On a tour down through the exquisite countryside from Florence to Siena and Montalcino, then back up the Mediterranean coast from the Maremma to Lucca and beyond, devotees of Italian food and wine will be spoiled for choice. Carla Capalbo is our insider guide.
Tuscany is still many people’s idea of the quintessentially Italian destination. What’s not to love about cypress-lined avenues, sloping vineyards and Renaissance churches? They’ve become universal icons. And that can be the problem, too, for Tuscany succumbs at times to the throes of mass tourism.
Luckily, there are plenty of places favoured by the Tuscans themselves that are less likely to be overrun by those eager groups of foreign travellers. Our insider’s guides to the places to eat, sleep and drink (below) will take you to some of the most popular wine areas, grouped in geographical order to make it easier for you to plan your next trip.
It’s Expo season in Italy this year until the end of October, and the theme is gastronomy. And as always in Italy, with food comes wine. While the main focus of events is in the Expo village just outside Milan in the northwest, the Tuscans are also playing their part.
The Chianti Classico Consortium’s new headquarters at the beautiful convent of Santa Maria al Prato, in the medieval walled town of Radda in Chianti, is hosting a wide range of fun activities and tastings through the coming summer, including jazz evenings, pasta meals cooked by the local women, and awardwinning chefs’ dinners. All to accompany the area’s excellent Gallo Nero, or Black Roostercertified wines (www.chianticlassico.com/en/company/convento).
The wines of the Tuscany region’s two other best-known appellations – Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – will also feature heavily at Expo Milano’s wine pavilion, ‘Vino – A Taste of Italy’ (www.vino2015.com). Check the appellations’ own websites for information about their Exporelated events in Tuscany (www.consorziobrunellodimontalcino.net and www.consorziovinonobile.it).