Tuscany is a bit like a movie star. The central Italian region has been the sensual setting for dozens of films, including Under The Tuscan Sun (2003), Stealing Beauty (1996), A Room With A View (1985) and even part of the Twilight Saga (2009).
It is always portrayed dreamily, the rolling landscape dotted with tall, thin cypresses, beautiful villas and farmhouses, and of course vines – rows and rows of vines.
This idyllic Tuscan sun warms a grape-dotted landscape on the region’s hills.
The combination of heat and, for vineyards closer to the coast, a cooling breeze from the Tyrrhenian Sea results in some impressive varieties full of bold flavours.
The father of all is the Sangiovese, which is grown on almost two thirds of the Tuscan vineyards and is used to make wines such as Chianti, Brunello and so-called Super Tuscans, where the grape is blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Frank.
Other well-known Tuscan grapes include Montepulciano and white grapes such as Trebbiano – used to make sweet Vin Santo – Vermentino and Vernaccia.
You could organize your own vineyard tour following a designated wine route, but since the region is so vast it makes more sense to base yourself in one of the more popular areas such as Florence or Montalcino or Montepulciano in the province of Siena. and let someone else show you around.
Try the full day Tuscan wine tasting, which starts in Florence from £106 per person and includes visits to two wineries, a session at a wine tasting school and an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting.
Or call Sophia Loren and drive through the vineyards in a vintage Fiat 500.
Depart in a guided convoy, stopping at a 15th-century Renaissance villa and winery for lunch and tastings (from £115 per person).
In addition to the wineries, there are many more beautiful places to discover. Medieval hill towns in Tuscany include Anghiari, with its striking ancient Campano tower, and Cortona, where you can stroll and marvel at the elegant basilica and enjoy an Aperol Spritz in the grand Piazza della Repubblica.
One of Italy’s best-preserved medieval towns, tiny San Gimignano is known as the Manhattan of Tuscany thanks to its forest of soaring spires. Start with a coffee in Piazza della Cisterna, then climb the 57-meter-high Torre Grossa and visit the Duomo.
Florence is the ideal place for a good dose of Renaissance culture. Make your way to the Uffizi Gallery, where you’ll see incredible paintings such as Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, depicting the goddess rising from a giant scallop shell, Caravaggio’s terrifying Medusa, and Titian’s Venus of Urbino.
The city’s most famous naked man, David, can be found in the Galleria dell’Accademia. Carved by Michelangelo, it stands 17 feet tall and represents the shepherd boy who slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot in the biblical story.
And don’t miss out on Tuscan cuisine – some of the region’s best dishes include bistecca alla fiorentina (tender steak cooked over charcoal), ribollita (soup made with bread, cannellini beans, and vegetables), and pappardelle al cinghiale (wild boar pasta). After all, you won’t be short of wine…
Flights from London to Florence from £50 and return flights with rooms in 25 Florence from £149pn.
Here you will find more information about Tuscany.
Three of the best Tuscan wines to taste at home
Typically produced in and around San Gimignano, this white wine is characterized by its floral notes, citrus aromas and dry, crisp quality.
Shop at collinadeiventi.com
Made from a minimum of 80 percent Sangiovese grapes (regular Chianti only requires 70 percent), this ruby red wine is full of cherry flavors and has hints of violets.
Shop at ricasoli.com
Brunello of Montalcino
Produced from Sangiovese grapes in the municipality of Montalcino, this wine is characterized by dark fruit – think black cherries and blackberries.
Buy at tenutailpoggione.it
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.