/Wine And Culture In Tuscany – Fotini Manioy / Vasiliki Koubourou

Wine And Culture In Tuscany – Fotini Manioy / Vasiliki Koubourou

Fotini Manioy (fvtinimaniou@yahoo.gr) Master from the University of Aegian
Vasiliki Koubourou
(tour728@uniwa.gr) Student of University of West Attica

SUMMARY : Wine tourism is a highly developed form of alternative tourism and is a lever for sustainable tourism development in the countryside. The purpose of this article is to present those elements that have been used to make Tuscany an integrated tourist product and to be a highly competitive tourism destination in a highly competitive sector.

KEYWORDS : Wine , gastronomy, culture, wine tourist, Tuscany

The dining experiences of visitors to an area create a sense of authenticity an important factor, which affects the psychology and behavior of the tourist, resulting in the strengthening of sustainable tourism (Manola , Palada 2020) Wine tourism in Tuscany is not only wine, vineyards and winery but also the enjoyment of the landscape, art, architecture and tradition, which in combination with the enjoyment of wonderful wine and food, create a special travel experience for the visitor. The idyllic nature of Tuscany with its vast vineyards and olive groves, where medieval towers and castles pop up and the cities of the elegant artworks of another era, make it a dream destination for wine lovers. Also, the raw materials from which Italian wines are made are not easy to find in other countries, but also when sold and grown in them they never taste the same as that of a wine that comes directly from italian soils. It would be important to mention that the consumption of local wine of a tourist place helps the visitor to better understand the local customs and elements of culture (Manola, Koufadakis 2020 ).


Many travel to discover local gastronomy motivated by curiosity to experience lands and wineries of particular interest combined with their desire to taste traditional products. (Manola,2019). Oinology is considered the science of wine, the knowledge of the nature of the wine, its composition and plenomena involved in its production and preservation. Tuscany is considered Italy’s top wine destination ,it has been distinguished with the Travellers‘ Choice Awards 2012, Wain 2013 and the major travel platforms ranked it at the top of their lists .Huffington Post 2013 and USA Today 2014 ranked it in sixth and 7th place respectively .These lists now exclude commercialized destinations and focus on areas that are innovative destinations for the few .Tuscany offers wine tourists, the most spectacular scenery, great wines, great food and high culture. (Colombini,2015)

Today, Tourism accounts for over 10% of regional GDP and Tuscany is one of the regions best dealt with in the global economic crisis. During the period 2008-2015 Tuscany , without including Florence tourism, received on average 45% from domestic and 55 % from international visitors respectively. It is due to the fact that Tuscany is a top summer destination, with international nights increasing by 800,000 with the first for 2015 the Americans (700,000), followed by the Chinese (almost 700,000) and Brazilians (140,000), other important countries of origin are Britain, Germany and France. (Poinelli,2017)

Osservatorio del Turismo del Vino, a report prepared by Censis Servizi, for Assoziasone del Turismo del Vino states that wine alone does not produce tourism but is in association with landscape and culture, preferences of wine tourists, culture (19%), wine and food (17%) and wine itself(13%) (Colombini,2015).


According to Movivento del Turismo del Vino,winery visitors belong to four categories:

  • Winelovers, are visitors of high economic and educational level, with familiarity with wine and their goal is to visit the famous wineries, with particular interest in the wine production process and are willing to spend on the acquisition of famous or rare wines. They are usually accompanied by sommeliers and have tastings in four or more vineyards and make up the majority of visitors to the wineries.

This group includes wine professionals, such as sommeliers, merchants, importers and restaurateurs, who want to be informed about the wines they promote.

  • Neophytes, these are young visitors, of high educational level and low income, who are interested in learning about wine.
  • Tourists, these are middle-income visitors who are not knowledgeable about wine, perhaps aware of some famous wine brands and visiting the wineries, is part of an excursion to the wider area that focuses on art and monuments.
  • Luxury lovers are wealthy guests who are attracted to expensive high-end wines without being knowledgeable and influenced by experts in the wine market where they usually spend fortunes. We understand that there is a differentiation of wine tourists due to economic and social factors, but their contribution, to a different extent for everyone, is important for the increase of wine tourism in the region.


When in 1993 the Wine Tourism Movement(MTV) organized the Cantine Aperte (Open Cellars) the opening of the first hundred Tuscan wineries to the public, sparked a kind of revolution in wine tourism .At first the efforts to increase wine tourism focused on viticulture and the creation of museums such as the Museo del Vetro da Vino in Banfi, then the investments concern a network of hotels and excellent quality restaurants linked to wine production units, which now include tasting rooms and retail outlets. „Wellness“ holidays (wine treatments, hikes, bike tours, horse riding, spa treatments, thermal baths) and a variety of cultural events such as literary and film festivals, concerts and exhibitions that each city hosts at least one, perhaps even more, during the year.

