20 Best Wine Regions in Italy to Visit

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Trentino, One of the Best Wine Regions in Italy

Known for the production of some of the finest wines in the world, Italy has more than 1.5 million acres of vineyards. That’s right, 1.5 million. Can you believe that? You should! These vineyards produce exceptional quality wine.

If you’re a fan, you’re in the right place: follow your nose through vitality and stop for a glass of classic wine. There are several wine tours in Italy… and that’s just scratching the surface.

A rich heritage that extends 2,000 years… Italy’s division into 20 specific wine regions… We’d say Italians are international experts. Pair that with their 250+ varietal wines, and wine lovers are in for a treat upon visiting the Mediterranean peninsula.

No matter where you go, you’ll encounter Italian wines—besides history, it’s the one thing that remains constant: vino. Let us take you on a virtual tour of the many Italian wine cities and become steeped in their lush histories. Read on for more information.

Map of Italian Wine Regions

Map of Italian Wine Regions
Italian Wine Regions Map

This wine map of Italy will help you discern the differences between each location and get a feel of where each region is.

Best Wine Regions in Italy

Wine regions in Italy – a virtual tour.

If you’re ready to swim in a glass, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive in!

1. Calabria

Aerial View of Land in Calabria Italy

Located between the Tyrrhenian Sea in Southern Italy and the Ionian, Calabria is a stunner. It’s seen various viticultural influences over the past several centuries, beginning with the Greeks, who established vineyards here. This area is also known for the production of olives and citrus.

Calabria is one of Italy’s best wine regions to visit, partly because it’s the country’s least visited region. Add it to your itinerary—not only will it be less crowded at the wineries you visit, but it’s a culinary gem.

This Italian wine region also boasts a special perk. Its contrasting weather and temperature create flavors different from one vineyard to another. Why not try them all?

2. Abruzzo

Abruzzo Region Scenery
e55evu / Adobe Stock

In central Italy, Abruzzo boasts some of the most beautiful vineyards in the country. There’s no question about why. As a mountainous yet sea-adjacent region, this tourist destination is known for its beautiful beaches and spectacular hiking trails.

Here in Abruzzo, the history of wine is long: winemaking was introduced in the area in the 6th century BC and has grown over the last fifty years. As such, the winemaking practice has been employed by generations of experts and entrepreneurs who drive the improvement of the wine they make.

The region is known, in particular, for its classic Montepulciano: a red wine grape. It produces medium-bodied wine with gentle tannins, approachable fruit flavors, and subtle earthy notes.

See Related: Things to Do in Venice, Italy

3. Tuscany

Aerial view of golden Tuscan countryside with rolling hills and cypress trees
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

The reigning, most prolific region of Italian wine culture, a true fan cannot skip Tuscany. Located amidst endless rolling hills and over cobbled country roads, this picturesque destination is understandably famous for its outstanding wine and dining scene. Here, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy some Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino.

Tuscany actually boasts its subcategory blends of wine called “Super Tuscans”, which are some of the most famous red wines in the world. These include combinations of local Sangiovese and non-indigenous grapes, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Such wines include: Tignanello, Masseto, Solaia, and Sassicaia.

See Related: Tours in Italy: Food, Walking & Bike Tours

4. Emilia-Romagna

Plaza in Emilia-Romagna Region
ermess / Adobe Stock

Emilia-Romagna has over 55,000 hectares of fertile vineyards, which produce and have been producing some of the best wines in the country for years. Etruscans originally inhabited it and were then taken over by Romans. Walking the streets, you’ll experience the past within the very flavor of your wine.

This region boasts exceptional variety in its wines, but it’s also a great place to try a sparkling Lambrusco or Sangiovese. Here, Lambrusco is a famous wine that’s actually a bit difficult to come by; a sparkling red wine served chilled, it’s delicious.

5. Lazio

Rural Countryside in Lazio Italy

Italy’s Lazio region is renowned for its beaches, as well as its fertile, nutrient-rich volcanic soils that provide the perfect conditions for cultivating Italian grapes. These unique soils give the grapes an exceptional balance of acidity, resulting in wines with distinctive flavors and characteristics.

On top of Lazio’s winemakers’ exceptional craftsmanship and dedication, the region itself is lovely. A refreshing sea breeze creates a pleasant microclimate. You’ll enjoy not only temperate weather but also enhanced wine quality.

See Related: Tantalizing Types of Traditional Italian Food To Try

6. Lombardy

Views of Churches in Lombardy Italy

Lombardy, a landlocked wine region, still has bodies of water to call its own. Its grand lakes, both sizable and beautiful, provide a great environment for vines growing off their shores.

With a more temperate climate in its vineyard zones, Lombardy sits between the Po Basin and the Alps, leading to a huge array of mesh climates. What’s more, it’s populated: with more than 300 museums across the territory, you can easily take a guided food and wine tour.

