Walk from Gaiole in Chianti to Hotel Le Fontanelle, near Pianella
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Pieve di Santa Maria a Spaltenna (bear right ~0.4 km)Photo: Catherine Allan, Macs Adventure
Leave Gaiole in Chianti, pass the world-renowned Meleto vineyards, and meander your way through the woodlands of Gaiole Sud to reach your accommodation nestled on an idyllic Chianti hillside.
Take your leave from Gaiole in Chianti tucked into the valley and follow tracks, quiet roads and paths to wander amongst the famous vineyards of Castello di Meleto. Then roam across the rolling hills passed villas, through olive groves and the forests typical of the Tuscan countryside. The rolling terrain eases near Le Fontanelle then ramps up in one final ascent to the hotel.
If you’re interested in the wine of the region make sure to book a wine-tasting or guided tour of Castello di Meleto; a hilltop castle typical of the Chianti region surrounded by famous vineyards. You can pre-book a tasting or meal at the restaurant here on the link in the Point of Interest.
Rest stopsCastello di Meleto
The terrain varies from tarred roads, rough tracks, and wide gravel tracks. There are a few sections of the walk on small country roads and along pavements of busier roads. Where there is no pavement or grass verge, please take extra care. The general rule is to walk on the same side of the road as oncoming traffic, in order to avoid having your back directly to oncoming traffic. Be prepared to walk in single file and to stay as close to the side of the road as possible.
There may be sections where you will be walking through fields containing livestock. Be vigilant and respectful of all animals.
July and August are the hottest months. At that time of year, the temperatures can rise into the 30 degrees Celsius during the day. Always make sure to stay hydrated and carry plenty of water. There aren’t many water fill points along the way. It is also advisable to wear skin protecting clothing and use sun cream/screen. We recommend starting the walk very early in the morning, then spending a couple of hours in Castello di Meleto, continuing to walk when the heat of the day has passed. Have an extended lunch or just rest under the shade of an olive tree. Please be aware however that the restaurants do not generally start serving lunch until 12.30pm. We recommend inquiring about the day’s forecasted weather before setting out on the walk. A useful website for climate information specific to towns and countries is www.weather2travel.com or www.yr.no
Tips and hints
Food & Drink
Once you leave Gaiole there is nowhere to eat along the way so make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks/picnic lunch with you. These can be purchased from the small supermarket on the pedestrianised main street of Gaiole in Chianti. On arriving at Hotel Le Fontanelle you will be able to relax and make the most of the "Restaurant La Colonna" at the hotel. There are lounge and pool bars, along with a wine shop.
0.00 km – Facing the Church San Sigismondo on Via Antonio Casabianca in Gaiole BEAR RIGHT and follow the road (Via Spaltenna) ascending on the right-hand side of the church. Continue STRAIGHT ON up this road for 300 m.
0.30 km – The road curves right after the house of the left-hand side of the road. Continue STRAIGHT ON the road with brown signposts for Pieve di Santa Maria a Spaltenna and follow the red and white painted markers along the tree-lined road.
0.40 km – BEAR RIGHT as the tar ends and follow the track to the right-hand side of the large boulder with the metal sign on it for Castello di Spaltenna.
0.50 km – BEAR RIGHT as the track leads into a small car park then continue STRAIGHT ON in ~20 m keeping the vineyard on the right-hand side and fence with olive trees on the other side on the left-hand side. (Do not bear right on the car park over the cattle-grid into the vineyard.) The track descends through the vineyards with red and white painted markers on the wooden posts.
0.70 km – At the bottom of the vineyard BEAR LEFT over the cattle-grid through the fence and continue to follow the track as it curves to the right.
0.80 km – Descend on track and cross another cattle-grid into the vineyard then TURN RIGHT and follow the track with the vines on the right-hand side ascending slightly.
1.00 km – After descending for ~50 m with a fence on the right-hand side TURN RIGHT onto the track between fences on either side with red and white markers on the posts.
