Tuscany/The Veneto, Italy
Best wine destination in 2013: Tuscany.
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Verona is almost synonymous with Soave. In this city, devoted drinkers of strictly local wines will find dizzying variety in expressions of that grape. While there, Azienda Agricola Ca’Rugate is worth a trip, located just outside of Verona. This winery offers a gorgeous tasting room and guided tours through the winery’s vinification cellar, barrel room, grape-drying loft, and “eno-museum” with displays of antique winemaking equipment. (Azienda Agricola Ca’Rugate, via Pergola, 36-37030 Montecchia di Crosara)
Relax: While a Florentine visit is not complete without a peek at Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia (Campo della Carità Dorsoduro n. 1050), oenophiles (and art lovers) may also want to check out Caravaggio’s Bacchus in the Galleria degli Uffizi (Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6). In this Baroque painting, the buzzed-looking Roman god of wine extends his glass outward to the viewer, saying, in essence, “Drink up.” In Verona, vestiges of ancient Rome abound, but for a contemplative break, you might hit the lush Giardino Giusti (Via Giardino Giusti, 2, Verona), a centuries-old tourist landmark. This gorgeous garden is highlighted by soaring cypresses, one of which was immortalized by the German poet Goethe.
Eat: Though Florence can sometimes feel like a city full of visitors, there are a few restaurants that offer a taste of the local. In particular, Slow Food hero Il Ristorante Cibrèo (Via Del Macci, 111r) offers traditional Florentine fare and wine primarily sourced from within the region. In a nod to Florentine history, Il Cibrèo serves polenta where some tourists might expect pasta. In Verona’s old Filippini quarter, Trattoria al Bersagliere (Via dietro Pallone 1, Verona) offers an extensive menu of locally sourced, seasonal foods to natives and foodie pilgrims alike. Also, look for al Bersagliere’s excellent wine list and more than 300 grappas and regional liqueurs.