The 13 Best Wine Regions In Italy to Visit
When many people think of Italy they think of the food; heaped bowls of pasta, great slices of pizza and deliciously light scoops of gelato. But the country is also famous for the thousands of vineyards found in many of its regions which produce hundreds of famous varieties of wine, from the bold Chianti Classico the unique sparkling Franciacorta.
One of the most popular ways to explore Italy is with a tour of its vineyards and wineries, giving you the chance to experience the signature flavours of the country as well as its incredible landscapes and scenery. But with such a huge range of top wine regions, choosing exactly which area to visit can seem like an impossible task.
Luckily, we’ve put our expert knowledge of Italy to good use and put together a guide of the best wine regions to visit across the country. From well-known provinces to hidden gems, here are our top picks of some of the finest Italian wine regions.
Sicily has the most vineyards of any other region in Italy, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the best places to visit for wine. The island enjoys a Mediterranean climate along with incredibly fertile soil that is perfect for growing grapes, and is known for producing some of the best wine in the whole country.
The origins of winemaking in Sicily are ancient, and the same techniques have been passed down through generations and are still used across the island’s wineries to produce classic varieties such as the ‘Marsala’ which is a sweet, fortified wine frequently used in cooking. If you’re visiting Sicily’s vineyards, the rich red Nero d’Avola comes highly recommended, as do several dry white wines produced from grapes that are grown in Mount Etna’s rich, volcanic soil.
For an unforgettable experience of Sicily’s viticulture, our ‘8-Day Wines and Foods of Sicily’ tour takes you around this beautiful island with plenty of excursions to famous vineyards for tasting experiences that are perfectly paired with local cuisine.
Veneto is one of the largest wine regions in Italy, responsible for producing a diverse variety of flavours and styles of this popular drink. The size of this region means that the weather varies across its different areas, and it is thanks to these microclimates that Veneto is known for producing such a range of world-class wines.
Valpolicella in Veneto is home to the unique, rich and complex Amarone red wine that gives this part of the country its reputation as one of the best Italian wine regions. The famous Soave wine area is also found in Veneto, which produces one of Italy’s most popular white wines made from Garganega grapes.
When it comes to Italian wine, the Piedmont region has an exceptional reputation for producing the best wine in Italy. Found at the foot of the Italian Alps, this region has a unique climate characterised by the fog that fills the valleys and mountains and produces the perfect growing conditions for the famous Nebbiolo grapes.
Piedmont is the best wine region in northern Italy for red wine fans, as it is home to both the velvety Barolo and Barbaresco varieties. Barolo in particular is known as ‘the King of Wines’ and goes perfectly with the traditional flavours of this region such as truffles and braised meat.
If you’re a fan of fine Italian flavours then you may already be acquainted with the Emilia-Romagna region of the country, located in the north beside the Apennine mountains. The wonderful climate and fertile soil found here are not only good for growing exceptional food; they’re also the reason why this destination is known as one of the best wine regions in Italy, producing varieties that pair with every local ingredient.
Over 55,000 hectares of vineyards can be found in Emilia-Romagna, with winemaking in this region being traced back to the ancient Etruscans. The most notable wine from this region is the fruity, sparkling red wine known as Lambrusco, but there are plenty of other noteworthy varieties to enjoy alongside some of the dishes that Emilia-Romagna is best known for.
Tuscany is a region that is famed for having some of the best vineyards in Italy, found in the picturesque countryside that is dotted with Renaissance towns and villages. Viticulture has been around in this region since the 8th century B.C, making it one of the oldest Italian wine countries that is always a popular choice for visitors who want to tour vineyards and wineries during their holiday.
Sangiovese grapes are grown in Tuscany, producing the famous Chianti red wine. This distinctive variety is one of the most popular wines in Italy and is shipped all over the world to be enjoyed by connoisseurs of the drink.
One of our outstanding wine tour options is the ‘8 Day Tuscany for Wine Lovers’ experience, which takes you around some of the top Italian wineries for exclusive wine-tasting sessions and vineyard tours. We also offer a ‘Wine & Food Tour of Tuscany from Rome’ which combines classic sightseeing trips with delicious dining experiences and plenty of local wine tasting.
Umbria is a small region in the centre of Italy known as the country’s ‘green heart’ because of its lush landscape and rolling hills that are covered with vineyard terraces. Found between Marche, Lazio, and Tuscany, this is a lesser-known wine region that is one of Italy’s best-kept secrets and is an excellent option for wine-lovers who want to visit a region that has not yet been overtaken by tourism.
