Eight perfect stop-offs for a wine tour of Italy

The experts from Decanter give their best ideas if you're considering a wine tour of Italy.

Palazzo Lantieri, Friuli-Venezia Giulia 

Italian wine tour

Previous guests include Napoleon and Casanova… Credit: Palazzo Lantieri

Begin your journey in the northeastern wine region Friuli-Venezia Giulia , writes Simon Woolf of The Morning Claret, a land of beautiful white wines and with a rich Austrian-influenced history. Palazzo Lantieri is set in a stately 14th-century courtyard right in the historic centre of Gorizia, near the Slovenian border.

Its grand rooms are said to have hosted the French royal family, Napoleon, Goethe and Casanova. They have gorgeous parquet floors and vintage furniture, the breakfast is also rather special. Visits are on offer to the Italian and Slovenian wine cellars of Collio, home of the famous Collio Bianco wines.

Villa Abbazia, Prosecco country

Italian wine tour

The Prosecco lovers dream… Credit: Villa Abbazia

For lovers of premium Prosecco DOCG, travel to the opulent Villa Abbazia says food, travel and wine writer Fiona Sims. It’s not only luxurious but also wonderfully quirky and family-run, with a Michelin-starred restaurant to boot. Be sure to leave enough time to visit the famous cloistered Cistercian abbey opposite. It’s well-positioned in Follina, on the ‘Prosecco road’ between Vittorio Veneto and Valdobbiadene, as well as being a 20-minute drive from Cartizze.

Byblos Art Hotel, Valpolicella

Italian wine tour

Contemporary art meets 16th-century Venetian villa. Credit: Byblos Art Hotel

The Byblos Art Hotel is the place for lovers of art, says Veronese journalist and wine judge Alessandra Piubello. Amarone, situated only a few kilometres from Verona, is in the heartland of Valpolicella. Imagine a 16th-century Venetian villa with gardens, frescoes and ancient relics combined with a contemporary art museum. As a hotel it boasts designer bedrooms, spa, swimming pool and a gourmet restaurant.

Castello di Sini, Piedmont

Italian wine tour

Tranquility at sunset in Barolo. Credit: Castello di Sinio

No wine tour would be complete without visiting the the home Barolo, often cited as the ‘king of wines’, according to Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails. In the northwestern region of Piedmont, the 800-year-old castle of Castello di Sinio dominates the hamlet of Sinio, and it’s surrounded by vineyards producing some of the greatest Barolo wines. Expect sumptuous rooms and a warm welcome from owner Denise Pardini, who also happens to be an expert on Barolo and Barbaresco wines.

Porto Roca, Cinque Terre

Italian wine tour

Stunning views across the azure bay… Credit: Porto Roca

A journey south of Piedmont brings you to the coastal region of Liguria, most noted for the UNESCO world heritage site of Cinque Terre, which has been a vine-growing area since medieval times says food and travel writer Sarah Lane. Porto Roca is a peaceful bougainvillea-clad villa nestled in the clifftops, with impressive views across the azure bay — best appreciated from the seawater infinity pool. The top rooms are furnished with pieces from the owner’s antique collection and have balconies with sea views.

Castello di Ama in Tuscany

Italian wine tour

Artist Daniel Buren’s mirrored garden wall. Credit: Castello di Ama

Travel down the Italian Riviera and over the inland hills of northern Tuscany, and you have reached Chianti country. A soul-stirring experience is guaranteed at Castello di Ama, says Helen Farrell, editor-in-chief of The Florentine travel website. It’s a 20-minute drive from Gaiole, where husband-and-wife team Marco Pallanti and Lorenza Sebasti have been producing the finest of Tuscan wines since 1985. In recent years, the couple have opened up their home, first to top contemporary artists and more recently to discerning tourists. Sip Castello di Ama’s fine wines by the glass on the terrace as the breeze stirs white drapes and you look out over the vineyard.

Li Finistreddi, Sardinia 

Italian wine tour

Unparalleled peace in the hillsides of Sardinia… Credit: Li Finistreddi

If you would like to escape to the island paradise of Sardinia, wine and travel writer Carla Capalbo suggests heading across the Tyrrhenian Sea to Li Finistreddi — a bucolic retreat near the vineyards of Gallura, famous for its Vermentino wines. This hillside resort has swimming pools with views of the Maddalena archipelago, and you can dine in its own Osteria Gourmet with an extensive wine cellar. Explore the nearby seaside village of Cannigione and its world-class beach.

Grande Albergo Internazionale, Puglia

Italian wine tour

An imposing facade centre-stage of the harbour. Credit: Grande Albergo Internazionale

The regions of southern of Italy are not to be overlooked, Puglia is celebrated for its powerful Primitivo and Negroamaro wines. Carla Capalbo recommends a stay in the Grande Albergo Internazionale in Brindisi, just above of the Salice Salento DOC wine district. This elegant and monumental hotel takes the centre-stage of the harbour, and is a few steps from the city’s many piazzas.

Compiled by Laura Seal, Decanter.com