Most wine-loving travelers heading for Italy immediately think of Tuscany but Italy is actually home to twenty different wine regions boasting a whopping 350 varieties of grapes. There is a huge variety of wine specialties produced across the country. Here are 4 of the best wine destinations in Italy.
Many tourists visit the Veneto region in northwest Italy for its star attraction: Venice. There’s so much more to the Veneto region than that, however! Italy’s most famous sparkling wine, Prosecco, is native to this region. However, the area is also well-known for Soave, a zesty, citrusy white wine made from Garganega and Trebbiano grapes. For red wine lovers, the region’s signature Valpolicella is a must-try. It’s a red blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes that the locals adore.
While visiting the Veneto be sure to spend time in Venice exploring the canals and nearby islands. Also take a trip to Verona, best known as the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The towns of Padua and Vicenza are also worthwhile stops. Padua is home to one of the oldest universities in the world and features a lectern used by Galileo while nearby Vicenza is well known for its basilica and Palladian architecture.
The most well-known of the wine destinations in Italy is the Tuscany region in the west of the country. And perhaps the most famous wine of Tuscany is Chianti. The Chianti wine producing region is an ideal wine destination in part due to its proximity to the landmark cities of Florence and Siena. In Florence, reserve tickets to visit the Uffizi Galleries in advance to behold the world’s greatest collection of Renaissance art. Enjoy dinner and wine beneath the Duomo and be sure to visit the Accademia to see Michelangelo’s David.
A short drive to Siena is worth the trip to see what is arguably Italy’s most beautiful square. On your way, stop in Montepulciano to taste the signature Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, a bold yet smooth red wine that is surprisingly affordable.
For a wine destination slightly off the beaten track, look no further than sun-kissed Sicily. This island destination is the largest island in the Mediterranean and features over 600 miles of coastline. Here you’ll find the wine scene dominated by light citrusy white wines similar to sauvignon blanc. For reds, the signature Nero d’Avola most closely resembles a syrah and is well worth a try.
While visiting Sicily be certain to make a trip to the Valley of the Temples in Agrigento to see some of the best preserved Greek temples in the world. Also visit the port city of Palermo, which boasts a wide variety of architectural styles from the various rulers it has had over the years. The styles range from Roman to Byzantine to Arab-Norman. And of course, soak up the sun at one of Sicily’s many luxurious beach resorts.
Located in the very southeastern corner of Italy, the beautiful Puglia region is most well-known for its olive oils. Over half of the olive oil made in Italy comes from this region. Lesser known are it’s soft, easily drinkable red wines. They are produced from the Negroamaro and Primitivo grapes. While in Puglia, visit the Baroque city of Lecce. Make time as well for the small Basilicata town of Matera, known for its ancient cave dwellings now home to chic restaurants and bars.
A wine-loving traveler could spend years transversing Italy and never run out of new wines to taste. Which of these wine destinations in Italy would you visit first? You might also be interested in Five Luxury Destinations for Wine Lovers.