How does Chianti look?
It’s an odd question, isn’t it, like one you’d see on Quora. Let’s see, in Chianti there’d be verdant rolling hills wrapped with endless rows of vines, villages with stone houses clinging tightly to one another, tourists weaving on the roadways, restaurants with smoke curling from the chimneys of wood-fired ovens and terraces open to the blue skies of Tuscan wine country.
That’s about it. Except, you haven’t seen it all. For example, the view just below is likely to have eluded you:
You see, if you didn’t take a long, cross country walk away from the lumbering tourist coaches you would never see this bit of Chianti nature. And you wouldn’t see it from this angle unless…
…You are on a balloon, drifting where the winds take you!
So why should you consider paying good money for standing up in the traditional wicker basket of a hot air balloon sliding across azure skies with all of Italy slowly scrolling beneath you?
- Each ride is unique. The wind really does take you where it wants you to go. You can re-take the same trip, starting from the same place, and on a two hour ride you might end up miles away from where you landed the first time. We are finally out of cookie-cutter vacation land.
- You can talk to the pilot. He’s likely in contact with the air traffic controllers in a nearby airport. They are catching his drift, so to speak. You can make requests, although the pilot can, at the right moment, turn on the burners to gain altitude and claim not to hear you through the “whoosh!”
- Oh, the quiet as you drift. It makes you think that technology hasn’t really advanced much, just gotten faster and noisier.
- And finally, there are all those unique pictures you can take.
The flight you see depicted in the pictures above can via Tuscany Ballooning and we toured the Val di Pesa, although they also go to other destinations near Florence and Siena. Highly recommended.
Vineyards not for you? How about World Heritage Archaeological Sites?
Wine country, even in California, is a magnet for balloon people. But there is no rule you have to fly over vineyards. If you are in Italy in October, you might want to head toward ancient Paestum for the Paestum Balloon Festival
While it’s darned impressive to look up at the marble columns from the ground, you’ll gain a different perspective watching them slide beneath your wicker basket.
The above image was kindly contributed by Jeffrey D Gordon, who tells the Italy Travel Facebook Page:
There was a fee. If I recall correctly, it was 100 Euros/rider. Much less expensive than a private company. Actual flight duration was approximately 30 minutes. We also were able to assist with inflating our balloon and the “recovery” after landing.
According to last year’s information there were also 10 minute tethered “flights” on the festival weekend to see the temples from above for 10 euro.
It’s good Jefferey volunteered this information, because the official website for the event seems to have lost its English pages. Here are some of the restrictions:
You must be taller than 120 cm and have closed shoes. You shouldn’t have cardiac problems or breathing problems like asthma. Don’t eat or drink too much before the flight. Bring a hat and some water.
Then, enjoy your flight. Last year’s Paestum Balloon Festival was held from October 1st to the 9th.
Ass. Vivere Paestum
email: [email protected]
cell. 333 5601504
If you don’t want to do the leg work, there are organized ballooning tours as well. Here’s a list of the top 9 balloon tours of Italy compiled by Viator.
Happy ballooning. You’ll have a blast.