Shortly before heading off to Italy for a trip this past autumn, we caught an episode of Dream of Italy, on PBS, which focused on Chianti. Featured in this episode was Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm. A goat farm run by a vet from America named Nora Kravis, right in Radda in Chianti. I forget if we had already settled on Radda in Chianti as a stop at that point, but being animal lovers (and appreciators of hand-crafted cashmere wearables) there was no way we were missing an opportunity to visit Nora and her goats.
After a quick email exchange with Nora, we were set up to visit the farm for lunch and a tour.
We spent the morning of driving around the rolling hills of Chianti, and then headed to the farm for our 11.30 appointment. Just two minutes outside of town is the near-hidden dirt road that winds through the woods and releases you onto the farm.
We were greeted by Nora, and given an overview on how cashmere is made (I had no idea what goes into it), and then it was a tour of the grounds and some goat feeding action.
There’s a fantastic vacation rental in a 300 year old stone farmhouse, with sweeping views of the rolling hills of Chianti, a pool, and enough charm for a lifetime. A far cry from staying in Florence, or even Radda in Chianti.
Nora also shared her story. One of a girl from Long Island who ended up in Chianti raising goats and making hand-crafted cashmere products. There’s a book in there, I assured her.
We fed some of the hungry little goats, and then the big boys came out from the woods. One by one. We started to appreciate how many animals were a part of this situation.
Nora’s got a few poochers to help her keep this goats in line, and we saw them in action out in a big open field. Nora went to the top of the hill and called for her goats, who were up in the woods doing who knows what. My wife, mother and I stood there, hearing the various goat sounds, but not seeing any. Then off in the distance, up in the woods, we saw them bouncing around, jumping off of rocks, and making their way down to us.
And then they were upon us! Goats everywhere. Dogs barking. Nora in the middle of it like some mythical creature. It was something to see.
Nora invited us into one of the old farmhouse kitchens for lunch, where we were treated to local wine and a fantastic meal.
Salumi came from Dario Cecchini, the famous butcher of Panzano. The most famous butcher in Italy? Very possibly. I mean, he’s the only butcher in Italy whose name I know!
Ravioli was from a local restaurant in Radda in Chianti run by some friends of Nora. And we had a great big green salad, which my body was craving after some very rich meals in Tuscany.
We had a great chat over lunch, with me doing my usual job of asking a thousand questions. Nora was gracious and indulged my perhaps excessive inquisitiveness.
The afternoon wrapped up with a visit to the shop, which is filled with all sorts of cashmere products. Beautiful stuff in there. My mom and wife managed to narrow down their choices to a couple of gorgeous scarves, and then back to Radda in Chianti we went, for an espresso, and some time to reflect on what was a wonderful afternoon.
For lots more photos from our visit, please see my photography website: Click here for more photos!
Here’s the Dream of Italy episode that started it all! You’ll see Nora, and the butcher as well: