Autumn is certainly a season full of toasting in Tuscany. September is when the grape harvesting starts in this region, this year earlier than others thanks to a very hot and dry Summer. Thus wineries open their cellars and in the town squares many bottles are uncorked. The first event to kick off the season was a very precocious Festa del Vino, Wine Festival, at Montecarlo on August 27th. Lasting until the 8th September it overlapped with lovely Pitigliano’s SettembreDiVino, DeWineSeptember, held from September 3rd to 6th. Here the wine tastings were held in the wineries dug out of tuff: unique.
In the meanwhile, south of Florence the town of Impruneta is hosting since September 5th one of the oldest wine festivals of Italy. The Festa dell’Uva, Grape Festival, has been celebrated on these Florentine hills since 1923 and is tightly bound to folk traditions. Continuing until October 3rd, the event has a very full programme with huge cart parades, allegorical shows, folk dancing and obviously Chianti wine tastings. On Sunday 13th, after a go-kart race visitors will have the opportunity to taste the delicious Peposo, the typical Florentine peppery beef stew. Lots of other sports follow every weekend until officially the 89th edition of the Grape Festival opens on September 27th.
Down in Maremma, the town of Manciano is hosting its Festa delle Cantine, Wine Cellars Festival, from September 11th to 13th. The opening evening is celebrated with the traditional horseback torchlight procession, a very suggestive scene. Walking around the village, visitors will find cellars open offering a real taste of Maremma with local wine and traditional dishes such as the wild boar, the acquacotta and the pecorino cheese crêpes. Along the streets there will be stalls with local handicraft and various shows and bands playing. In the Siennese, instead, the Etruscan town of Chiusi will celebrate its Grape and Wine Festival, Festa dell’Uva e del Vino, from September 25th to 27th. On programme for this event are specially tailored menus in the restaurants, guided wine tastings in the cellars and wineries by professional sommeliers, street music and theatre, grape harvesting for children and a walk to discover the archaeological treasures of the town, such as the museum, the underground lake, Porsena’s labyrinth and Etruscan tombs and catacombs.
Over in Scansano, the Grape Festival, Festa dell’Uva, held on September 26th and 27th, is a tribute to its Morellino wine. This Sangiovese based red wine is made on the hills surrounding the village in this coastal area of Maremma. The festival offers local dishes such as wild boar and pecorino cheese paired to the Morellino wine, as well as non traditional dishes such as cacciucco, the fish stew, and linguine pasta with rock-fish. Wine lovers may want to catch a ferry for the island of Elba and pop over to lovely Capoliveri. Between the end of September and the beginning of October, in fact, the town habitually holds its Festa dell’Uva. Not only are the location and surroundings breathtaking but also visitors will have the possibility of seeing the four quarters of town compete in various games and competitions bound to folk traditions. Here wine and traditions repeat themselves in one of the most beautiful and traditional of Elba’s festivities.
Certainly worth a trip to Tuscany during Autumn.