, Caiarossa, Poggio al Tesoro

Florence is the capital of Tuscany

History buffs, photographers of all types and lovers of fine food and wine flock here, stopping along the way in other nearby cities, such as Carrara, Pisa, Pistoia, Prato and the magnificent Siena.

Tuscany is the fifth largest region in Italy, with more than 3.5 million residents living on 23,000 square kilometres—and that’s not counting the tourists. Despite the dense population, the province is home to vast expanses dedicated to growing olives and, of course, grapes. The heat and sun create excellent conditions for producing quality wines.

Some 85,000 hectares are used for winegrowing in Tuscany, with more than half the plots bearing the badge of a DOC or DOCG. Annual wine production is 2.6 million hectolitres, of which, not surprisingly, 80% are reds. Sangiovese rules supreme here.

Tuscany continues to be Italy’s most dynamic producer of top-quality wines, contrasting with the decades of sales of Chianti in fiasco bottles wrapped in raffia baskets. In fact, Tuscany’s modern renaissance started in Chianti, in the central hills around Florence and Siena, and quickly spread all the way to the Mediterranean coast where good land was waiting to be converted into vineyards.