Wine & More Italian Drinks

We created these pages to help you really Discover Italy. Journalists Donald Strachan, Steve Keenan, Jasmine Boni-Ball, Sara Sherwood, Sabrin Hasbun, Alicia Peacock, Chloë Sibley— who visit several times every year — have gathered a rich crop of local stories and written destination guides to help you make the most of your vacation. As they say in Italy, “Buon viaggio!”

The Valpolicella Handbook

Valpolicella is a wine region east of Lake Garda that has produced some of Italy’s most famous reds, including the full-bodied, rich and seductive Amarone. The king of Valpolicella wines has somewhat eclipsed the lighter-bodied, fruitier Classico and Superiore styles, and while they can’t hope to compete with Amarone’s prestige, each has its own merits and occasion for drinking. This guide will introduce you to the different Valpolicella variations, what makes their flavours and aromas unique, as well as the best wineries and wine bars to visit in Verona.

The Negroni Handbook

If the Negroni were a person he’d be our beloved anti-hero; bitter yet sweet, a stickler for tradition with a contemporary edge, and just complex enough to keep us on our toes. An icon of popular culture, the Negroni has been the go-to drink for gentlemen spies and womanisers like James Bond, who preferred this aperitivo “stirred not shaken”. It was the kind of cocktail the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles could ruminate over in a cosmopolitan cafe.

What is Digestivo

If aperitivo is the opening act, then digestivo is the grand finale of any indulgent meal in Italy; both are just as much about the experience as they are taste. A popular Italian tradition, digestivo is typically served after dessert and coffee courses at the end of a meal, aiding digestion, settling the stomach and prolonging the sociable ambience of dining.

The Aperol Handbook

One of Italy’s fondest cultural traditions is the art of aperitivo. The simplicity of enjoying a drink before a meal was given the Italian treatment, transforming it into a social pastime favoured by locals and tourists alike. Aperitivo thrives in the Veneto region, where the best in food and drink options are available — notably Padua’s Aperol. Read on to discover how Italy's favourite aperitivo is made, cocktail creations and where to enjoy it in Padua.

The Amaretto Handbook

Italy pours its spirit into alcoholic drinks, from Chianti wine to Venetian cocktails, and the sweet Amaretto liqueur has made its mark in Lombardy. Amaretto is a popular drink in Italy and is often a supplement in classic Italian desserts such as Tiramisu. Two noble families fight to be crowned creator of Amaretto, with possible Renaissance roots making this liqueur a historic icon of Lombardy. Discover the history behind this alluring liqueur and relish in its almond flavour at Lombardy’s finest bars.

The Spirit of Tuscan Wine

Sangiovese, the most widely planted and renowned of the Italian red grapes, is the heartbeat of Tuscany and the key to unlocking the secrets of this unrivaled wine region. The name of this indigo coloured grape originates from the Latin, Sanguis Jovis, meaning the “Blood of Jupiter”, king of the gods. The main component of some of our favourite Italian wines, from Chianti to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and Brunello di Montalcino, discover the expressive aromas, flavours and qualities of the noble Sangiovese grape.

The Bellini

The Bellini is adored across the world for its succulent fruity flavour and soft-pink radiance. Born in the renowned Harry’s Bar of Venice, the Bellini’s vision derived from the city’s trademarks. Named after a pioneering Venetian artist and made using ingredients native to Veneto, this ultimate summer aperitif is a Venetian icon.

Aperol Spritz

Often described as an Italian sunset in a glass, the Aperol Spritz originated in the city of Padua and has become one of the most famous cocktails from Italy. The Aperol liqueur became a beloved apéritif in Padua and out of its rising popularity the Aperol Spritz was born during the chic 1950s in Northern Italy. Read on to discover Padua’s iconic drink, how it achieves its vibrant colour, refreshing taste and the best bars to enjoy its bubbly bliss.

The Prosecco Handbook

Alongside Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto is Italy’s exclusive producer of Prosecco with sprawling vineyards flourishing between the Dolomites and the Adriatic Sea. Having rapidly grown in popularity in the past few years, it is now one the world’s best selling sparkling wines. This guide offers the perfect introduction to the stunning Prosecco regions of Veneto that are steeped in history and advice on where to find the finest wines.

