Panzano in Chianti


Panzano in Chianti

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Some time ago one of my regular readers, Dana, told me that she was going to Italy for a month. Oh, my, how envious I was. She knows a number of people there and traveled to several locales. She generously agreed to do a guest post – a first for this site. I unfortunately got so bound up in the pressures of moving to my apartment that I wasn’t even able to put her post on the site. Mamma mia, that’s pretty bad. So now I am taking a breather to publish her delightful post. So here is Dana Norberg’s experience of Panzano.

On a beautiful Saturday in October my Italian friends decided I should see some part of the Chianti region. Of course I agreed. What’s a visit to Tuscany without seeing Chianti?

After stopping at a market in Greve, we happened to see this interesting little town off the main road, with a chiesa (church) rising out of the trees. This little town turned out to be Panzano, and it is my favorite stop that day.

Panzano in Chianti has that old world charm that we see in photos of towns in Tuscany. It is not a town that sees the multitudes of tourists that Florence or Siena sees, and visiting off season means it was even more peaceful. Walking through Panzano and visiting Santa Maria Assunta (the church that attracted my attention from the road) was, for me, a soothing experience.

Panzano’s website tells us only that the town is “ancient in foundation”, but another source indicates that the site may be of Etruscan origin. Parts of the castle, which is now privately owned, have been incorporated into construction of the church (rebuilt in the 19th century), and one of the city towers is now a private residence.

We ended our visit with lunch at a restaurant called Antica Macelleria Cecchini, owned by butcher and chef Dario Cecchini. He seems to be rather well known in the area. No wonder! The food was great, the price was terrific, and the entire experience was, well, fun.

There were two menu options that day. The first gave you a half pound burger Tuscan style, roasted potatoes, vegetables, bread, and water. Dario calls it playing “with the concept of high quality fast food”.

The second option featured some of Dario’s “butcher shop specialties”, which included raw vegetables and olive oil, Chianti sushi (beef, not fish), Chianti tuna (pork actually), roasted pork, meatloaf “Dario style”, bread, and water. Wine is a little extra, but well worth it!

We ordered the second option, and that was enough for the three of us. With the Chianti wine this was probably the best lunch I’ve had!

If you visit the Chianti area I highly recommend a visit to Panzano, and to Antica Macelleria Cecchini. You will not soon forget the experience!

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