Barberino Val d’Elsa is located in Tuscany, Italy. The town is located between Florence and Sienna. Barberino Val d’Elsa is mostly known for its medieval look that it has managed to retain over the centuries. Situated on top of a hill, the town looks over the famous Chianti wine territory. The medieval structure of the town is still quite well preserved with ancient walls encircling the town and the center of the town is still quite well preserved. Barberino Val d’Elsa’s economy is largely dependent on agriculture. The most well known products of the region are the popular wines from the area and the extra olive virgin oil that is produced from the olive trees of the many farms that are located in the surrounding regions.
Getting down to Barberino Val d’Elsa
Barberino is a very small town so there aren’t many options for transportation. The two easiest ways to reach here is by buses and by road. There are a few buses that run regularly from neighboring places like Bologna and the smaller villages in the commune. However, for reaching from other cities in Tuscany, one or two buses would have to be changed and connecting bus tickets would have to be booked. Visitors who have their own cars can also reach the town by road easily from Rome, Sienna, and Florence and from Bologna. Highway A1 can be followed from Rome to reach Sienna and then from Sienna to Barberino.
Moving around within the city
Barberino Val d’Elsa is a very small town so moving around is not much of a problem. The easiest way to explore the town is on foot. The main attractions in Barberino are all located within the old quarter which has very narrow streets and alleys and is comfortable to explore only on foot. There is also a public bus service in Barberino for those who want to explore the other areas of town and also for visiting the nearby places located outside the town’s limits. Bus route information and schedules are easily available all throughout the town. Those who have their own cars can also use them since traffic is not a problem here and parking spots are easily available.
Sight seeing attractions in Barberino Val d’Elsa
The Pieve in Barberino is an ancient church which has been remodeled several times over the last few centuries. The last large renovation was done in 1910. The church has a stone façade and still retains its gothic architecture. The interiors are beautifully done with several frescoes from the 14th and the 15th century. The bronze bust of B. Davanzato made by Pietro Tacca and his relics dating back to the 17th century are also located here in the church. The Pieve is the main attraction for visitors who come to Barberino Val d’Elsa.
–The Palazzo Pretorio
The Palazzo Pretorio is an ancient palace which has been beautifully restored and still retains its original beauty and architecture. The impressive palace has a renaissance façade and has been decorated with thirty five coats of arms which had once belonged to the main family from Florence. The palace is mainly known for its beautiful architecture and the interiors are not open for visitors to explore.
–The chapel of San Michele Arcangelo
Although not located in Barberino town, the chapel of San Michele Arcangelo is worth visiting. The chapel is located nearby in Poggio di Petrognano which can be reached easily by bus or car. The chapel was built at the location of fortress di Semifonte. The beautiful chapel is octagonal in shape and was designed by Santi di Tito. Although the cupola is much smaller, it still resembles the cupola of Florence’s famous Santa Maria Del Fiore. The chapel is quite small but is definitely worth a visit.
The ancient walls of Barberino that were built centuries ago still stand more or less intact. Although damaged in a few places, the two main tower gates are still quite intact. Porta Roma and Porta Fiorentina are the two tower gates between which the main street of the town is located.
Stay and accommodation
Barberino Val d’Elsa is a small town but it has gained much popularity in the recent times due to the surround wine region. Wine connoisseurs from Italy as well as from other countries who are interested in learning more about wines come to the town for exploring the surrounding regions. Due to this reason there are a few good accommodation options in the town. There are some really good small but charming hotels in Barberino, apartments, mansions and villas for rent as well as accommodations in nearby farm houses. Most of the hotels that exist in the city are converted to hotels from ancient villas and mansions. Some good options to try while in town are hotel Albergo Semifonte, Villa San Filipo and hotel Villa Tavolese.
Those who are interested in trying traditional Tuscan and Italian cuisine would have plenty of options in Barberino. The town has several small charming eateries, pizzerias and restaurants that offer wholesome and simple traditional dishes and local desserts. Also, since wine is abundant in the region almost every restaurant will have really good wine selections. Pizzas are quite good, so they are perfect for a light lunch. There are also plenty of variety of local cheeses available as well as some good local pastries.
Shopping in Barberino Val d’Elsa
Barberino Val d’Elsa is basically an agricultural region. There are no other local craft specialties. The town is mainly popular for two things, wines and olive oil. The best thing to purchase while in Barberino would be a bottle of a really good wine from the Chianti region. Plenty of options and varieties would be easily available in most wine shops in the town. There are also quite a lot of places where visitors can purchase excellent quality extra virgin olive oil which is a specialty of this region. Olive oil is prepared from the olives that grow in the nearby farms.