Taking a trip through the Tuscan countryside, driving amongst picturesque hills, cypress trees, poppy field and sunflowers, is often on travelers’ lists of “must do’s.” But which lovely winding road to take? If you’re a wine lover, there are actually specific, designated wine roads in Tuscany that can be followed and make planning an itinerary much easier.
In Tuscany there are 14 wine roads in all, but unfortunately, it would take days, if not years, to complete them. So, where to start? Below are five of the most popular trips to take that allow for ample stopping along the way. These roads are perfect for lovers of wine, history or sightseeing: something for every taste.
Colli di Candia and Lunigiana Wine Road
This is the northernmost of all the wine roads in Tuscany. It is just north of Carrara, where the famous marble that was used for Michelangelo’s David, was quarried. This marble excavation site is still operating today and offers tours for adventurous travelers. If that’s not your thing, this road travels fairly close to the sea and the boundary of Tuscany and Liguria. If you’ve ever wanted to visit the famous five seaside towns of Cinque Terre, this wine road is a great choice, as they are not far away. These roads are also interesting because of their close proximity to the border of the Emilia-Romagna and so the food here reflects a merging of three diverse regional cuisines. As for wine, there two DOC varieties from here, Candia dei Colli Apuani and Colli di Luni, that should not be missed. For more information see the official website www.stradadelvinoms.it.
Colli di Maremma Wine Road
Contrasting the northern Colli di Candia e Lunigiana, Colli di Maremma is in the southernmost part of Tuscany. These roads are south of Grosseto at the very bottom of the region. This area is famous for its beaches and thermal hot springs, including the unforgettable Saturina. If you like outdoor adventures, this might be the trip for you. Not only are there designated thermal bath spas, but there are also free natural hot springs sprinkled throughout the area. For the wine lovers, four DOC wines come from this part of Tuscany: Ansonica, Morellino of Scansano, Parrina and Bianco of Pitigliano. Both fans of red and white will have plenty to taste and enjoy. For info please see the official website www.stradavinimaremma.it.
Colli Fiorentini Wine Road
Making the rough shape of a butterfly around Florence, these roads are some of the most traveled in Toscana. Approximately located the northeast part of Tuscany and passing through the very heart of Chianti, you will find many DOC and DOCG wines including the famous, Chianti Classico. If you’re interested in terra cotta pottery, make a stop in Impruneta, one of the most famous places for cotto in the world. For truly stunning views, taking the roads back around Florence to the north and you will reach Fiesole. This hilltop town, less than 10km from Firenze, also offers delicious food and ample history. Official website: www.chianti-collifiorentini.it.
San Gimignano Wine Road
White wine lovers, rejoice! San Gimignano is famous for it’s Vernaccia, a golden white wine, which is dry and easy to drink. Foodies will also love this road, as saffron farms dot the countryside between rows of vineyards and olive groves. The oil here should also be sampled, either plain or as part of a simple appetizer. History lovers will find the medieval town of San Gimignano – with it’s many towers – a great place to spend an afternoon. You can also indulge in great red wines as the Colli Senesi Chianti Classico (DOCG) is produced along these roads as well.
Terre di Arezzo Wine Road
This is one of the longest wine roads in Tuscany, covering around 200km in a loop. As it is so big, it allows you to cover a lot of ground, in terms of wine. You will find two DOCG varieties, Chianti and Chianti Colli Aretini as well as five DOC options including Colli Etruria Centrale, Cortona, Vinsanto of Chianti, Valdichiana and Chianti Colli Aretini Occhio di Pernice. Photographers will love this area because it is not only the typical Tuscan landscape, of olive groves and vineyards, but also tobacco fields and historic towns perched on soft hills. Don’t miss a stop in Cortona and Arezzo while touring, as they are two wonderful towns that offer a great break from driving and a chance to stretch your legs.