1.10 km – At the edge of the fenced track continue STRAIGHT ON to ascend slightly with vines on the left-hand side.
1.20 km – TURN LEFT and follow the track as it descends towards trees ahead between vineyards.
1.30 km – TURN RIGHT at the first off and follow the track ascending slightly to pass the farm building on your left-hand side.
1.60 km – At the T-junction in the track at the farm buildings TURN LEFT and follow the red and white markers to pass in front of the farm buildings. Bear left after the Santa Maria shrine and continue STRAIGHT ON with vines on the right-hand side and trees on the left-hand side.
2.00 km – TURN RIGHT at the telegraph pole in front of the house then TURN LEFT to pass the building on your left-hand side with vines on the right-hand side. Follow the track as it descends to the road.
2.20 km – As the track descends with the fence on the left-hand side keep an eye out for a rusty coloured square grid gate in the fence with red and white painted markers on the wooden posts. Pass through the gate onto the embankment above the road and contine STRAIGHT ON down the path on the embankment towards the small road bridge ahead.
2.25 km – On reaching the road TURN LEFT onto it then immediately TURN RIGHT to cross the small road bridge following the road sign for Monte Lucco (11 km). Continue STRAIGHT ON the road ascending slightly passing the Castello di Meleto building on your right-hand side.
2.60 km – After passing the restaurant on your right-hand side TURN RIGHT to follow signposts for Castello di Meleto and the red and white markers on the tree-lined road.
2.90 km – Follow the road as it curves left at signpost for Castello di Meleto (ignore the track straight ahead).
3.30 km – Arrive in the car park of the castle and continue STRAIGHT ON through it. Just before the first building on the left TURN LEFT before it onto it following the red and white painted markers and wooden signpost for Viganove (50m). Walk along the tree-lined drive to the villa ahead.
3.60 km – Pass the villa on your left-hand side and continue STRAIGHT ON.
3.80 km – TURN RIGHT where the track splits and descend through trees.
3.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON and ignore the right fork down into the vineyard. Follow the track for 1.4 km.
5.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON the track and pass a house on the right-hand side and walk through the vineyard.
5.50 km – Pass between two large boulders and descend to a T-junction. TURN LEFT onto the track which soon curves left.
5.60 km – Keep left and continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring the track off to the right.
5.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON and ignore the gated entrance to a house on the left.
6.00 km – Curve left and stay on the main track following the red and white markers to turn sharply and descend.
6.30 km – BEAR RIGHT and continue descending (ignore the track on the left to a dead end).
6.60 km – TURN LEFT in front of the stone boulders (with the deadend sign ahead) and continue to follow the track through the trees. The track soon begins to ascend. Follow it for ~1 km.
7.60 km – At the edge of the vineyard cross the cattle-grid and BEAR LEFT onto the track with the vines on your right-hand side. There are lovely views of the surrounding landscape over the fence on your left-hand side.
8.20 km – Follow the vineyard fence around to another cattle-grid, cross it and TURN RIGHT onto a minor road with no pavement. Please beware of vehicles on the road. Continue to follow the road for ~1.8 km ignoring any off-shoot tracks.
10.00 km – At the T-junction TURN LEFT onto the busier road following the road signpost for Brolio (3.2 km) and cross the bridge.
10.30 km – TURN RIGHT off the road with a large boulder on your left-hand side onto a track which curves right and ascends steeply.
10.80 km – At the T-junction BEAR LEFT to continue on the track (don’t turn right to Cornia 0.40 km).
11.30 km – Enter a small gravel car park and continue STRAIGHT ON between two large boulders then TURN RIGHT onto the road. There are great views on your left-hand side over the Tuscan countryside. There are vineyards below on your left-hand side.
11.70 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON passing Cacchiano signpost.
11.90 km – After the Cacchiano signpost off to the right TURN LEFT off the road onto a track and begin to descend on a rough track. Don’t take the track on the left that curves back the way you came. Then continue straight on downhill and in ~20 m ignore the track off to the right.
