Timeless Florence, Tuscany wine tours, rolling hills of cypress, vineyards, and olive trees

Tuscany—the name of this stunning region evokes the most beloved Italian vacation images: softly rolling hills with olive trees and vineyards; elegantly elongated cypress trees; medieval villages, castles, and abbeys scattered over the landscape; famous food and wine; and, of course, the cradle of the Italian Renaissance, Florence.

It’s a mix of rocky cliffs and rolling hills, steep headlands and sandy beaches. Towns are nestled in the hills or stretched out along the coastline.

Tuscany is in central Italy and stretches from the Apennines to the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is home to some of the world’s most famous wines, and a wine tasting in Tuscany is a must.

The sangiovese grape is one of the most-planted varieties in the world, and in Tuscany in the Brunello area, it goes into red Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepuliciano. It is all-important in the large Chianti wine zone where Chianti Classico is made. And it is grown all along the coastal Maremma territory for making Morellino di Scansano.

Maremma is the same area that has made Tuscany famous for its red blends of international varieties called Super Tuscans. Today, though, Bolgheri wines are losing that label and becoming known for their great expressions of terroir through international grapes like cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot.

Though Tuscany is most well-known for its reds, it also makes great whites like the versatile, dry Vernaccia, produced on the outskirts of the medieval village of San Gimignano.