Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian

A 360 degree view is seen from above where one can fully enjoy the beauty of the Chianti territory, with its vineyards, olive trees and winding hills.

If that isn’t enough, the magic of flying in a hot air balloon is added to the change in prospective; rising adrenaline at the moment of takeoff, the sense of peace from the air…and much more.

It is a unique experience for both the tourist, who wants an image imprinted on their mind, of a place where they might never return, as well as for the local who, always in a hurry, often takes the surrounding spectacular for granted.

This fantastic adventure is offered by the Balloon in Tuscany company, run by Stefano Travaglia and his partner, Gianna Volpi. It is located in the countryside near Tavarnelle, along the Cerro road.

“Our company is the oldest running in the area which offers this service”, says Stefano Travaglia, as he fills out certificates to be given to the day’s clients. “We are registered with ENAC, and have been doing this for 30 years”.

“Mine is a passion”, he smilingly says. “ After working with airplanes, i took a ride in a hot air balloon and was enchanted. So I attained an English license with Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard, who circled the world in a hot air ballon in 1999”,

“I traveled around”, he tells us” and established myself in Florence where i began my own business. After the events of September 11th, the air space was closed. So I transferred to this area which lends itself to my trade”.

“We have four balloons”, he continues, “with baskets for 8, 6, or 4 people. We start from Chiostrini lake early in the morning, when everything is still and the temperature is low. We fly over Chianti to wherever the wind takes us, for a trip that lasts between 45 minutes and an hour and a half”.

“We land on a flat grassy surface and show how the balloon in dismantled. We then offer a breakfast of typical local products. Then we toast with prosecco and give a souvenir certificate”.

“Clients come from all over the world,” he adds. “Most are from Great Britain, but many are local. Often birthdays, weddings and other festivities are occasion for a balloon ride. Enthusiasm is the main reaction”.

He gives us an explanation of the hot air balloon; “Since 1783 it has been the mother of all aeronautic and spatial sciences. The opportunity of free flight and total tranquility isn’t given by any other means of air travel. It is caused by a precise physical phenomenon. The balloon can not be maneuvered, giving the trip an air of unpredictability . It is the route that matters, not where we arrive”.

Noemi Bartalesi