With the creation of wine roads (1999), wine tourism is regulated by Movimento del Turismo del Vino and Associazione Citta Nazionale del Vino, promoting events such as „CantineAperte“(Open Cellars) and „Calici di stelle“,glasses of wine with stars, for outdoor tastings in wineries and villages in wine-producingregions.(Colombini,2015)

In view of the fact that wine is the third largest attraction for foreign visitors and concerns consumers of medium or high level, who appreciate good wine, landscapes, gastronomy and art, emphasis was placed on improving the hospitality infrastructure and organizing cultural events, seminars and workshops to promote other local dishes, always with respect to the tradition and culture of the place, which creates a combination irresistible to the visitor.

Tuscany’s important cultural heritage also includes picturesque villages and towns of medieval and renaissance architecture with particular beauty and historical interest, some being Unesco World Heritage sites such as Sienna, Florence, Pisa, Pienza, San Gimignano as well as the Val d Orcia Valley and Medici Villas and Gardens. (Poinelli,2017)

It also includes an important artistic heritage of renaissance painting and sculpture of great authors such as Botticeli, Michelangelo, Giotto, Leonardo da Vinci etc., their works adorning the more than seventy museums of Florence,which according to(Manola,2019) the work of „Divine Comedy“ is an important attraction of visitors who have the opportunity to tour the city in the footsteps of Dante Alighieri and „Divine Comedy“ and the proper exploration of literary routes can lead to increased tourism in the city and in the wider region of Tuscany (Naldini, refers to Manolas,2019)

It is worth noting that the vineyards in Val d’Orcia (2004) in Langhe (2014) were named Unesco World Heritage Sites.( Colombini,2015)

In the Tuscan region there are ideal geological and climatic conditions, with the soil ideal for crops, because it contains iron, mercury, lignite, marble and alabaster, which in combination with the mediterranean climate favor the proper cultivation of grapes resulting in the creation of special and tasty wine varieties. (Manola, Koltsikoglou,2020)

„Wine Roads“ are routes connecting areas characterized by important natural, historical, cultural attractions and high production of wine and local products such as olive, chestnut, honey and a variety of cheeses and cold cuts.Indicatively mentioned areas  :

-Montespertoli where the excellent wines Chianti Montespertoli, Chianti Colli Fiorentini, Vin Santo del Chianti (DOCG controlled and guaranteed designation of origin) and extra virgin olive oil (DOP) are produced.

-Chianti regions with typical wines Chianti Classico DOCG, and Chianti Classico (DOC,controlleddesignation of origin)

-Montepulciano where the famous Vino Nobile di Montepulciano is produced

-Bolgheri with Bolgheri Rosso, Superiore and Sassicaia

-San Gimigniano, where the white wine of Vernaczia di San Gimigniano was praised by Dante in „Divine Comedy“ (Kiesel,2019)

– Montalcino, which produces Italy’s most distinguished wine, the red Brunello.These wines come from the Sangiovese grape variety. A distinct selection of wines are The Super Tuscans from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties, making them eligible for DOC and DOCG. This category includes Sassicaia, Tignanello, Magari, Ornelaia and Picconero. The Federation of Wine, Olive Oil and Food (Federazione Strade del Vino,dell’Olio e dei Sapori di Toscana) is active in the region, promoting activities related to tourism, wine and food, with support from the Regional Administration. (Courtney,2015)


Of the EUR 73 billion spent annually by tourists in Italy, EUR 12 billion (16.1%) relates to wine and food such as oil, cheese and cold cuts. A 2014 survey of 25 major wineries showed that 8,4 % came from direct wine sales, rising to 16,6 % for prestigious wines. (Mediobanca,2014)

Wineries use wine tours as a kind of advertisement that increases their reputation and leads to an increase in traditional sales of wine. According to Castriota and Delmastro2015, a good reputation signals the quality and growth in wine demand,which, according toNelson,1970, is due to tourism.

This affects direct wine sales, with 31% of Italians attracted by price/quality ratio and 24,9% by direct supply from the producer. ( comunicareilvino.it)

Wine tourism also generates other profit points besides the sale of wine. According to the CST survey conducted in 2012 for MTV, for every 50€ spent on wine,but so much is spent on other products such as food, tickets to museums and attractions and souvenirs. (Colombini,2015)


We understand that in a highly competitive environment Tuscany promotes an integrated tourist product based on wine, integrated into an environmental, historical and cultural framework, aiming at the sustainable development and preservation of the tradition and culture of the place. , cultural landscape, monuments and tradition.


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