Traditional Tuscany in a nutshell – vineyards and sunflower fields included
Castelnuovo Berardenga is a town and comune that settles among the Chianti vineyards just east of Siena.
The main town is a 16th-century settlement dressed in sunset shades. Expect amber hotels, blush-pink houses and a golden church, all topped off with typically Tuscan terracotta roofs. The restaurants are Tuscan down to their bones, too. Homely trattorie, a pizzeria-topped square and wine bars pouring local Chianti are all for the taking.
Castelnuovo Berardenga marks the very southern edge of the Chianti region. From here, the award-winning wineries of Montepulciano and Arrezzo are also in easy driving distance. Siena – a medieval work of art – is just a half-hour drive over the horizon, too. Prefer two wheels? The restful rural tracks leading out of Castelnuovo Berardenga are made for cycling. Hire a bike and trace the backroads to the ancient neighbouring hamlet of Pacina.
The best airports for Tuscany are Florence and Pisa. Direct flights from the UK take approximately two hours.
Castelnuovo Berardenga is an hour and 20 minutes' drive from Florence Airport.
Tuscany is a mild-weathered place. Temperatures meander between 20°C and 25°C in the warmest months of July and August. July is also usually the driest month of the year. Autumn is light jacket weather (around 17°C in September), while spring is crisper – think 10°C to 15°C.
Tuscany has a calendar full of festivals. Museums and shops shut early on Easter weekend so that locals can join the processions and Passion Plays that pop up throughout the region. Spring also kicks off a long line-up of food events that last till autumn. September is harvest time, so that’s when wine festivals really get into their stride.
British citizens do not currently require a visa to visit Italy.
When you dine out in Italy, you will generally be charged a coperto (cover charge), which is for the bread, tablecloth, cutlery, etc. Tipping in Italy is not customary, but is always appreciated.
The official language of Italy is Italian. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.