Italian wine (credit: Randy Yagi)
As one of the world’s premier travel destinations, Italy is known for many things, such as Roman architecture, Renaissance artwork and superb cuisine. But it’s also recognized as one of the world’s oldest wine producing countries and the world’s largest wine producer last year. While visiting the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Duomo of Florence and the Grand Canal are all must-see attractions in this fascinating European country, wine lovers might be more interested in spending more time tasting fine Italian wines and delicious local cuisine while visiting the most prominent wine regions. The following are five of the best Italian wine tours to consider while visiting Italy.
5043 San Marco
30124, Venice, Italy
Based in the magical city of Venice, Avventure Bellisime (Beautiful Adventures) offers wine tours not only from the capital of the Veneto region but also from Florence and Rome. The family-owned business founded in 1999 is known for providing quality tours at affordable prices and features both group and private tours for all three cities. Among the most popular Veneto tours is a day-long group trip through three medieval hill towns within the famous Prosecco region, and includes stops at a ancient castle and wine tasting at a popular local winery. Home to more than 550 wineries, Veneto is Italy’s third largest wine region, where celebrated wines like Merlot, Garganega and Prosecco are produced in addition to other popular varietals, such as Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
00187 Rome, Italy
+39 068 3360561
Visitors hoping to join an unforgettable wine tour while staying in Rome should contact Dark Rome above all others. By far the top-rated wine tour operator in the “Eternal City,” Dark Rome offers a number of phenomenal tours, including a half-day trip to the beautiful Frascati region and an all-day tour with a gourmet lunch to the breathtaking Val d’Orcia region of Tuscany, often portrayed in a bevy of travel brochures and digital media. Guests taking a wine tour originating in Rome typically meet their tour guides in Piazza Barberini, in the historic city center near the world-famous Trevi Fountain. A segment of City Wonders, Dark Rome also offers wine tours to other major Italian cities, such as Venice, Florence and Milan.
Italy And Wine
Corso dei Tintori, 13
50122 Florence, Italy
+39 331 8749912
Known for exceptional service and quality, Italy and Wine hosts more than 25 group and private wine tours through the picturesque Tuscany region. Led by owner and founder Vittorio Del Bono, the Florence-based tour operator leads visitors to legendary wine destinations like Chianti, San Gimignano and Montalcino. Among the featured small group tours is an all day-wine tour to Chianti, best known for its red wines made from Sangiovese grapes and San Gimignano for its white wines from Vernaccia grapes, in addition to Tuscan dining at a local restaurant, wine tasting and transportation. Tours are available from the historic city of Florence as well as the equally fascinating and must-see Tuscan city of Siena, about 45 miles south.
Via Degli Alpini 6
14019 Villanova d’Asti, Italy
+39 0141 948467
Wine aficionados visiting Italy’s wine regions will likely include Piedmont (Foot of the Mountain) on their itinerary. Located in the northwestern portion of Italy at the base of the majestic Alps, Piedmont produces more wine and makes the largest percent of fine wines of any region in the county. Among the best tour operators are based in this prestigious wine region is Tasting Tours, led by Silvia Aprato, a certified sommelier and Piedmont native. Featured tours include a private, all-day tour with stops at three wineries that produce Barolo, one of Italy’s most revered wines made from the fabled Nebbiolo grape and a private, two-day tour for wine lovers seeking the ultimate tour package. Other acclaimed wines produced in Piedmont are Asti Spumante, made from Moscato grapes and Barbaresco, also a product of the Nebbiolo grape varietal. The Piedmont region is also recognized around the world as a major producer of the valuable and widely coveted white truffles.
Via Vinegia 23r
50122 Florence, Italy
Walkabout Florence is another top-rated tour operator that provides exceptional tours of the fabulous Tuscany wine region. The recommended tour from the city’s best provider is the hugely popular Best of Tuscany Tour, which features stops in Siena, San Gimignano, Pisa and a Tuscan lunch at a prized Chianti vineyard. Other notable tours are a Chianti Wine and Food Safari, which includes transport in a customized 4WD vehicle and a full day tour of the Chianti Classico wine region and an evening Wine and Dine tour of Florence. Walkabout Florence is TripAdvisor’s top rated food and drink tour in Florence, with a perfect rating from more than 4,800 past customers.
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he received a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com