Thank goodness – after a torrid summer like this one, the arrival of autumn is a relief and is the perfect time for a visit to the Bel Paese. Temperatures are still on the warm side, but the pace is more relaxed, crowds have left, and Italy’s beautiful colors start to glow again. Above all, the change of season in Italy is associated with the “vendemmia” (grape harvest), which is far more than just an agricultural event. It’s a great tradition, a ritual, and it is hard work – especially because much of it can only be done by hand. For visitors, the “vendemmia” adds another good reason for planning time in the Italian countryside. Here are some suggestions for your clients who want to dive deep into the pleasures of Italian country life and witness traditional activities. And taste the wine!
For those who are planning a trip to Tuscany during this period, we suggest a visit the Chianti region – for example with our afternoon tour Chianti Colors & Flavors. This tour starts in the heart of the Chianti vineyards, which produce some of the world’s most famed wines. The estate owners welcome visitors with “crostini toscani” appetizers (crunchy, delicious bread with locally-made toppings), olive oil, and a taste of the delicate “Vino Chianti.” Visitors also visit the cellar and learn the secrets of wine processing. Travelers then move on to Greve in Chianti, which is without doubt one of best known Italian Chianti wine villages. After a tour of the small medieval center full of artisan shops and unusual vistas, a second tasting awaits in a Chianti winery nestled into the hills.
If your clients prefer to spend an entire day discovering the Tuscan countryside and its culinary pleasures, we suggest the Life is Grape – Wine, Food, and Beauty of the Val d’Orcia tour. This day-long tour from Florence (transport by fully fitted bus from and to Florence included) is an experience of the enchanting Val d’Orcia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Travelers explore the towns of Montalcino, Pienza, San Quirico, and Montepulciano (home of the “Vino Nobile”) with guided tours, participate in two different wine tastings, and savor the famous “Pecorino” cheese.
For a private excursion dedicated entirely to the discovery of a great wine, the world-famous Brunello wine from Montalcino, you may want to recommend WeekendinItaly.com’s Discovering the Brunello di Montalcino Complete with personal, English-speaking driver and Mercedes car, this de luxe day-tour truly pays homage to the great Brunello. According to the Wine Spectator, “If you want to understand what great Italian wine is all about, buy a bottle of Brunello.” The tour includes two wine tastings and a special three-course tasting lunch at Castello Banfi.
Are your clients planning to visit Naples and the Campania region? Encourage them to do so – September and October are a very good months to explore the south of Italy. For example, travelers may be curious to discover the wines grown on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. At WeekendinItaly.com, we recommend The Mount Vesuvius DiWine Experience – a guided tour of just those vineyards. Your clients are picked up by bus in Naples, and taken up to Mount Vesuvius with its spectacular views of the bay of Naples. The stroll through the scents and flavors of the Campania Ars Vinaria (the Campania art of winemaking) is followed by a tasting lunch accompanied by some of the best wines of the region.
Moving even further south, to Sicily, we recommend the Donnafugata and Florio Wineries & Segesta tour, to discover unforgettable aspects of western Sicily. “Donnafugata” and “Florio” are certainly among the most well-known names in Sicilian wine-making. With this private day-tour from Palermo, your clients will visit both historical wineries, enjoy tastings, and lunch in Marsala. The day in western Sicily is topped off with a visit to one of the best-preserved monuments of the island, the majestic temple of Segesta (5th century BC).
Of course, visiting Italian art cities in autumn is also a fine idea. Here, too, hot summer temperatures are yielding to balmy days. In Rome, for example, after the museums, the monuments, and the art, your clients may want to join an exclusive Wine and Tasting Cheese Tour. Travelers learn how to drink and taste wines from the Lazio region. They’ll also be introduced to the differences between colors and scents, and to the area where the wines are produced – from Frascati to the hills of Cori, where the Nero Buona ripens. An inviting selection of regional cheeses, premium salami and hams, smoked fish, and a choice of hot homemade dishes complement the wine.
Should your clients be planning a trip to the north of Italy, to Milan for example, the Wine Tasting Tour is a great way to discover the countryside of Lombardy without actually going there. It is a relaxing and stimulating experience in the charming atmosphere of the Take Away Bistrot – a wine bar in the heart of Milan. The tasting introduces your client to wines from the Lombardy region around Milan. All of them are specially selected by the sommelier, and accompanied with samples of traditional cheeses and cold cuts.