After several trips to Italy to celebrate a high school graduation, 40th birthday, honeymoon, and 50th wedding anniversary we decided it was time to visit Italy to slowly sip our way through several of its wine regions. The following wine regions are located north of Rome and can be easily accessed via the Milan airport.
The region of Lombardy borders Switzerland and is home to one of our favorite places in Italy, Lake Como. As on prior trips, we spent several nights on Lake Como and while there visited the Quadra Franciacorta winery in Cologne located between Bergamo and Brescia. The region is known for its sparkling wine and its Nebbiolo wine. According to Wine-searcher, “Lombardy is well placed to offer a wide range of wine styles, and is home to five DOCG and 20 DOC titles.”
If you are planning a trip for the purpose of tasting the wines of Lombardy you may want to consider staying in the Bergamo or Brescia area (near Lake d’Iseo) as there is a concentration of vineyards that produce excellent sparkling and Pinot Grigio wines. TripAdvisor also provides a list and rating of wineries in the Lombardy region which may be viewed in the “map” format allowing you to geographically pinpoint their locations.
Gorgeous rolling hills with vineyards extending as far as the eye can see with narrow, two lane roads connecting the villages of Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Asti, and Alba, to name just a few. Piedmont is home to outstanding food and wine in an unspoiled setting. Located in the northwestern corner of Italy, Piedmont, along with Tuscany, is among the leading regions for wine. Our home base for visiting this region is La Villa, a charming 15-room boutique hotel located in Mombaruzzo in the region of Asti. Unless you have a designated driver who is comfortable navigating the narrow roadways I would strongly advise you to hire a driver for your outings. La Villa will be able to recommend vineyards and guide services.
The following are the vineyards we visited during the Italian Food & Wine Tour in 2010: Bera, Tenute Marchesi di Gresy, Conterno Fantino, Cavallotto, Braida, Berta Grappa, Castellari Bergaglio. Additional ideas may be found at Wine-searcher and TripAdvisor.
The charming hillside villages of San Gimignano, Montepulciano, and Montalcino (to name a few) dot the landscape of this lush countryside. Warm, gracious hospitality extends from vineyard to table. A combination of the A1 highway (connecting Florence and Rome) with two lane roadways (with train service to a few villages) make this area accessible for wine lovers utilizing a car or bus for transportation. We have several favorite places to stay in this region including San Gimignano and Montepulciano neither of which have train service directly into the village (Montepulciano has a station located outside of the village). But Tuscany is a place where you want the ability to drive and explore.
The region of Umbria is Tuscany’s neighbor making it accessible for day trips to the hilltop villages of Assisi, Cortona, and others. Information on vineyards in Umbria may be found at Wine-searcher and TripAdvisor.
Home of Parma ham and parmesan cheese, Emilia-Romagna is a food lover’s delight. After our Italian Food & Wine Tour in 2010 I would like to return to stay in the village of Rubiera at Hotel Aquila d’Oro (home to the Michelin-starred Arnaldo restaurant) or in Parma. The advantage of Hotel Aquila d’Oro is its location across from the train station which would allow you to make day trips to both Parma and Bologna from this location as it is positioned in between the two cities (and even closer to Modena [of Balsamic vinegar fame] and Regio Emilia).
For more information on Italian wines check out what you can learn from an Italian wine label as well as how to select Italian wines. For assistance with planning ground transportation during your trip check out Rome2Rio.
Mary Beth I have a passion for creating and experiencing unforgettable moments and sharing those with others. I hope that this story has helped you experience one of those moments.