Riding a Vespa down SR 222 Chiantigiana – The Chianti Wine Road

Riding a Vespa down SR 222 Chiantigiana – The Chianti Wine Road

July 2022

Riding a Vespa down SR 222 Chiantigiana – The Chianti Wine Road

When we started planning our summer vacation for Kevin’s birthday, a wine dinner I had been following for years was scheduled around the time of our time off. We had always dreamed about how wonderful it would be to drive a Vespa through the Tuscan countryside and now that we actually had a Vespa at home we were comfortable driving, we thought that this dream could turn into a reality. Since we had visited Tuscany many times, we did not need much time there so that is how we decided to add Sardinia to the mix and create our summer Italy getaway. 

SR 222 Chiantigiana is known as the Chianti Wine Road connecting Florence to Siena. The road is a straight shot out of the city and cuts right through some of the most iconic spots in Tuscany in the Chianti and Chianti Classico wine regions. This road is ideal for a car or Vespa as it is paved, single lane, and max speed limit for the majority of the drive is 50km per hour. Stops can include:

  • Strada in Chianti
  • Greve in Chianti
  • Panzano
  • Castellina in Chianti

We skipped Strada in Chianti and stopped in Greve in Chianti for lunch and Panzano before reaching out final destination of Castellina in Chianti. Without stopping, Florence to Castellina in Chianti was under an hour drive.

How does one navigate while on a Vespa? Well I can only speak from experience with two people on the scooter. I downloaded the map on Google Maps for offline use (highly recommend this trick for all trips to avoid burning data) and then verbally communicated directions to Kevin as we drove. Sometimes our speed would be too fast for my shouting to reach him, so I would tap the arm of the direction to indicate the direction. Since we had plenty of practice navigating on the scooter in Sardinia, we had this down!

Many people rent a scooter for the day to see this area. We were heading to Castellina to stay for the weekend so we had our bags to take into account. We intentionally packed exceptionally light for this trip since our only vehicle was a Vespa – our typical eBags was going to be too big so we opted to bring the Walker Family Goods Valley Pack. See our full packing list here. This allowed for one of the bags to be placed on the Vespa by Kevin’s legs and one to be placed on my back comfortably.

We rented our Vespa from Florence Station Rental. The reviews here were very good and they also specialize in scooter rentals, including Vespas. We were given a red Vespa 125 cc – considerably more banged up then our red Vespa at home but as long as it drove well, it was not a concern. The owner gave us specific instructions on how to get out of the city without getting into trouble as well as how to access SR 222 Chiantigiana – the Chianti Wine Road where we could live out of Vespa dreams.

We once again promised ourselves patience and time to get this right. Kevin understood the route out of the city well so he followed the directions and once we were out of the city itself, I navigated us to SR 222. Once we arrived on SR 222, we celebrated our first victory – we made it out of Florence. This would be the road we were on for 50 beautiful kilometers. 

Only a few minutes passed when we saw the landscape change into the magical rolling hills filled with villas and vines. Smiling wide from ear to ear, this is why we picked the Vespa. It was just unbelievable and we could not stop smiling and wow’ing at everything. Even though we have visited this area multiple times, it is just different from this perspective. Luckily I had gotten very nimble on the back of the Vespa to take some photos cause it was impossible to not try and capture this. 

Before we knew it, we were approaching the town of Greve in Chianti where we decided to take a stop. We were shocked how fast this drive was going! We found parking, grabbed the bags, and walked around the square. We had visited Greve in Chianti on a previous trip to Chianti so it was nice to be back. 

We passed by a specialty shop and I found it impossible to pass it up. Antica Macelleria Falorni took up over three stores full of beautiful cured meats, an aging room, a cheese cave, and more. The smells were fantastic as we walked through each room. They also had a bistro for food and a wine card program where you could try different wines. 

We opted to get the taglieri gran mix (mix cutting board) of prosciutto falorni, salame grevigiano, finocchiona IGP, pecorino fresco with onion compote and crispy bread. This was the perfect snack and reward for conquering the drive out of Florence. 

Our next stop was Bottega del Chianti Classico just to browse some wine and goodness we could not believe the extensive selection of wine bottles in this store! The displays were beautiful and the Chianti section was so large, I have no idea how you could choose. But Kevin did find a friend – Podere Le Ripi hiding in the Montalcino section. It was hard to pass up so we grabbed the Cielo d’Ulisse 2017 Brunello for a treat over the weekend. 

We got ourselves strapped back up on the Vespa and continued our journey down SR 222. We only had twenty more minutes until we reached our final destination but we had one more stop we wanted to make. 

Whenever we have traveled through Panzano, we also have to make a stop to visit Dario. Each time we go to Tuscany, we have done so and it was great to continue the tradition onward. He was there doing his thing, blasting his American music as we nabbed a piece of bread with lard on it and a glass of Chianti. We also passed by Dario’s newer food truck that offered sandwiches. We were so tempted to grab one but they did not look like they traveled well so we will save it for next time. 

The rest of the ride was even more wonderful as the hills continued to roll entering into the area of Castellina. We were so excited to see where we were staying for the weekend – somewhere I had been planning on visiting for years!

Our turn off of SR 222 led us to a dirt road and while we had a moment of PTSD for Sardinia, this was far more manageable as we made our way up the hill. When we arrived, we were simply stunned at how lucky we got staying at this property – Querceto di Castellina.

Driving the Vespa through Tuscany was nothing short of a dream – it was far more magical than we expected and we were smiling the entire ride. We were surprised at how easy the SR 222 was to drive on and how direct it was to reach so many wonderful parts of Tuscany. Even though from start to finish it was an hour drive, it did not feel that way especially while making all the stops through the towns along the way. I hope this is not our last time driving a Vespa through Tuscany and if it is something you have dreamed of doing, I hope this helps you fulfill it!

Continue reading about our weekend in Tuscany here!


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