TOURISM IN THE CHIANTI
A simple pages and pictures ensemble
to show you some of the unknow resources
of the gorgeous Chianti
Monte San Michele is situated in the Chianti
mountain range which has an average altitude of about 800 metres above sea
level and descends into the catchment basin of the River Greve, a tributary of
the River Amo. The most direct access is by unmade road from Greve, the
provincial capital, as well as from the hamlet of Lucolena. The area, once the
property of the Bertini family, comprises about 95 hectares of woodland.
The area of Monte San Michele is composed almost
exclusively of sand- stone dating back to when the Chianti area was formed.
Only in the areas of Poggio Corno
and Poggio Convento afe there limited formations of clay and marI with
calcareous and chalcarenitic levels.
The landscape of Monte San Michele is prevalently
wooded and forrns part of the mountain range called Monti del Chianti, noted
for its extraordinary beauty, its marvellous views and easy access. The area
is characterised by a soft morphology with gentle slopes except in limited
areas in the vicinity of trenches.
The climate of Monte San Michele falls into the 'Castanetum"
phytoclimatic band (according to Pavari's classification), i.e. warm with
summer drought. The rich forest vegetation alternates with wide open meadows
and shrubbery which is the natural habitat of the birdlife of the area.
is a large number of natural springs, some of which are well maintained.
Hiking routes are clearly marked and easily
accessible even to less expert walkers.
guest-house of the same name located in the area offers meals and
The area of Monte San Michele extends to around
165 hectares, lies between 600 and 890 metres above sea level and is comprised
within the geographical region of the Chianti Mountains.
The region is an important one with regard to nature
and landscape and is visited by both local people and tourists. It has been
the subject far several important projects aimed at environment and forestry
improvement and also provides facilities for use by visitors.
Much of the area is covered with woodland,
both wild (mainly chestnut groves and oaks) and cultivated, with a forest
growth of Douglas firs and pines.
Facilities for visitors are in the vicinity of the
Villa San Michele. Particular attractions are two fountains, the 'Barbiere'
and the 'Lavatoio', restructured and equipped in natural materials (wood and
stone) and the area of the San Michele lake, an important recreation
Visitors, including children and old people can
move freely within the park using a network of forest tracks. An
environment-educational path, about 2 kilometres long, helps visitors to
admire the vegetation with the use of strategically placed signs conveying
information regarding plants and shrubs. It is also worth noting that the
forest tracks have also been repaired using only natural materials and with
natural engineering techniques.
In the area it is also possible to do physical
exercise following the 'life ~
path' near the villa, planned and constructed for
easy access by both
and children. Equipment is positioned along the path so that walkers can do
the exercises, following the signposts which give explanations and advice for
The present environment and landscape of Monte San
Michele is the result of human settlement which, over the centuries, has
modified the original vegetation and landscape in response to the requirements
of human activity.
The original forest vegetation has therefore been
modified by the planting of conifers on former pasture and arable land:
Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii), pines (Pinus nigra), the
silver fir (Abies alba), Scots pine (Pinus silvestris), etc. In cooler
areas, natural vegetation consists of coppices of chestnuts (Castanea
sativa) and durmasts (Quercus pubescens) in drier areas. Among the
most important trees are hophorn-beams (Ostrya capinifolia), cherry
trees (Prunus avium), maples (Acer campestris) and other
Shrubs and flowers
Shrubs and grasses constitute a natural habitat for
many animals and a variety of insects and are thus a source of natural wealth
which has to be protected. The most common shrubs are cornel-trees (Cornus
mas), white thorns (Crataegus monogyna), blackthorns (Prunus spinosa),
Euonimus europaeus and, locally, juniper (Juniperus communis).
Growing on sandy ground with deep soil afe heather (Erica
scoparia), broom (Srothamnus scoparia) and brake (Pteridium aquilinum);
in areas with only superficial soil there is Helicrisium italicum, a
species with a beautiful, gaudy yellow flowering.
In the herbaceous stratum there are flowers with
strikingly contrasting colours which bloom in all seasons, namely Brachipodium,
Dacatilis glomerata, Bromus spp., Phleum pratense.
The area is rich in fauna: among the mammals are hares (Lepus europaeus), squirrels, (Sciurus vulgaris), foxes (Vulpes vulpes), hedge- hogs (Erauceus europae), wild boars (Sus scrofa), roes (Cap reo lus capreolus), porcupines (Hjstrix cristata) and fallow deers (Dama dama). Birds are particularly numerous and include the hawk species (kestrel, buzzard), small owls, tawny owls, pheasants, the dove species (turtle-dove, ringdove), sparrows and allied species (robin, nightingale).
Monte San Michele, at one time used for forestry
and farming, has, over time, assumed a recreational character and is now used
almost exclusively for amusement and leisure. This transformation requires a
different type of management from that required by forestry, where the main
objective is wood yield.
The management of the area by the Municipal
Administration in recent years, has pursued a policy of comprehensive
improvement of the environment and the creation of facilities for visitors. A
practical example is the creation of picnic areas with wooden tables and benches
as well as trekking and recreation paths.
This kind of environment, if protected from fires
and respected by visitors, will, in the future, be a model for outdoor areas for
The shortest way is going first to Greve in Chianti, passing from Sambuca and Badia a Passignano. From Greve you can go toward the way passing from Torsoli. Once there it is worth to visit Vignamaggio (wine tasting) and Lamole