Tuscany borders with Liguria and Emilia Romagna in the North, Umbria in the East and Lazio in the South. Its 397 Km long coast overlooks the Tyrrhenian Sea on the West and is home to some of the best vineyards in the region. Its capital, Florence, has been one of the greatest cultural and artistic centres in Italy and in the whole of Europe from very ancient times.
With its long history and strong cultural identity, Tuscany is sometimes considered "a nation within a nation". During the Bronze and Iron Ages (roughly 1350 – 1150 B.C.), the area was inhabited by peoples of the socalled Appennine Culture, followed by the Villanovan Culture (1100 – 700 B.C.).
City-states were formed in the late Villanovan period, before the raise of the Etruscans. This truly great civilization, which gave its name to the area – Etruria – developed between the Arno and the Tiber rivers, and in the Campania region from the 8th century B.C. It reached its peak during the 7th and 6th centuries B.C. and, by the 1st century B.C., succumbed to the Roman conquest.
Wine has been a part of Tuscany for over three millennia. The Etruscans domesticated and eventually cultivated the wild grape variety that would become today's Sangiovese. Wine production continued during the Roman times and went on flourishing over the centuries until, in 1710, the first flask of local wine crossed the Grand Duchy borders and made of Tuscany one of the main winemaking lands in the Italian peninsula. World War II devastated the region, forcing many farmers to leave the country.
As a law protecting wines was passed in the early 1960s, Vernaccia and Chianti became the first wines to receive a Designation of Origin (DOC) in Italy. The Sangiovese grapes, which originated in the hills around Siena, gave Chianti a bold and unique flavour. Such fine wines as Brunello di Montalcino and its “younger brother", Rosso di Montalcino, are 100% made from a subspecies of Sangiovese.
Starting from the 1960s, the Cabernet Sauvignon and the Cabernet Franc grapes were introduced along then Mediterranean coast as an experiment, but over time they developed into very popular varieties. Tuscan rosé wines are among the finest in this category and particularly appreciated by rosé lovers.
Another popular Tuscan wine is Vin Santo, an oxidized dessert wine traditionally served with almond bisquits, a local speciality called Cantuccini.
Typical Red Wines
Brunello di Montalcino, Rosso di Montalcino, Carmignano Rosso, Chianti, Morellino
di Scansano, Sangiovese, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.
Typical White Wines
Vin Santo, Vernaccia, Verduzzo
Typical Rosé Wines
Vin Santo Occhio di Pernice, Toscana Rosato IGT, Bolgheri Rosato DOC, Maremma
Toscana Rosé, Montecucco Rosato