Vineyard tours

Visits to wineries and vineyards of Italy, from Tuscany to Piemonte to the Veneto and more

Just travel the wine roads of Tuscany, Piemonte, or the Veneto (anywhere in Italy, really), and look for the venditta diretta ("direct sales") signs.

Peferably either bring a designated driver, or go with a group tour or private guide, so you can freely sample the wares before purchasing!

  • Tuscany vineyards (from Florence or Siena) - Sample Chianti Classico in the hills between Florence and Siena, mighty Brunello di Montalcino, and versitile Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. » more
  • Piemonte vineyards (from Turin) - The wine regions of Le Langhe and Roero around Asti and Alba are home to such mighty Italian reds as Barolo, Barbera, and Barbaresco—and, of course, Asti Spumanti, Italy's most famous sparkling white wine. » more
  • Veneto vineyards (from Venice) - The plains inland from Venice produce palate-friendly Valpolicella reds and dry prosecco sparkling whites. » more
  • Lazio vineyards (from Rome) - At the southern doorstep of Rome, the small city of Frascati and smaller towns of the Castelli Romani produce much of the house wine for Roman restaurants. » more
  • Campania vineyards (from Naples) - From the Lacryma Christi ("Tears of Christ") wines grown on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius to the whites of Irpinia in the Appenine Mountains insland, Campania offers an introduction to the wines of Italy's sunny, southern side. » more

Tips & links

Useful links & resources
Book ahead

While for some activities you can just show up, this is one travel item you really should try to reserve in advance.

Popular activities like cooking classes can sell out.

Many are available only on certain days of the week, so it pays to know that you'll have to set aside, say, Tuesday morning for that guided market walk with a local cookbook author.

Many of the best activities are available by advance booking or appointment only—particularly wineries. Some vineyards welcome walk-ins, true, but many more will give you a cellar tour and wine tasting only if you call ahead a few days (and those tend to be the ones most liberal with the free samples).

If you have your heart set on dining in a particular restaurant, go ahead and call ahead,even if it's just earlier on the same day—though a day ahead is preferable. I have found that a corrollary of Muphy's Law applies to this aspect of travel. Any restaurant I am particularly keen on but blithely assume I can just waltz into will inevitably be filled to the brim: no tables available. However, half the time when I do book a table in advance I'll end up being the only guy in the place (nor near enough for my advance booking to feel like overkill). Still, better safe than sorry. Reserving a table is quick and painless; getting turned away at the door can be crushing.

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