12.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON ignoring the track on the right. In ~100 m continue STRAIGHT ON in the clearing with the faint intersecting track.
12.60 km – At the end of the track through rough woodland with berry trees TURN RIGHT onto the track at the edge of the vineyard. Follow the track around the vineyard and pass and building and swimming pool on your right-hand side.
12.70 km – TURN LEFT to descend and continue on the track with the vineyard on the left-hand side. BEAR LEFT to pass between buildings and reach a wide track in ~200 m.
12.90 km – TURN RIGHT onto a track with a large boulder ahead and continue on track to descend slightly at the red and white marker on the wall.
13.10 km – After ascending to the road TURN LEFT onto it then immediately after TURN RIGHT onto a grassy track through a field of olive trees.
13.20 km – At the faint cross-roads in the track TURN LEFT onto a grassy track with vines on the the right-hand side and olive trees on the left-hand side. (The bell tower is behind on your right-hand side.)
13.30 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON with vines on your right-hand side and pass the large boulder with a mural of a rooster eating grapes.
13.50 km – With the stone building off to the left continue STRAIGHT ON through the olive grove.
13.70 km – Follow the track as it curves right into a vineyard in front of a large wooden shed (ignore the tracks off to the left) and continue STRAIGHT ON.
13.80 km – TURN LEFT onto a faint grassy track with vines on the left-hand side and a drop-off embankment on the right-hand side. Do not continue ahead down into the vineyards towards the buildings ahead.
14.00 km – TURN RIGHT and pass through a white gate in the fence onto a rough track through trees. Continue to follow the faint descending track over a scrubby knoll.
14.10 km – TURN RIGHT onto a gravel track (there’s a fenced vineyard off on the left) and descend slightly. Follow the red and white painted markers as the track curves left and ascends.
14.30 km – TURN LEFT at the T-junction with a track (don’t follow the red and white markers this time).
14.60 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON the track as it curves right into a vineyard.
14.90 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON through the gates and pass a house on your left-hand side. Follow the track for ~700 m.
15.60 km – Pass the building on your right and BEAR LEFT to descend to the road. Then TURN LEFT onto the road for ~150 m. Beware of traffic on this section as there is no pavement.
15.80 km – TURN RIGHT onto the minor road following the signpost for Le Fontanelle. Continue STRAIGHT ON the minor road with an open field on your left and trees on your right.
16.00 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON across the brick bridge over the river. In ~600 m continue STRAIGHT ON over another small bridge over a stream.
16.80 km – Continue STRAIGHT ON passing a house on your right-hand side.
17.10 km – TURN RIGHT following the signpost to Le Fontanelle as the road ascends.
17.20 km – Reach the hotel gates and buzz in at the intercom. The hotel is ~250 m further up the road where today’s walk ends.
This depends on the time of year; if traveling in the spring or autumn it can be cool in the morning, but it soon heats up in the late morning and afternoon so make sure to bring some layers. During the summer months, the area can be prone to afternoon thunderstorms, so waterproofs or a rain poncho are also essential in case of heavy showers. In the heat of the day, sun cream is essential, and a sunhat is highly recommended. Otherwise, normal hiking gear in a 25-litre rucksack will suit.
Either sturdy walking shoes, or light hiking boots are recommended. Most of today's walk is along gravel roads, which can be tough on the feet.
Walking poles will be a big advantage on the ascents and descents, and to provide balance on gravelly terrain.
A fully charged phone is essential; if in doubt that the battery will last throughout the hike, it might be beneficial to bring a power bank.
It's always best to be prepared and bring some supplies just in case. It is recommended to drink 0.75 litres of water per hour of walking, so refill filtration bottle/s along the way or bring plenty with you.
Other essential items are blister treatments and a first aid kit, insect repellent, biodegradable toilet tissue, and a whistle and torch.
- 3 Waypoints
- 3 Waypoints
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