Sunday 25 July 2021

Romanesque Parish Churches of Chianti

A one day driving tour of the Romanesque parish churches (Pievi) of Chianti is a great way to introduce yourself to the highways and byways of Chianti Italy as well as, of course, to see some of the oldest and most evocative architecture and works of art in Tuscany. One good route is simply to follow the Via Chiantigiana and make the appropriate detours.

Romanesque Parish Churches of Chianti
Pieve di San Cresci - a romanesque parish church in Chianti

The historic pievi (singular: pieve) are for the most part mediaeval although the Pieve di San Vincenti near Castelnuovo Berardenga dates from the Dark Age - it was a Basilica in the 7 C. They range from the magnificent (e.g. San Polo in Rosso) to the simple, single nave structures such as the Pieve di Santa Maria a Pacina, dating from the 8 C and characterised by a highly unusual cylindrical campanile (bell tower). 

If you are a Tuscan wine lover, you can combine visiting what is probably the oldest extant parish church in Chianti with a visit to a winery that takes its name from the church - namely, the Pieve di San Cresci winery. This wine producer belongs to the Ballini family who have been making wine here for almost two hundred years. Their wines are personal favorites of mine and I recommend them highly, especially the three Chianti Classicos. The winery has a wine tasting facility just in front of the church.

Author: Anna Maria Baldini