Chianti region in Tuscany and the Unesco list

Great news for the Chianti! The seven ‘Comuni’ of the Chianti region – the historical small towns of Barberino- Tavarnelle, Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Gaiole, Greve, Radda in Chianti, and San Casciano Val di Pesa – are preparing their candidacy for the Unesco World Heritage list. The process has now started and hopefully Tuscany could soon add another listed site to its curriculum.

The ‘Cultural landscape of the Chianti Classico’

The Chianti countryside has long been amongst Italy’s iconic landscapes. Made immortal by countless photographs and films, loved by tourists that travel here from the four corners of the globe, the Chianti is a symbol of the good life. Beautifully manicured vineyards and olive groves produce some of the region’s revered products: the Chianti wines and the excellent olive oil.

The cultural and historical relevance of the Chianti region can be seen in its castle, churches and ancient hamlets. Not to mention the artisan tradition that is still part of local life. To top it all, nature here welcomes the visitors with romantic views and a unique atmosphere.

chianti heritage list

Let’s discover a bit more about these 7 brave Comuni that are trying their luck with the Unesco list:

What are these Chianti towns like?

Greve in Chianti has been a market town for centuries, and its main square is a lively hub for shopping and food tasting. Radda and Castellina are the other two prized wine towns, home to excellent enoteche that are a delight for the senses. Gaiole in Chianti has reinvented itself as the queen of cycling with the Eroica cycling event (see official site). The whole area has become a magnet for cyclists that come here to discover the beauty of the landscape on two wheels, where every bend in the road reveals a beautiful surprise.

San Casciano Val di Pesa – the closest town to Florence and gateway of the Chianti region – was a favourite spots for royals on their way to Rome, and today is a lively town with plenty of good trattorie, nice shops and an interesting museum. Nearby Barberino Val d’Elsa is quiet and pretty, while Castelnuovo Berardenga, a few kilometers from Siena, boasts some ancient churches and elegant villas in its surroundings.

=> Read about the Best Chianti Towns in Tuscany to visit!

chianti vineyards

Tuscany and its Unesco Heritage sites

Tuscany already has 7 Unesco sites: Florence, Pisa, San Gimignano, Siena, Pienza, the landscape of the Val d’Orcia, the Medici villas and gardens.

The historical centre of towns like Florence and Pisa are world-famous for their art and architectural masterpieces of outstanding value. San Gimignano and Siena boast perfectly preserved Medieval town centre. Pienza is an example of how Humanist concepts – rational design, pleasing aesthetics created by geometry, and good living principles – were applied, that was taken as example for many urban development around Italy and Europe.

Unesco declared the Val d’Orcia a ‘cultural landscape’ by Unesco, as it looks virtually like it did in the 15th century. “The Medici villas form the first example of the connection between architecture, gardens, and the environment. They became an enduring reference for princely residences throughout Italy and Europe.”

=> Discover more about Tuscany’s Unesco sites.

unesco sites tuscany
A view of Siena

World heritage sites

World Heritage Sites are designated by the UNESCO for having cultural, historical, natural or scientific significance. According to the Unesco, these sites are judged to have “outstanding value to humanity” and so they need to be protected and promoted. 

The protection, management, authenticity and integrity of properties are also important considerations. Since 1992 significant interactions between people and the natural environment have been recognized as cultural landscapes” (from the Unesco official site).

As of November 2021, a total of 1,154 World Heritage Sites exist around the world. Italy is right at the top. With 58 selected areas, it’s the country with the highest number of sites on the list.

=> Discover our favourite 12 World Heritage Sites in Italy.