • Impruneta: for a monumental shrine to the Virgin Mary and a millennium of artisan terracotta production
  • Greve in Chianti: the Chianti’s unofficial HQ has famous butchers, fine wines and views you’ll never forget

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