Ascend to the 11th Century abbey Badia Coltibuono, pass through the tiny village of Montegrossi, and descend on shady forest tracks into the valley of Gaiole.
A steep ascent out of Gaiole in Chianti takes you towards the magnificent Badia Coltibuono abbey, which has spectacular views over the Tuscan countryside from it’s lofty hillside look-out. From the abbey descend before following the road to Montegrossi passing the Castello di Montegrossi high on the cliffs above the roadside. Wander through the village of Montegrossi before taking to forest tracks skirting the hillside and eventually descending back into the valley of Gaiole to return to where the walk begins at the church of San Sigismondo.
If you are interested in the history of Badia Coltibuono it is certainly worth pre-booking a guided tour or wine tasting here (via their website as detailed in tips, hints and links below). Otherwise the view alone makes the abbey a worthy detour from the walk's loop. Relax and enjoy the vistas down into valleys on either side of the forest track after leaving the village of Monetgrossi behind.
The terrain varies from tarred roads, rough tracks, and wide gravel tracks. On some occasions there is no pavement beside the road so please beware of vehicles (driving on the right-hand side) of the road.
Tips, hints and links
Food & Drink:
There is nowhere to eat along today’s route, unless you have pre-booked a meal at the Badia Coltibuono abbey, so we recommend bringing snacks and a picnic lunch along with plenty of water. There is a shady picnic spot with benches in the village of Montegrossi at around 6 km into the walk. You can purchase snacks and lunch from the small supermarket on the main pedestrainised street of Gaiole in Chianti. For you evening meal in Gaiole you can choose from the restaurants, cafes and enotecas in Gaiole's centre.
A point of interest:
The name of the abbey means Abbey of the Good Harvest. It was founded in around 1051, and this is when the first vineyards were planted here. You can learn more about the abbey’s rich history by pre-booking a guided tour or wine tasting at en.coltibuono.com.
This depends on the time of year you are walking; if travelling 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 and bring some layers with you. During the summer months the area can be prone to afternoon thunderstorms so waterproofs are also essential in case of heavy showers. In the heat of the day suncream 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 suitable.