Tuscany evokes many different thoughts and images in the minds of those who have, and have not been there. The region has been well loved, documented and featured by artists, authors and filmmakers throughout the ages. However, unless you have been there, breathed in the fragrant air, viewed the epic sunsets and tasted the richness of the local goods, you will never truly appreciate the unique essence of the region. |
Expert guides make it a point to introduce visitors to the best features found in Tuscany. Tours dedicated to the region’s wonderful and historic wine culture are an especially good way of exploring the area.
The Magic Recipe
Tuscany is the birthplace of some of the world’s most iconic wines such as Chianti, Vino Nobiles, and Brunello, to name but a few. Even today the region is one of the most prolific and famous wine producing areas in Europe. Along with the enchanting landscape of rolling hills, cypress-tree lined roads and hilltop villages, Tuscany has long been a favoured and beloved region of the Italians and visitors alike.
The local wine-making success can be attributed to the particularly appealing climate, especially that the “warm, temperate coastal areas are contrasted by inland areas (particularly those in the rolling hills for which the region is so famous), where increased diurnal temperature variation helps to maintain the grapes' balance of sugars, acidity and aromatics.” And thus greatness is born! The best ‘Wines of Tuscany’ tours generally focus on these four locations, which are arguably the most renowned wine making towns in the area.
Chianti is probably one of Italy’s most iconic vintages, with ancient origins dating back to the Middle Ages.Traditionally the wine is made from the Sangiovese grapes and benefits from the rugged Tuscan terrain and diversity of soil, which adds great personality to its taste. Today, in Tuscany, tours of the Chianti region’s hillside estates are popular among tourists for both the quality of sampling opportunities and the stunningly picturesque landscape that is impossible to escape!
Over the years, the Brunello di Montalcino – produced in the DOCG zone around Siena – has gained a greater regard for its higher quality than its counterparts from Chianti. The wines produced in the Montalcino region are generally more expensive and require longer cellaring for their true flavour to mature. Montalcino itself is a classic fairytale-esque hilltop town, fully enclosed within ancient fortified walls. The town is situated at a spectacular vantage point with 360 degree views of rolling hills, olive groves, perfect vineyards and scenic country roads.
This medieval hilltop town is one of extraordinary beauty and is found in southern Tuscany. Tours of the town itself guide visitors through elegant Renaissance palaces, charming squares, ancient churches and stunning panoramic views of the valleys around it. The surrounding countryside is covered in vineyards that produce the area’s famous Vino Nobile. Quite literally translated into “the perfect wine, of noble men”, the Nobile is once again the product of quality Sangiovese grapes combined with a perfected aging process.
Located just north of Siena, San Gimignano has an illustrious vinicultural history with winemaking traditions dating back to the Etruscan period. Today, San Gimignano holds its own DOC title and is the home of Tuscany’s only white DOCG wine called Vernaccia di San Gimignano. This particular vintage is produced from grapes planted at a particular altitude and grown in chalk soil.
These two factors, amongst others, produce the very unique personality of the Vernaccia di San Gimignano. Again, this stunning medieval hilltop town is one of the most beloved in Tuscany. Tours of the town explore the magnificent architecture and interior art while making it a point to stop and take in the vast panoramic views available around every corner.
Italy’s Treats for the Senses
There is no doubt that visitors flock to Italy for many different reasons. The country is a treasure trove of stimulation for every sense. However, for a real treat for the taste buds, the best destination is Tuscany. Tours, although they may be dedicated to wine, rarely avoid the opportunity to also sample fabulous cheeses, sweet delicacies and the freshest produce. You will find that Tuscany is truly a food and wine-lover’s tasting paradise!
Rose Magers is an Australian-born Italophile and the founder of ArtViva. With an international reputation for excellence and creativity, ArtViva are at the forefront of escorted day tours in Italy. Rose has indulged her own passion for history and the arts by designing an innovative range of exceptional small group Tuscany tours and experiences, from hiking and biking through the Tuscan countryside to unforgettable villa visits.
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