The Grappa Handbook

Best known as a leading region for wine production, Veneto is also Italy’s largest producer of Grappa. The trendy and sophisticated digestivo is very much integral to any Northern Italian dining experience. This guide is the perfect introduction to Bassano del Grappa, the region’s capital of the distillate’s production, as well as the history of the popular Italian digestivo, how it is made, plus our favourite grappa based cocktails.

Best Wineries to Visit in Chianti

In this short guide to Chianti’s best wineries, we’ve selected la crème de la crème of the region. Aside from mouthwatering (literally!) wines, all of these Chianti vineyards will leave you speechless with their architecture, history and landscape. Choose from short and simple tastings to longer tours with gastronomic and immersive experiences.

A Beginners Guide to Chianti Wine: Part 2

Food and drinks become more exciting and palatable when we learn of their history — perhaps this is why Chianti Classico embodies such excellence and tradition. Discover the history behind Tuscany's renowned Chianti Classico DOCG and it’s classification.

What is Aperitivo: A Beginners Guide to a Classic Italian Tradition

Aperitivo is an important tradition in Italian culture. This standard pre-dinner drink is great for winding down after a long day at work, and stimulating one's appetite before dinner. Discover the history and culture behind this Italian tradition, and learn to drink aperitivo like a local.

A Beginners Guide to Chianti Wine: Part 1

Chianti is renowned for making some of the world’s best wine. Learn the history of, and differences between two famous Sangiovese-based wines, Chianti DOCG and Chianti Classico DOCG, and discover the legend behind the famous Black rooster label.

7 Umbrian Wines to Discover on Your Next Trip

Wine expert and sommelier Valentina Mazzetti suggests 7 Umbrian DOC and DOCG wines to hunt down on your next visit to this underrated and exciting region. There's something tasty inside for lovers of white, red and sweet wines.

Why is Tuscan wine so special?

Italy has around 350 different grape varieties, but there's something very special that sets Tuscan wine apart. We speak to sommelier Valentina Mazzetti as she takes us on a journey of flavour discovery with the Sangiovese grape.

An Introduction to Tuscan Wine

Tuscany produces about 5 percent of Italian wine production by volume, but more than 10 percent of total value. In other words, the wine here is good — very good. Expert Gary White provides a guided tour through this region’s oenological past and present, to help sort your Chiantis and Montepulcianos from the Montalcinos and Super-Tuscans.

5 niche Tuscan wines & how to pair them

Tuscany produces some of the world's most famous wines: Chianti Classico and Brunello di Montalcino, Vino Nobile and Vin Santo. It also has many under-the-radar growing areas that don't appear on any list of Tuscan wines you read outside Italy. With the help of a local sommelier, we created this short guide to niche Tuscan wines.

The Negroni: An Iconic Cocktail Invented in Florence

One of the world’s best loved cocktails — equal parts gin, Campari and sweet red vermouth — was probably invented in Florence shortly after WW1. We recount a little history of this iconic drink, tell you how to mix it at home (or in one of our villas), and hear about some contemporary bartenders with their own take on a classic recipe.

The History of Chianti Wine

Tradition and millennia of viticulture put the Chianti hills on every wine connoisseur’s bucket list. This is one of the most famous grape-growing regions on the planet. Our short guide takes a whizz through its heritage, from Chianti’s official “birthday” in 1716 to sub-regions, Super-Tuscans, the Black Rooster and more.

Craft Beer in Tuscany

Yes, you read that right: hand-crafted international beer styles are invading one of the world’s most famous wine regions. What are the facts behind Italy’s craft beer boom? Which Tuscan breweries are making waves? And where in Florence can you drink the best Italian and international microbrews?

Chianti's Famous Wine

Chianti wine has a couple thousand years of history going for it, but that’s not all. Modern Chianti tastes better than it ever has. Why? Our guide explains the entire winemaking process, from harvest and fermentation to bottling, blending and aging. If you want a crash course in what makes Chianti so special, read on.

Drinking like an Italian: How to do Aperitivo in Italy

Any trip to Italy is incomplete without an aperitivo or two. When ordering an aperitivo, whether Negroni or Aperol Spritz, there is etiquette and rules. Here are our tips and tricks to drinking aperitivo like an Italian.

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