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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Movies In Chianti: A Journey Into Pictures And Tastings

It is not a find that Chianti is considered one of the most fascinating places in the world. The profile of Chianti's hills, the warm colours of wheat fields and vineyard, the nice and genuine nature of its people are just some of the elements that brought together contribute to a multisensory experience that the attention of those, who more than any other have been always looking for a continuous emotion, did not miss: the artists.

Among all arts, the art of Movie more often requires attractive settings to be fully represented. Thus, don't be surprised if you find out that very famous movies were set in Florence and Siena's Hillside such as Gladiator by Ridley Scott, Stealing beauty (Io ballo da sola) by Bernardo Bertolucci, Much ado about nothing by Kenneth Branagh, The English Patient by Anthony Minghella, Life is beautiful (La vita è bella) by the "toscanaccio" Roberto Benigni and many other. Besides, Federico Fellini the most important Italian director conceived his masterpiece 8 e ½ just here in this very charming hillside.

In particular, a lot of famous movies were directed in the land of Chianti Classico just few kilometres far from Greve in Chianti; so we can easily track the path of several celebrated directors and for a day immerse ourselves in the world of the Seventh Art, the Movie, without forgetting that typical precious wines and food of the Tuscany countryside are very close and waiting for us.

Just here in Greve in Chianti, in the wonderful mansion of Villa Vignamaggio ( the movie Much ado about nothing was fully shot; it was directed by the famous Shakespearian star Kenneth Branagh and played by Keanu Reeves, Denzel Washington and Emma Thompson. Visiting Villa Vignamaggio means enjoy the opportunity to have a unique testimony of the Tuscan countryside during the Renaissance. The Gherardinis that built the mansion in the XIV century were the owner of the most famous picture made by Leonardo da Vinci, the "Gioconda"; according to Vasari the picture portrayed Monna Lisa, the daughter of Anton Maria di Noldo Gherardini. The landscape painted behind the "Gioconda" is really the same landscape you can see out of the windows of the mansion. Moreover, inside the mansion you can buy and taste wine and oil every day from 10.30 to 18.30; you can also enjoy Spa treatments, massages and therapies, using wine and oils from the local production.

The alleys of Radda in Chianti (ancient main town of the Chianti's League in 1145 and now appreciated wine town) and the colours of Siena's countryside are instead main characters of the fine movie Con gli occhi chiusi by Francesca Archibugi, based on the novel of the same name by Federigo Tozzi. After taking a walk along the wall to catch a sight of the surrounding hills and the fifteen-century mansion's of the Podestà, we suggest you to go to Casa Porciatti in IV Novembre square; here you can purchase typical products of the tradition of Chianti, as filetto di maiale stagionato (seasoned pork fillet), lardo (lard) or taste wines and jellies from the near wine bar run by the same family and located in the medieval passageways.

But, how to forget how wonderful was Live Tyler in one of the most famous movies directed in this zone? Stealing beauty Bernardo Bertolucci's masterpiece with the captivating Jeremy Irons; the movie bring us to South, exactly in Geggiano at the wonderful Villa Bianchi-Bandinelli and to the Castle of Brolio near Gaiole in Chianti, where the patriot Bettino Ricasoli was born and lived.

It is worthy going to Villa Bianchi-Bandinelli in Geggiano (, a magnificent mansion with an Italian garden of the XVI century. To visit the garden and the interior of the building, where several of the most famous scenes of Stealing beauty were shot you can call the following number +390577356879 to make a reservation. The ticket costs 15 euro.

The old castello di Brolio ( another setting for the movie Stealing beauty is at 10 km toward South from Gaiole in Chianti and it is opened from 10 am to 5.30 pm from March to November (ticket 3 euro). You can visit the gardens of the castle during the week-ends from 10 am to 4 pm in December. Besides visiting the castle you can taste wine, oil and spirits at the castle wine bar (for info: +390577730220). Inside the mansion you can also find a very famous restaurant, where some of the most typical Tuscan recipes are revised with personal touch: The Autumn menu offers peposo di manzo al vino Chianti (stewed beef with chianti wine) fagiano ripieno di castagne al cartoccio (wrapped pheasant stuffed with walnuts) and "pici" (typical pasta of the region) with ragù di cinghiale (wild boar ragu).

Before going back to Greve just a curiosity: Chianti has always been an ideal landscape to play advertising spot. For instance, we remind you of the very popular spot of ladies tights that some years ago Antonio Banderas and Valeria Mazza stared, sensually dancing together. At that time the Spanish actor was so pleased by Chianti that bought a house just here, following the foot-steps of other international stars, like Sting, Mick Hucknall Simply Red's leader, Daniel Day-Lewis that chose Tuscany as "buen retiro" before. Exploring those lands that are still rich in dramatic poetry and almost unchanged we can easily understand their choice and share it.