The Tuscany winery tour with lunch at Villa Dianella near Empoli makes for a great Chianti wine tour from Florence.
Winery tours of Tuscany are in high demand for most travellers to the region of Tuscany in Italy. The trick is finding the right Tuscany winery tour for you, whether that means a winery tour with lunch, accommodation, or tasting a particular grape, such as a Chianti wine tour.
Villa Dianella, a historic winery near Empoli in Tuscany, is a beautiful period estate with B&B rooms and a wine-making museum next to its working winery. You can visit Dianella for a winery tour, for a cooking lesson or even for truffle hunting. The winery produces eight kinds of wine from Sangiovese, which is the Chianti grape, so it’s ideal if you had your heart set on a Chianti wine tour.
Tuscany winery tour: Villa Dianella
Winery tours at Dianella take place by appointment, so it’s necessary to book ahead. Villa Dianella is located in the village of Vinci, the birth-town of Leonardo da Vinci, and the winery has a special connection with Italy’s great Renaissance man. The town itself lies west of Florence, at a distance of around 45 km.
Dianella recently planted a cultivar which was grown from a heritage grape grown on the very estate owned by Leonardo da Vinci. Although the plants are still small, it’s thrilling to know that one day they will be able to make wine from the same vines planted by Leonardo da Vinci himself.
Tuscany winery tour: an historic vineyard near Empoli
Villa Dianella dates back to the end of the XVI century and was used by famous Tuscan nobles the Medici family as a country house for hunting. Its name, Dianella, comes from the name Diana, the goddess of the hunt.
The villa is actually in a tiny hamlet next to Vinci, known as Dianella, which dates back to the end of XVI century. This hamlet comprises just a few houses, including the church of S. Michaelis de Aliana, and the 1500s-era villa.
From the 1700s onwards, the hamlet passed through the Marchesi-Federighi and Fucini families, before being bought by the Billeri family at the start of the 1900s. The current owners are their descendents, the noble family of the Conti Passerin d’Entrèves e Courmayeur.
Francesco e Veronica Passerin d’Entrèves have spent the last decade carefully refurbishing the whole estate, creating a villa which is popular for weddings year round, as well as providing a handful of B&B rooms. An imminent restyling of the stable block will add another half dozen rooms to the villa, which is located in the heart of Chianti country.
Tuscany winery tour: The Dianella winery tour
As part of their careful refurbishment of the winery, Francesco and Veronica Passerin d’Entrèves created a museum dedicated to the process of wine-making in Dianella’s ancient cellars, to enrich the Tuscany winery tour.
As part of the winery tour, visitors can hear about every stage in the wine-making process and olive oil production, from the grape harvest to olive picking and the wine production and aging phases. This is a fascinating part of the Chianti wine tour.
The guided winery tour passes through the different areas of Villa Dianella, ancient and modern, where the wine-making traditions are maintained. From old oak barrels to modern steel vats, passing through special rooms dedicated to making vinsanto or olive oil. Located in the heart of Chianti country, Dianella is a special place to take a Chianti wine tour.
Along the way, several pieces of antique machinery are displayed along with wine-making tools that tell the story of bottling methods and now redundant wine-making techniques.
Allow about two hours for the winery tour in total, as after wandering round the estate, you’ll be introduced to the wines themselves with a special tasting. At tables fashioned from wine boxes, next to the shop, the tasting runs through four or five wines, with Chianti wine playing a big role, accompanied by typical Tuscan food.
We started the tasting lunch with a handsome platter of local cheeses and salamis, paired with a glass of white wine. Villa Dianella also has a vegetable garden, so expect to eat some home-grown ingredients as part of the meal.
Next, we tried a wonderful sausage tartare, served with a light salad. This was paired with one of the Dianella Chianti labels – an excellent and essential introduction to this iconic grape as part of the Chianti wine tour.
We moved on to some tasty ravioli with tomato and zucchini flowers, stuffed with cheese, paired with another glass of Chianti.
We closed the tasting with a slice of a typical dessert from Florence, the schiacciata Fiorentina. This was light and crumbly with a cream filling and was paired with a glass of homemade vinsanto, the typical Tuscan fortified wine.
The Tuscany winery tour at Dianella costs from around €35 per head including lunch, and needs to be booked in advance, as it is not offered every day. Different packages are available so do discuss with the owners when you call ahead. Dianella also has a restaurant on-site which has limited opening. It is often reserved for events and large parties year round, so be sure to call ahead or write to Dianella via their convenient web forms to book.
You will probably want to check out the Dianella shop afterwards, where wine can be bought and shipped all over the world. There is also olive oil on sale, local jams and conserves, and even a line of cosmetics enriched with the anti-oxidant properties of grapes.
Chianti wine tour from Florence
Overall, the Tuscany winery tour at Villa Dianella is a great way to sample some Chianti wines and learn about the history of wine-making in this corner of the world. It can be considered a real and proper Chianti wine tour as Dianella’s award-winning wines are amongst some of the most highly rated in the Tuscany region, and they make eight different wines with Sangiovese, the Chianti grape.
Dianella can be visited from Florence as part of a day trip to Tuscany. While it is advisable to have private transport – i.e. a car or a minibus – it is possible to reach the nearby station of Empoli from Florence by taking a train. This is a 20-30 minute journey and trains part very regularly. You would then have to take a taxi from Empoli station to reach Villa Dianella, at a cost of around €15. Villa Dianella is a 15 minute drive from Empoli station. So overall, it makes a feasible Chianti wine tour from Florence and a wonderful introduction to the wines of the Tuscany region.
If you’re planning a trip to Tuscany you might also want to check out my reviews of Eating Europe’s Florence food tour, the other side of Florence, or dive into a seven day residential cooking class with the wonderful Cook in Tuscany. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for other accommodation options, Il Paluffo is a stunning farmhouse with pool in Certaldo.
Testaccina was a guest of Villa Dianella
Villa Dianella | Via Dianella, 48 | 50059 Vinci (Florence) | Tel +39 0571 508166
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