This area hides the impeccable Oltrepò Pavese, otherwise known as one of the most traditional wine zones in Lombardy. Here, they produce excellent Pinot Nero (what they call Pinot Noir), Pinot Bianco, and Pinot Blanc. Likewise, its sparkling Franciacorta (produced using the same grapes as champagne), red Valtellina, and Pinot Grigio take the flavor to the next level.

See Related: German Wine: History & Different Types

7. Puglia

Puglia Region Aerial View
eunikas / Adobe Stock

Puglia, or Apulia to Italians, showcases highly diverse climate and soil conditions when compared to its northern counterparts. Divided in three different areas, this region is known for its nature, its beaches, and is a great place to visit during peak tourism in Italy.

The capital of Puglia, Bari, has everything to offer, including an introduction to one of Italy’s tastiest wine regions. Here, they boast plenty of flavors, and locals recommend the Impigno, a seaside-appropriate salmon-hued rosé, or a Negroamaro.

8. Molise

Village in Molise Region
Giambattista / Adobe Stock

Molise is Italy’s best-kept secret. A newcomer to independence, it’s Italy’s youngest and second-smallest wine region. As a result, the people of Molise have worked in recent years to build both its wine prominence and its populace, as it’s still an underpopulated region.

There’s much to be found here, though. Molise produces a unique soil combination favorable for grapes’ growth.

This is thanks to its diverse geography and climate. Their exceptional wines are garnering attention, and by our prediction, will soon be a thriving, must-see wine region.

See Related: Italy vs France

9. Sicily

Coastal Shoreline in Sicily Italy

Sicily is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea and, tangentially, one of the most wonderful wine regions in the country. For over 2,000 years, it’s enjoyed a strong reputation as an epicenter of the wine culture. This, of course, has something to do with the many activities in Sicily that will pair nicely with your wine tours, but there’s more to it than that.

The climate is ideal for grape production, with adequate sunshine and moderate rainfall. Core Sicilian wines rely on this.

It creates delicious Marsala, dry white wine, and Zibibbo. Zibibbo is a fragrant sweet wine produced on the Sicilian island of Pantelleria.

Even if these grapes ferment in the sun, Sicilian wine is still delicious. It results in a Marsala-style beverage with similar characteristics but with lower alcohol content.

See Related: Milan Travel Guide

10. Marche

Marche Region, Italy
ronnybas / Adobe Stock

Located on the eastern side of central Italy, Marche covers over 25,000 hectares. It’s one of the twenty regions of Italy, yet among the least known, despite its production of more than 2 million hectoliters of wine each year.

Marche showcases over a thousand years of winemaking history. It was been influenced by the Romans, Lombards, and Etruscans. This results in the birth of a wine culture that covers the breadth of vinicultural tradition and variety in wine styles… all of which you should try!

See Related: Things to Do in Naples, Italy

11. Valle d’Aosta

Town in Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Franklyn / Adobe Stock

Valle d’Aosta, or Aosta Valley, is the smallest wine region in Italy, surrounded by hills in the Northwest. This area sits on the borders of both Switzerland and France.

Here, you can guarantee a variety in wines during your stay. Its most popular wines reflect its multicultural nearness.

A significant part of this region is used for viticulture. It receives the best temperature variation: hot during the day and cold at night. This allows the local vignerons to use the proper techniques to create a flavorful and definitively unique wine.

See Related: Ultimate Guide to Living in Italy

12. Basilicata

Basilicata Region Aerial View
stevanzz / Adobe Stock

Located in the southern region of Italy, Basilicata is known for its unique Greek viticultural heritage. The Greeks first introduced vineyards in this region, and today, it still enjoys the Balkan breeze and ample sunshine, which initially inspired the first vignerons to live here.

Its climate and culture make for delicious cuisine that pairs well with any wine you try in the area. If you ask us, the best way to spend your time in Basilicata is to explore its stunning parks with a glass of region-specific Aglianico or Malvasia.

See Related: How Much is a Trip to Italy?

13. Campania

View of Positano in Campania Italy

Campania is known for growing the finest Italian varietals. That includes a large bunch that doesn’t grow anywhere else on Earth! On top of that, its oldest wine zones feature grapes that grow on volcanic soil, and thereby produce more distinctive flavor.

Notably popular for its beautiful landscapes and climate, Campania is surrounded by hills. Despite its serenity and delicious regionally-produced wine, not many are aware of all this region offers. If you want a taste, drink traditional Italian Taurasi during your visit.

14. Liguria

Town in Linguria Region
Anton / Adobe Stock

A stunning coastal region, Liguria is bordered by France and flanked by Tuscany along the Mediterranean coast. Separated into two by the Riviera, it isn’t easy to grow grapes here; still, many vineyards are managed by artisanal producers who grow their grapes on terraces.

