If you backtrack from Castellina by heading north on SR222 (by now, you’ll simply be saying “the 222”), you’ll quickly come to the turnoff on the right for SR429, which will take you to Radda. Drive slowly and spend the 20-30 minutes looking at the countryside, first on your left and then on your right. There are vineyards everywhere -and bicyclists, so be careful!
As in Castellina, only residents can drive and park in the town itself. That’s OK, because there’s plenty of parking outside the walls. (There’s also a really nice playground by the main lot at the eastern end of town. Noah really enjoyed it.)
The value of being in Radda has more to do with where it is than what it is. The town is charming and the people who live here are friendly and grateful for your business. But from a visitor’s perspective, the beauty of the surrounding areas is the real draw.
As already noted, the scenery is spectacular. Bob took the photo at the top of this post while walking along the northern wall. In the photo just above, the view towards the south of the vineyards and villa is also amazing. (Ask around. The villa is usually for sale in the €10 million range – and includes the vineyard!)
What to do:
- Rampini Ceramics: We discovered Rampini after eating lunch at the Castello di Brolio. We thought the dishware was beautiful, and turned it over to see where it was from. All it said was “Rampini”.
On our way to Radda from the castle, we literally drove by the Rampini studio and stopped in. They produce classic maiolica, Italian tin-glazed pottery, dating from the Renaissance period. Working from an old farmhouse, Rampini has been handcrafting ceramics for many centuries. They’re happy to show you around both the workshop and showroom, and will pack up and ship your purchases home for you.
- Chianti Cashmere: When we were importing Tuscan goods, we heard about Nora Kravis. She’s an ex-New Yorker who now lives in Radda and raises cashmere goats. Together, they create and produce beautiful yarn, scarves, and other cashmere accessories.
Her farm and giftshop are open every day during the season, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm. You can arrange for a group visit by writing to email@example.com. The farm is not easy to find, so ask for directions or plug these coordinates into your GPS: Coordinates: 43.495305 – 11.38552.
- Castello di Volpaia is a close-by village (frazione). The town produces excellent wines, olive oils, and flavored vinegars. In fact, the local church was turned into a winery by lifting off the dome to get the vats and other equipment into the building. Wine and olive oil tastings are by appointment:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. +39.0577.738066
Note: When walking near the parking lot, look for handmade signs advertising honey (miele). If it’s available, buy it – it’s fresh, local and produced from chestnut (castagna) nectar. Then, buy some local fresh pecorino (the softer, younger type) and drizzle the honey on top. Delizioso!
- There are plenty of other tours and tastings in the immediate area. These include Fattoria di Montemaggio and Castello Monterinaldi:
Montemaggio offers different products to try, including 4 red wines: Chianti Classico, Riserva, Torre di Montemaggio and Quinta Essentia and 2 of our fresh wines, Rose’ and Chardonnay di Montemaggio. You will also tour their gardens and attend a tasting of their olive oils. Contact them directly for information and reservations:
Email: email@example.com | Tel. +39 0577 738323
Monterinaldi offers a number of rather unique wine-related experiences. Besides a typical tour and tasting, you can blend and bottle your own wines, work the vineyards, and take a cooking class. Contact them directly for information and reservations:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel. +39 0577 733533
Where to Eat:
There are many excellent restaurants, osterias, and trattorias in the immediate area. Besides Osteria le Panzanelle, which we listed in our Panzano and Castellini post, here are 2 favorites in Radda:
- Le Podere le Vigne – Tucked in the middle of a vineyard is the luxurious and lovely Podere LeVigne Hotel Ristorante, which is part of the hotel of the same name. You will literally eat your meal in the vineyard. Here’s a typical TripAdvisor review:We thoroughly enjoyed the meal. The gnocchetti con tartufo was incredible – light, melt in your mouth gnocchetti and a tartufo sauce that was incredible. Even the mixed grill – which can be a little bland at times in some places – was done to perfection. Everything about the meal from the glass of house wine (a simple but very smooth Chianti) to the dessert was spot on.
