Castle of Meleto (Castello di Meleto)
Set in the heart of Chianti’s wine country, the 12th-century Castle of Meleto is one of a string of defensive castles that once guarded Gaiole in Chianti. The fortress was originally the property of the powerful Florentine Ricasoli family, and today you can tour its frescoed halls and taste Chianti Classico produced in the estate’s vineyards.
Gaiole in Chianti is a sleepy Tuscan village today, but in the Middle Ages, it was a strategically important center ringed by the strongholds of Brolio, Vertine, Barbischio, and the turreted Castle of Meleto (Castello di Meleto), first mentioned in 1256. The castle and estate have long been associated with winemaking, and today is one of the top attractions on wine and castle tours of Chianti. Join a guided visit of its frescoed rooms, an 18th-century theater, and historic wine cellars, as well as a vineyards tour and tasting sessions of award-winning Chianti Classico and other local wines in the castle’s enoteca.
Things to know before you go
- The estate's Chianti Classico and other wines, grappas, olive oils, and charcuterie made from the estate’s heirloom Cinta Senese pigs are stocked in the castle’s enoteca.
- You can dine at the castle’s La Fornace di Meleto restaurant.
- Photographers will appreciate the sweeping views from the castle walls and vineyards.
- Comfortable shoes are recommended for visiting the castle and surrounding estate.
- Much of the castle and winery isn’t accessible to wheelchairs or strollers.
- The minimum drinking age in Italy is 18.
How to get there
The Meleto Castle is located just outside of Gaiole di Chianti in the Chianti region, 40 minutes northeast of Siena along highway A1 (exit at Valdichiana). Avoid the hassle of navigating Tuscany’s rural roads by visiting the castle and surrounding wine country with a wine and castle tour that includes transportation.
When to get there
The Chianti countryside is particularly lovely in the spring and fall when the vineyards are lush but the temperatures are mild. Time your visit to the castle and estate when views are at their peak.
Chianti’s Medieval Castles
Gaiole in Chianti and the surrounding region was protected by a network of defensive castles during the Middle Ages, many of which are now open to the public. In addition to the Castello di Meleto, visit the Brolio, Vertine, and Barbischio fortresses to take in their stately halls and sweeping vistas.