My Ultimate Solo Travel Guide to Exploring Tuscan Wine in Florence
Swirl, sniff, and sip! Wine tasting in Florence, Italy, is mandatory. Whether you are an oenophile or not, you cannot commit the sin of skipping to sip the best Tuscan wine in Florence. The Tuscan wine craze is real, just like the craze for Michelangelo’s David.
Specifically, after experiencing it first-hand, I recommend everyone to include wine tasting in their Florence itinerary. No kidding, even if you are in Florence for two days, you should slot a time for wine tasting. Otherwise, you will miss out on an integral cultural part of Tuscan’s capital that is ageing like a fine wine.
In fact, many travellers visit Florence with the sole intention of exploring the rolling hills filled with vineyards. So, if you are on one such trip (or not), this ultimate guide will bombard you with knowledge about Tuscan wine, the best time to taste it, and the unique ways to experience Tuscan wine in Florence.
First – Learn About the Tuscan Wine
Before you jump in to explore the best Tuscan wine in Florence, are you up for a backstory of how wine became a big part of Florentine culture?
Before my solo travel to Florence, I delved deep into the connection between wine and Florence. One thing I can say for sure is that experiencing it piqued my interest more. Plus, it gives an insight into what to expect on your Tuscan wine hunt in Florence.
From scenic wine regions to local wineries, Florence and its surroundings have it all. The history of wine is as old as Florence itself. It all started back in the ancient days, and by the Renaissance, Tuscan wine gained popularity.
So much so that wine became a tradition in Florence, and ever since then, the graph of Tuscan wine has only gone upwards.
Add to that, Florence is also the native home of Sangiovese grapes. It is the most popular grape variety in Italy for red wine. Cultivated extensively in the Cradle of Renaissance, you are bound to encounter Sangiovese vineyards on any of your wine tours in Florence.
Types of Tuscan Wine
With this brief intro of the past, let’s talk about the deal you’re here for – Tuscan wine. Needless to say, with uncountable vineyards and a countryside location, Florence produces some of the finest wine in the world.
Out of all, the three that will swirl your taste buds are Chianti Classico, the Biondi Santi Brunello di Montalcino, and Salcheto Salco of the Nobile di Montepulciano.
Best Time to Taste Tuscan Wine in Florence
The best time/season to taste Tuscan wine in Florence, Italy, is the shoulder season. Specifically, late spring (the months of April and May) and early fall (the months of September, mid, and October).
If you are in Florence during the shoulder season, you’ll have two advantages. First, relief from the crowd (except during Easter time). Second, in late spring, you will witness the wineries in its full bloom avatar.
And, in early fall, you will witness the grape harvest season (my favourite). You can even partake in a grape harvesting session on your wineries tour. You get to pick and crush, just like shown in the movies. And, of course, sip on some later in the day. These experiences make wine tasting in Florence much more memorable.
And, if you are in Florence in the summer months, do not be disheartened. You can taste Tuscan wine all year round. Moreover, if you are not a red wine fan, summers are great for sipping white and rose wine in Florence.
Unique Ways to Taste Tuscan Wine in Florence
Now, with all that knowledge, it is time to give you a roadmap of where to and how to taste Tuscan wine in Florence. Is it only in wineries in the countryside of Florence? No, it is not.
The cradle of the Renaissance is well-fabricated with wineries and wine windows to give you a taste of some of the best Tuscan wines in Florence.
Taste Tuscan Wine from the Wine Windows
Buchette del vino, or wine windows, is a Florentine discovery. These cute little openings on the walls of aristocrats’ houses are used to sell wine directly from their vineyards to the locals tax-free.
Although they were out of use in the middle, the Renaissance of wine windows in Florence took place amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. So, now, when you are in Florence, you must knock on these little windows to get a bottle of Tuscan wine.
It is a unique way to experience the tradition and taste the wine. Some wine windows still sell Tuscan wine from the Renaissance time. You can spot these wine windows in the historic centre of Florence and the Oltrarno neighbourhood.
Some of the currently functioning wine windows in Florence are Babae in Santo Spirito, Osteria Belle Donne, Il Latini, Cantina dei Pucci, and Fishmood Modalita Pesce (if talks are to be believed, Leonardo da Vinci used to buy wines from here). If you are unsure about spotting these by yourself, ask the staff or host of your hostel in Florence to guide you.