Much of Liguria’s appeal is that some places can only be reached by boat, and all are entirely cultivated by hand. Seafood plays a prominent role in the local diet here, and you’ll find such meals pair well with Liguria’s Vermentino and spicy Rossesse.

See Related: Italy vs Greece

15. Friuli-Venezia Giulia

Undine Town in riuli-Venezia Giulia Region
mariodebat / Adobe Stock

Friuli-Venezia Giulia is acclaimed for the efforts of a group of small-scale producers working with local grape varieties. As a result, wines produced in this region are praised across Italy—you’ll find only the finest quality here.

On top of its local delicacies, winemakers in Friuli-Venezia Giulia experiment with international varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and more. It’s a culturally diverse area, reflected in its food and wine. With rich, dry flavors, you can taste the grape in a way that differentiates itself.

Friuli also produces high-quality sparkling wine using the famous Charmat method. You can experience it in person.

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16. Piedmont

Vineyard in Piedmont Italy

Renowned globally for its tannic red wines, Piedmont offers a truly unparalleled experience for wine enthusiasts. With its strategic positioning in the heart of the country’s finest wine zones, this captivating region boasts an abundance of picturesque villages and charming towns that will leave you spellbound.

Piedmont has earned a well-deserved reputation as a mecca for wine lovers, and while here, you’d do well not to overlook the region’s hidden gem: sparkling white Moscato d’Asti. This delightful wine is a testament to the winemaking excellence that defines Piedmont!

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17. Sardinia

View of Castle on Hill in Sardinia

Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, proffers a unique Italian wine region—one that’s actually similar to that of Spain, which can be seen in the varieties that grow here. It’s island status and climate produce tasteful wines that largely pair well with fruit, like Moscato Bianco or Grenache.

Looking for a red wine wine that offers 100% Sangiovese grapes? Try Sardinia’s “Brunelloica di Sardegna” for its flavor and cheerful character.

18. Trentino-Alto Adige

Vineyard in Trentino Italy

Trentino-Alto Adige has grown immensely popular in the last century due to its local Schiava and Lagrein varieties. All wines produced in this region bear its hallmark, which has a political and cultural past as complex and dramatic as the climate and geography.

Modern wine-making techniques prevail in Trentino-Alto Adige. It’s also the only wine region in Italy that has increased its planted area in the last two decades. This results in more wine—renowned for its fruitiness—and more visitors.

You can also come here to try international varieties of white wines, like Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and Pinot Bianco.

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19. Umbria

Vineyard in Umbria on a Lake

Ideally located in the heart of the Italian wine region, Umbria is surrounded by Marche, Lazio, and Tuscany. This is a popular spot to stay for wine lovers, as you can explore some of the most famous wine regions in a short period.

Still, you don’t have to leave Umbria for wine; albeit less popular than many of its neighbors regarding grape yield, it’s still known for top-quality red wine produced from varietals like Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Something unique you can try in the area is barrel-fermented Chardonnay. It’s flavorful and special, even to sip. Talk to your guides, those introducing you to each glass, and learn how the process works!

See Related: What’s It Like Living in Italy?

20. Veneto

Veneto Region Sunset Scenery
Olena Zn / Adobe Stock

As one of Italy’s most notable wine regions, Veneto has an impressive variety of red and white wines, as well as countless tours that will teach you about the winemaking process. A wine tour is one of the best experiences you can indulge in while here because not only do you enjoy a refreshing beverage with incomparable flavor, but you’ll learn the complex histories and journeys of the many wineries you visit.

Veneto is certainly among the best places to visit in Northern Italy, and not only because of its wine variety; however, if you’re looking for tips, we recommend Soave, Prosecco, or Recioto while in the area.

See Related: Burgundy Wine Tour Itinerary: How to Plan the Perfect Trip

Different Wine Styles Produced in Italy

Old Wine Cellar and Barrels in Italy

The soil, climate, altitude, and grape varietals in each region produce various wines with distinct characteristics. For instance, the famous wines from Chianti, well-known in Tuscany, highlight the finest qualities of its tasty grapes for red wine. Tuscany’s wines typically have fruitier profiles than Piedmont’s, while wine from Puglia is richer than Sicily’s. Get the picture?

This doesn’t make one better than the other but differentiates them; these flavors from diverse countrywide vineyards are distinctive yet pleasant as they provide a real taste of their origins.

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Classifications in Italy’s Wine Regions

San Gimignano town village in Tuscany during day and wine store with many packaged bottles of local drink called Vernaccia and Chianti
Kristina Blokhin / Adobe Stock

Sparkling wines, white wines, red wines, oh my! When you’ve explored the varietals of high-quality table wines and sparkling and sweet Moscato, you’ve tried it all. Still, there are plenty more classifications in Italy’s wine regions, not just by flavor. Some Italian wines have official marks on their necks, containing the following letters: DOC or DOCG.