The most famous wine produced in Umbria is the sweet, white ‘Orvieto’ that has been enjoyed by locals and global experts for over 2000 years. Montefalco Rosso and Montefalco Sagrantino are two of the region’s best red wines and can be perfectly enjoyed either on their own or with traditional local cuisine.
Sardinia has long been a popular Italian holiday destination because of its beaches, but it is also one of the best parts of the country to visit for wine tasting. The Mediterranean climate of the island produces a wonderful array of wines that are most similar to Spanish varieties, with both signature reds and whites coming from the region’s vineyards.
Since ancient times, it has been a tradition in Sardinia for almost everyone to make their own wine from home-grown grapes, so expect to find many small vineyards in unexpected places as well as surrounding larger wineries. Notable varieties from this area include the signature red Cannonau, made from classic Grenache grapes, and the popular white Vermentino wine which is known for having an acidic edge reminiscent of the sea itself.
The Prosecco region of Italy is actually found within the Veneto area close to Venice and Verona, but is a notable location in itself because of the signature sparkling wine that is produced here. To be classed as ‘Prosecco’, at least 85% of the drink must be made using the Glera grape that is grown in this region, and several others in other parts of the country.
Despite the popularity of prosecco across the world, this Italian wine region is not visited that frequently by those on vineyard or tasting tours. Not only is this an incredibly beautiful part of Italy, but it is also home to some of the finest producers of prosecco that will totally redefine your experiences of the drink.
Puglia, also known as Apulia, is a long and narrow region of Italy that stretches from north to south and experiences a range of climates that are perfect for growing a large variety of grapes. One of the biggest percentages of Italian wine is produced in Puglia thanks to its rich soil and the diversity of weather conditions spread over the area, and it’s an incredibly beautiful part of the country that is populated with many charming wineries and vineyards.
Whilst there are several excellent white wine varieties produced in the Puglia region, it’s the reds which really stand out. Primitivo, Negroamaro, Malvasia Nera and Uva di Troia grapes are all grown here and produce delicious and full-bodied red wines that are best enjoyed with meat and cheese dishes served in the region’s beautiful countryside.
Trentino-Alto Adige is the northernmost wine region in Italy, found on the country’s border with Austria. Made up of two provinces – Trentino and Alto Adige – the geography of this area is mountainous and the climate is surprisingly warm, leading to the growth of grapes that produce rich and ripe tasting wines.
A notable feature of the Trentino-Alto Adige region is that it is the only part of Italy whose planted areas have increased in the last 25 years. The increase in demand is shown in the region’s production of many traditional wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Bianco, although several unique varieties such as the Vino Santo come from the Valle dei Laghi in Trentino.
The northern region of Lombardy is a landlocked part of Italy surrounded by other famous wine-producing provinces, and is yet another example of an area blessed with a range of microclimates perfect for growing a variety of grapes.
Some of the best sparkling wine in Italy comes from Lombardy, the most notable variety being Franciacorta which is often thought of as an Italian take on Champagne. If you’re visiting Lombardy then this is the number one wine you must try at least once, as the variety is very hard to find outside of Italy and so best enjoyed directly in its home region.
Lazio is perhaps best known for being the region that is home to Italy’s capital city of Rome, but is also a notable wine country that has received great acclaim for its white wines in particular. Vineyards are plentiful in this area because of the acidic, volcanic soil that is particularly suited for producing huge crops of white grapes, along with the cool climate provided by the proximity of the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Although Lazio is not as well-known for its wine as other parts of Italy, it is still an excellent destination for tastings and vineyard tours. Notable varieties from this region include ‘Frascati’ and the memorably named ‘Est! Est!! Est!!! Di Montefiascone DOC’ which gets its title from a 12th-century legend about a delicious type of wine from Montefiascone.
Another of Italy’s oldest wine regions is Campania, found on the ‘shin’ of the country’s boot and responsible for about 3% of all Italian wine. Vineyards are plentiful here because of the area’s long hot summers, mild winters and the pleasant coastal breeze which provides a climate particularly suited to white grape varieties.
Many of the vines found in Campania are only grown in a handful of other places on earth, making it an incredibly valuable Italian wine region. One of these varieties is Aglianico, used in Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno wine and said to have been introduced to the area by the ancient Greeks.
If you’d like to experience a bespoke wine tour to some of the finest regions in Italy, contact us and find out more about how we can arrange your perfect Italian vacation.