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Traveling the wine regions of Italy

Traveling the wine regions of Italy


For a wine taster’s palate, there is no better destination than the fine taste of Italy’s excellent vineyards. Four major regions come to mind, Chianti, Piedmont, Tuscany, and Veneto, any one a rich experience to add to your travel plans when visiting this beautiful country.

Chianti
Chianti is a wine producing region in Italy world famous for its dry, red wines. Chianti is located in the center of Tuscany, with Florence on the northern end and Siena marking the southern boundary. The region is divided into smaller areas with the Chianti Classico area being the center and the most prestigious wine.
The main grape used in Chianti is the Sangiovese variety, but it may be blended with other grapes, including Trebbiano. The Sangiovese grape is a finicky variety, not ripening uniformly or easily, and wines made from this grape must be carefully formulated by experienced winemakers to produce the distinct and full bodied Chianti wines.
Wines from this area once brought up visions of a peasant village, with red checkered tablecloths and candles perched in straw wrapped bottles, dripping with wax down the sides. Due to a changing in the wine laws of Italy in the early 1990’s, the style and quality of Chianti has improved tremendously in the last ten years.

Piedmont
“Piemont”, meaning “at the hoot of the mountain” describes the landscape where the vines are grown. This area produces more than 40 officially recognized wines known worldwide, the greater majority made on small family-run estates.
The Nebbiolo is the main grape grown in this Northern Italian region, resulting in rich, hearty reds like Barbaresco, Gattinara and Barolo. Here, also, is where their sparkling white, Asti Spumante, was developed from the Muscato grape, by an Italian vintner who trained in France.
Picturesque landscape, beautiful peoples and a wide variety of wine tasting from light sweet dessert wines to delight and excite the palate make the Piedmont region a must on your tour Italiano.

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The Food Of Italy

The Food Of Italy


Northern Italy
The cuisine of Piedmont region is a dynamic blend of Italian mountain specialties and strong Gallic flavors influenced by its closeness to France. Commonly used in Piedmontese foods is butter and Trifola d’Alba (white truffles). The residents of Genova are known for their seafood dishes and their Pesto Genovese, a sauce made of a paste of fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, fresh Italian basil leaves, pine nuts and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
Milan is also known for its edible contributions such as Minestrone alla Milanese and Risotto alla Milanese. Polenta has also been eaten here since the days of the Roman soldiers.
The Austro-Hungarian traditions of Trentino-Alro Adige are seen in both their blue-eyed features and their foods such as soups flavored with caraway seeds, speck (a smoke-cured prosciutto), strudels and the use of sauerkraut and vinegar in their cooking.
The cuisine of Veneto region offers simple, almost country food that is well prepared. The more well known dishes are Risi e Bisi, a porridge-like soup made with fresh peas, rice and Parmesan cheese; Pasta e Fagioli, a stew-like concoction made of tomatoes, tiny pasta and beans; plus a myriad of seafood dishes that reflect Veneto’s proximity to the Adriatic.

Central Italy
Tuscan food is simple and abundant with local produce, mellow cheeses and grilled meats. Their delicious, chewy breads are baked without salt. Another Tuscan staple: white beans cooked with sage and olive oil. Beef Steak Florentine, versions of roasted or wine-braised game and thick and hearty soups cover the table of a typical Tuscan meal.
The town of Urbino is set amid The Marches. The food is considered simpler, known for such dishes as its version of Porchetta (which stuffs pig with peppers, rosemary and garlic) and their rich version of lasagna called Vincisgrassi. The best known dish is brodetto or seafood soup which incorporates all types of fish overflowing in a saffron-infused broth.
Rome is a traveler’s delight. Food is again the typical rustic fare of Central Italy with Abbacchio (a suckling lamb seasoned with fresh rosemary), Spaghetti alla Carbonara (a bacon, egg and cheese sauced pasta), Saltimbocca (marsala braised tin slices of veal topped with ham), and Suppli al Telefono (addictive deep fried rice balls filled with mozzarella).
Pasta in Abruzzo is made using a chitarra, a rectangular device strung with thin metal wires like a guitar, hence the equipment’s name. Sheets of pasta are rolled over this to form strips. Food festivals which honor saints or simply occur to celebrate happen often. Their non-stop eating and drinking event is called the Panarda which serves people course after course of food.


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History—Renaissance Era

History—Renaissance Era


After the death of the Roman Empire in Italy, the country slid into the dark ages along with the rest of Europe. However, it was Italy that led Europe out of the dark ages and into the modern and enlightened era. This period that included much of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was called The Renaissance. During this period, Italy produced men who set the new standards in art and science, standards that laid the foundation for what would become Western Culture.

The traveler to Italy today can explore this period of history, and become familiar with many of the most famous works of art that the world has ever known. Museums feature the works of artists such as Michelangelo, DaVinci, and Botticelli; and the cities that were the heart of the Renaissance, such as Venice and Florence; abound in the architecture of the period.

Florence, or Firenze as it is known in Italian, is one of the most visited tourist destinations. Located two hundred and eighty miles north of Rome, it is served by its own International Airport. Florence is the capital of Tuscany, and although not an exceptionally large city has one of the highest concentrations of Masterpieces of Art of any city in the world. These include the David of Michelangelo, The Uffizi Galleries, as well as countless churches and other medieval period buildings.


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