These labels are used as part of the Italian appellation system. This system was launched in 1963 with the express purpose of categorizing Italian wines. The following terminology is essential to know before you sample and tour any wine regions mentioned herein.

  • DOP or PDO:Denominazione di origine protetta,” or “Protected Designation of Origin,” which includes the following types of wines:
    • DOC wines: “Denominazione di origine controllata,” classification, or a requirement that this DOC wine is produced in a specific region and reaches a pre-ordained quality standard.
    • DOCG wines:“Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita,” or “Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin.” Similar to the above, but more stringent than DOC wines.
  • IGT wines: “Indicazione Geografica Tipica,” or “Typical Geographic Indication,” illustrates that the wine is still from a particular area, even if it’s not a DOCG.
  • Vino da Tavola (VdT): If wine is listed without an indication of its geographic origins, it’s typically considered “Vino da Tavola,” or VdT: which translates to which means “table wine.” These are generic wines of average quality and likely aren’t exported to the States.

What’s the Difference Between DOC and DOCG Wines?

Italy takes one of its main export very seriously; there are still only 77 DOCGs produced across Italy, largely from Tuscany and Veneto. Conversely, there are approximately 330 DOC wines produced in the country. A DOCG wine has stringent quality controls in place that make it high-end.

All wines undergo analysis and testing by a government-approved panel. Those bottled under this label require their status illustrated on the neck: pink for red, green for white.

Popular DOCs

  • Prosecco
  • Bardolino
  • Montepulciano d’Abruzzo

Popular DOCGs

  • Barbaresco
  • Montefalco Sagrantino
  • Fiano D’Avellino

Most Popular Italian Grape Varieties

Ready for a big-time grape-down—oops! I mean, breakdown—of the top grape varieties in Italy? From the immensely popular Montepulciano grape to the famous Nebbiolo, plenty of flavors can be found here. Check out the table below for a more comprehensive list:

Top 7 Italian Grape Varieties
Red Grapes White Grapes
Sangiovese Pinot Grigio
Montepulciano Glera
Merlot Trebbiano
Dolcetto Verdicchio
Nebbiolo Moscato Bianco
Barbera Cortese
Corvina Chardonnay

Wine Tasting in Italy: Tips on Your Next Tour

Dinner with Pinot Grigio, photographed in Bergamo Alta
Lana Valente / ViaTravelers

In Italy, wine is a table staple that requires paired foods and proper tasting. Let’s debrief wine-tasting etiquette. Most sommeliers recommend the following tips:

  • Make a reservation.
  • Consider hiring a driver.
  • Dress nicely!
  • Strong fragrances or aftershave will impede your wine tasting experience.
  • Be open-minded.
  • Drink to enjoy and taste.
  • Spitting out wine you dislike isn’t a faux pas.
  • Cleanse your palate between flavors.
  • Try pairing appropriate foods.
  • Ask questions and share your opinion on the wines you’re trying.
  • Tipping your guide is not necessary, but welcome, nonetheless.

Special Events and Wine Festivals in Italy

There are plenty of events in the regions of Italy year-round—so really, it depends on where and when you want to go. During the recommended seasons (May-June and September-October), festivals occur annually, including Avvinando WineFest, Vinòforum, the Chianti Wine Festival, and Autochtona in some of our favorite Italian wine regions.

See Related: Best Wine Tasting in Paris, France (+ Vineyards)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the best wine regions in Italy to visit?

You know there are many, so you can’t go wrong with visiting any of them. To start, though, we’d recommend Veneto, Tuscany, Piedmont, Umbria, Emilia-Romagna, and Sicily.

What is the best time of the year to visit the Italian wine regions?

The best time of year to visit Italian wine country is either May or June. This way, you’ll avoid crowds and guarantee beautiful weather. September and October are great for the harvest.

Which Italian wines should I try during my visit?

As a result, there are so many different types of Italian wines and many recommendations. Still, we can narrow down the following: Montefalco Sagrantino, from Umbria; Bardolino, from Veneto; Montepulciano, from Abruzzo; and Fiano D’Avellino, from Campania.

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Lana Valente
WRITTEN BY

Lana Valente

A bona fide expert in budget travel, Lana has been to 25 countries across four continents (although she hopes to round that up to seven soon!), as well as 29 U.S. states. She has a penchant for country hopping and proudly presents tips and tricks to help our readers do the same. Lana is currently based near Philadelphia, but spends a significant amount of time in Italy with family.

She's fluent in three languages - English, Italian, and American Sign Language - and, through her studies, has been inducted into the Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars and the Gamma Kappa Alpha Italian Language Society.

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