Local Wine Bars in Florence
Without a glass or two of Tuscan wine, a day in Florence remains incomplete. And for that, you do not have to travel far. Local wine bars are the perfect place to sip some wine and call it a day. Like coffee shops in Florence, local wine bars are also popular among both travellers and locals.
That said, here are the top wine bars in Florence to taste Tuscan wine:
Vineria Sonora is a true gem when it comes to wine bars in Florence. What makes it stand out is that the bar is close to the city centre but away from the tourist crowds. The place has a vibe of its own with inexpensive Tuscan wine and food. You can also carry a takeaway bottle for memories back to your home.
Casa del Vino
Run by a friendly couple, this wine bar in the San Lorenzo area is cosy and casual. If you happen to stop by this hidden wine bar, do a test and taste their sandwich along with wine. However, do not expect to sit down. The place is really tiny.
One of the best wine bars in the centre of Florence is Procacci. Great for panini bites (especially the truffle and salmon) and obviously the Tuscan wines. Step inside and take a break from all the walking!
Le Volpi e L’Uva
Close to Ponte Vecchio, Le Volpi e L’Uva is a wonderful wine bar. Their Tuscany wine selection by the glass is sure to blow you away. Plus, they do not burn a hole in your pocket. Ask for their recommendation, and you’ll be sorted. And, do pair your glass of wine with their Italian cheese board and cold meat platter.
Take a Day Trip from Florence to Taste the Finest Wines of the World
Florence is not far from the Tuscany wine region. So, if you want a first-hand taste of the best Tuscan wine in Florence, take a day trip from the city to the vineyards.
Without a second thought, Chianti is the best wine region in Florence, Italy. With numerous wineries (distributed all over the 6-sub regions) and panoramic beauty, it is the best place to explore Tuscan wine.
Castello Monterinaldi, Montefioralle Winery, and Enoteca Falorni are must-visit wineries in the Chianti region.
Montalcino is another region worth exploring for Tuscan wine in Florence. Take a day trip to the town in the province of Siena and head to the winery – Biondi Santi. And do you know what is a must after visiting Biondi Santi? A glass of Brunello.
It is here where Burnello was made for the first time. One of the most aged (minimum two years in barrel) and expensive red wines, Brunello is the best version of the Sangiovese grape. For the tasting, you can even ask them for older bottles.
While exploring Tuscan wine in Florence, another must-visit day trip is to Montepulciano. Although this hilltop location is a bit far from Florence, you might require two days to explore the place properly. Known for its widely popular Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, visit the Salcheto winery.
Besides tasting Tuscan wine, you can also enjoy lunch while soaking in the picturesque scenery. And if you fall in love with this winery (like I did), do not worry! They even have rooms to stay the night.
Popular Wine Tours in Florence
If you’re short on time or don’t have a proper itinerary for a wine tour in Florence, opting for the guided tour is the best thing to do. They curate everything on a platter for you. To make it easier for you to select, I have compiled a list of the best wine tours in Florence with their prices below:
- Tuscany Wine and Food Tour From Florence – €149
- Tuscany Wine Tasting Full Day Trip – €120
- Wine Tasting On Vintage Fiat – €199
- Wine And Dinner In Chianti Vineyards – €92.65
- Vespa Full Day Trip To Chianti – €149
Tips to Follow While Exploring Tuscan Wine in Florence
- Learn some basic Italian wine-related words to keep up with the guided or self-led wine tours.
- If you are visiting multiple wineries in a day, do not overindulge. Remember, safety is your number one priority on a solo trip.
- Check for a wine festival in Florence to taste a diverse range of wines in a single place.
- Lastly, do purchase a bottle of Tuscan wine as a souvenir.
With art, museums, history, food, and now Tuscan wine, Florence knows how to entertain its visitors. And exploring Tuscan wine will add a different flavour to your solo trip to Florence. It will complete your Florence trip as a whole. So what are you waiting for? Grab your backpack and explore Florence!
An introverted blogger who is looking to make unforgettable solo travel memories with one short life.