While a visit to Florence will definitely involve a spectacular array of museums, shopping and eating, there’s one thing that you can count on being present no matter where you go in the city: great wine. Indeed, with so many great restaurants and wine bars, you’re never far from a good bottle of wine in Florence, whether you’re staying in the trendy Oltrarno neighborhood, central Santa Croce or a stone’s throw from the fabled Duomo.
While there’s so much to see and do within the city, there are a number of incredible wineries that are an easy drive away from Florence and could absolutely be reached and enjoyed on a day trip. Many are actually reachable via public transport or offer shuttle services to and from the city so that you don’t have to drive. However, if you are looking for a chance to see the world famous Tuscan countryside, what better way to do it than in pursuit of some of the best wines in the world?
If you’re looking for a wine tasting that won’t take you too far outside of Florence, there’s no better place to start than with the Antinori Estates, the label behind some of the world’s most well-known Italian wines. The vineyards and wineries are located all over Italy, with the largest concentration around the Chianti region and a few within a short drive from Florence. Not all of them are open to the public, but some have a well organized program of visits and experiences that are easy to book online. The Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery is particularly noteworthy, as it is a part of the Toscana Wine Architecture association, which contains wineries that have been designed by renowned architects with a particular eye toward sustainability.
However, if you’re looking to take a quick jaunt in between your morning walk on the Arno and aperitivo in San Frediano, Tenuta Monteloro is an Antinori estate located in Fiesole, just outside of Florence.
The wonderful thing about wine tasting around Florence is that you’re nestled in the heart of the Chianti region, with all of the rolling hills and panoramic vistas that you’ve dreamt of seeing for yourself. One way to really immerse yourself in this scenery is to visit one of the towns along the Chiantigiana, the road that takes you through the entire region and runs from Florence to Siena.
If you’re looking for wineries that are an easy day trip, head to Greve in Chianti, known as the gateway to the area. Situated at the crossroads of major pilgrimage routes, the town has always held an important position in Italian civilization; as a wine producing area, it’s almost unmatched for the number of stunning vineyards that you can visit. First and foremost, Greve in Chianti is the birthplace of the explorer Giovanni di Verrazzano, who discovered the bay of New York. The Castello di Verrazzano is also a place of discovery, especially if you’re looking to navigate their famed cellars. They offer daily wine tours and visits to the wine museum, where there are scores of varieties on offer.
The town is a great base for exploring the Chianti region and a well run tourism office provides visitors with up-to-date information about transport to and from Florence, wine events and festivals in the region. There is also train and bus service from Florence, making this an easy trip via public transport that allows you to concentrate on the matter at hand: wine tasting. You can also contact some of the larger wineries directly to arrange tastings, visits and meals if you’re looking to stick around a bit longer, and many will have full or half-day experiences.
Visit Montefioralle for a tour and tasting from the family who has run the property for generations, which are available by appointment only. Though they don’t serve full meals, the experience of spending time with the family more than makes up for it. If you’re interested in a more extensive menu, Villa Calcinaia has a range of options available, all of which are paired with their notable list of Chiantis, Merlots, grappa, and even homemade vinegar. If you’d like to dedicate an entire day to the fine art of wine, visit Ruffino in Bagno a Ripoli on your way back to Florence and enjoy tours of the estate, wine tastings and pairings, or full meals in the onsite restaurant.
Heading down the Chiantigiana means taking in some of the most breathtaking views in Italy, so if you’re looking to head further south there are also plenty of wineries you can choose as a destination that will make for a fantastic day trip from Florence. The Ricasoli winery has been around for a modest one thousand years and sits just near the town of Gaiole in Chianti. While the castle and its grounds are impressive enough, they also offer a range of tours that will satisfy any visitor looking to experience nature, history and, of course, wine. Also in Gaiole in Chianti, Badia a Coltibuono—run by the Stucchi Prinetti family for six generations—offers wine tastings, tours and picnics in the countryside.
If you’re interested in sustainable wine production, look no further than Salcheto winery in Montepulciano. This family-run winery proudly claims the title of the first company in the world to have certified the carbon footprint of a bottle of wine. Visits are encouraged and the enoteca offers organic meals straight from their garden.
If you’re not afraid of a slightly longer ride and you’re an architecture buff, then you’ll want to plan to visit Rocca di Frasinello, the stunning, one-of-a-kind winery designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. Located in the Maremma region of Tuscany, they offer guided tours and wine tastings, all of which include a visit to the Etruscan Documentation center and the nearby necropolis of San Germano, which make this one of the most unique experiences you can have in Italy.
No matter how far you choose to travel or how you choose to get there, there are incredible options for wine tasting all within reach of your Florentine holiday. The only problem is deciding which one to do first! If you’re looking to stay in Tuscany, check out our Tuscany vacation rentals and more Wine Tours Itineraries in Tuscany.