Email: email@example.com | Tel: +39 0577 738301
- La Vin’Osteria – Closer to town than le Vigne, the food is also typically Tuscan. Again, here’s a typical TripAdvisor review:
Good food, very popular with the locals. Wife waits on the tables, husband is the chef. Our party of 5 traveling in Tuscany for a week voted this our favorite meal. Not because it was the fanciest, but the food was great, excellent wine and a fun relaxing atmosphere.
Lunch (12:30 pm – 2:30pm) and Dinner (7:30pm – 10:00 pm) Every Day Except Wednesday.
Call for info: Tel: +39 0577 735604
- Osteria le Panzanelle – Take the SP2bis toward Panzano and you’ll come to the hamlet of Lucarelli. At the corner, you’ll find this great family-style restaurant is filled with locals. Kids love it. Adults love it. My guess is that the local dogs and cats love it, too.
Only open since 2002, the tourists have yet to fully descend on the place. Here is how the two young owners, Nada and Silvia, describe their cuisine:
For starters, in addition to the classical crostini (canapes) and affettati misti (cured cold meats), you can find in rotation several seasonal proposals. As first courses, other than the always available seasonal soup, there is a good choice of homemade pasta (noodles), amongst which a special mention goes to ravioli and gnudi. As a second course, all year round you can of course have grilled meat: beef steak, t-bone steak and lamb chops, but, in rotation, you can also find stews like: peposo, wild boar, or pork chop and also roasted meats and offals, such as tripe. Puddings always includes almond biscotti with dessert wine (vin santo), cream pudding (panna cotta) and chocolate cake, but in rotation you can find other seasonal desserts.Hurry before this place is discovered!
Closed Monday | +39 0577 733511 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Volpaia is so small that it only has 3 restaurants. They’re all quite popular, and situated right next to each other. The first two are owned by sisters Paola and Carla Barucci. Listed from most to least casual:
- Bar Ucci – The place for a relaxing beer and a very good bite, Tuscan style. Where the locals go. Casual atmosphere with a warm, genuine staff. Run by Paola.
Email: email@example.com | Tel: +039 0577 738042
- La Bottega di Volpaia – Sit outside if you can, and enjoy the afternoon or sunset. Traditional Tuscan food done well. Run by Carla. Here’s what she says about the place:
Today we can have meat every day, but the simplicity and the tradition I kept as the beautiful vegetable garden where I get all the vegetables used in the kitchen, thanks to dad that takes care of them. Among the appetizers you will taste the traditional black toast, that clients say, is one of the best in the area, among the first courses ravioli and tortelli with hand made pasta, then the ribollita with a recipe of my mother, and again among the second course the boar hunted in the chinti woods, chicken with onions and pork roast spiced with scents of the Chianti, AND A GOOD FLORENTINE STEAK. Among the sweets a chocolate cake sees all my love for this such passional ingredient and the medieval cake my mother prepares with all her experience and savoriness.
Closed Tuesday. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Tel: +39 0577 738001
- Osteria Volpaia – We’ve eaten here at least 3 times, both because of the food and the staff. On our first trip, we showed up after the dinner service was over. No matter. They set up a table for us near the kitchen. Bob didn’t have enough money to leave a tip (this was in the pre-Euro days, and before credit cards were accepted in tiny Italian villages). No problem. We stopped by the next day with the tip, and the waiter was both appreciative and a bit embarrassed that we had come back just to see him.
The cuisine is totally Tuscan, including smoked artichokes, chicken liver, beef carpaccio, pappardelle with cinghiale ragu, tripe, cod, and Florentine beef. Here’s what a recent visitor from San Diego had to say on TripAdvisor:
A group of 10 visited this restaurant on a Sunday for lunch. The restaurant reservation wasn’t confirmed yet they quickly gave us a lovely serene private dining room. The food was beautifully presented and looked like art. The wine was excellent as well as everything we lunched on. The service was great and genuine.
Lunch (12:30 pm – 3:00pm) and Dinner (7:00pm – 9:00 pm) Every Day Except Wednesday.
Email: email@example.com | Tel: +39 0577 738066
Masthead photo: Early Spring Near Radda (Bob)