This is a list of the different wineries, places, groups, tours, etc. that we have used in Italy. It does not include a list of things to do in each city, but rather names and websites to contact should you have an interest in doing something that we did. We like the websites www.viator.com and www.getyourguide.com to organize private wine tours, bike tours, excursions, etc. I will continually add to the list as we travel more and as I remember more companies and websites.
For drives around the Amalfi Coast/trips to Pompeii:
Sorrento First Choice: This company is amazing! I use them when family is in town so they can see a few cities on the Amalfi Coast at once. Gerry (the owner) picked us up at our house in Pozzuoli and for nine hours drove us around the Amalfi Coast, stopping in Sorrento, Positano, and Amalfi, with lunch on top of a mountain (not included in price). He charges us 270 euros, but if you're starting closer to the coast (like in Naples) it is probably cheaper. We also give him a nice tip. He will tailor it to your needs depending on what cities you want to see. They also do tours to Pompeii, transfers from the airport, and trips to Rome. The fun starts here!
Gaetano Manfredi: Gaetano was featured on Rick Steve's travel show and is a fantastic tour guide for Pompeii, having grown up in the area and coming to Pompeii every weekend with his tour guide grandfather when he was a kid. 200 euros for two hours. Through his site you can also book a day trip through the Amalfi Coast. Pompeii Tour/Amalfi Drives
Naples area wineries:
Lacryma Cristi Cantina del Vesuvio: Winery on the base of Mt. Vesuvius. Has excellent views, delicious wine, and great food! Wine
Feudi di San Gregorio: Located outside Avellino this is a big winery with a large production. The tour consists of walking the grounds, touring the cellar, and tasting 3-4 wines. They have a Michelin starred restaurant, which we haven't tried (yet). Wine!
Naples Photo Walk:
Giorgio Cossu : Choose from either a 4 or 6 hour private walking/photography tour and see Naples through a photographer's eye. Giorgio was born and raised in Naples, and is a professional photographer. He will take you to an area that boasts a great view of the city, and smaller, lesser known, hidden corners of Naples in order to get picture perfect opportunities. A unique way to see Naples. Book his tour here
Tenuta Torciano Winery (San Gimignano): We've been wine tasting here twice. Taste around 10 wines with a homemade lunch option, cheese & salami, or dinner in a beautiful setting. The wines and food are delicious and they spend a lot of time explaining the wines and food. Very reasonably priced. We also took a private cooking class with our wine tasting. Fantastic experience!
Sovestro in Poggio (San Gimignano): This is a small winery located in a beautiful setting. Very friendly owners. They have different lunch and snack options to eat while you taste their wine. It's also a bed and breakfast and we're planning on staying here in the future. Great wine!
Geografico (San Gimignano): I don't remember this place, but I'm assuming I liked it since there wasn't a winery in Tuscany that I didn't like. Or maybe it was towards the end of the wine tastings for the day and everything got a little hazy :) Wine Tasting
Dievole (outside of Sienna): Excellent winery with beautiful grounds. The tour was very original having us taste a glass of wine at each destination on the grounds. The tour came with cheese and salami. Highly recommend! Dievole
Podere la Marronaia (San Gimignano): Lovely winery and very friendly hostess. She had three different types of meats for us to try while tasting 4 different wines and grappa. Excellent! Podere
Azienda Montefioralle (Greve in Chianti): Small winery with great wine. Came with cheese, meat, bread, and olive oil. Their shipping prices to the U.S. are better than others!
Le Fonti (Panzano in Chianti): Great wines and really nice guy. Only had wines to taste, no snacks. Le Fonti
San Polo (Montalcino): An eco-friendly winery. Great wine! Wine!
Uccelliera (Montalcino): Gave us tastings directly from the barrels and barriques in order for us to taste different years in the aging process. Loved that! So cool!
Wineries we went to:
Gambini Vini: Excellent wine and great food to snack on while tasting. Wine
Murgo: They have a delicious lunch with delicious wines! More wine!
Vivera: I don't know if you can go here without someone who sets it up beforehand (as in a driver... see below), but the wines are very good. It is a small winery and production isn't as large as the previous two wineries. The person who gave us the tour was very friendly. Vivera
Sicily Travel Tour Services: The first time we did wine tasting in Sicily we hired this service to drive us to three different wineries for a full day. Our driver, Gaetano, was so friendly and we really had a good time with him. Highly recommended service if you don't want to worry about drinking too much and driving. They also have other services. Great service!
Tours to and around Mt. Etna:
Etna Experience: Great day of hiking and learning about Mt. Etna. The company was great to deal with too! There are many different options to choose from. Mt. Etna
Piedmont Region (wine tasting):
Wineries we went to:
Da Milano: We had tasted these wines in Naples at a wine tasting event and they told us to contact them when we were up in the area. I think their wines were the near or at the best of what we tasted. We tried 10 wines in a fancy tasting room. Da Milano
Cantina del Glicine: I think this might have been our favorite experience out of all of the wineries. This is a very small winery, with a grandma-like woman giving us a tour of the cellar and tastings of their eight wines in Italian. Excellent wines and she had the best snacks to eat while tasting: local cheese and salami. Cantina del Glicine
Albina Rocca: Medium sized winery, we tasted about six wines with a tour of the cellar. The woman was friendly and informative and the wines were good. It was the only one that didn't provide any snacks to cleanse the palate in between tastings. Towards the end they started to blend together. Albino Rocca
Pio Cesare: We had tasted these wines in Naples at a wine tasting event and they told us to contact them when we were up in the area. I got the feeling like they were doing us a favor by holding a tasting for us, but later on I read in a wine book that they only give tastings to serious wine drinkers/tasters... so I'm pretty happy that we got a tasting! A big producer of wine in the area. We tasted three wines, which you cannot buy at the winery. Located right in Alba. Pio Cesare
Giuseppe Cortese: The family that owns this also owns the bed and breakfast we stayed in. Located in Barbaresco. We tasted eight different wines. Cortese Giuseppe
Dosio Vigneti: A small family run estate. We had a nice time with the Italian grandfather type who only spoke Italian. Nice tour of the cellar. Located in La Morra. Dosio
Marchesi di Barolo: The largest producer of the vineyards we visited. We were the only ones there, but we felt that we were just part of some routine with scripted words. The wines were good as well as the tour of the cellar, but it was the only vineyard to charge us for tastings. Located right in the town of Barolo. Marchesi di Barolo
Corino: Located in La Morra at a small family run estate. Another one of our favorite visits of the trip. We tasted 8 different wines and each one was better than the last. Our tasting was completely in Italian. Corino
Green Italy: We used them to take us on a wine tasting tour for the day, including stopping in Lecce for lunch and a stroll. We were staying in Matera, but they picked us up in Bari (1000 Miglia Autoparco is a safe place to park the car for the day- they also washed and cleaned the inside of our car for 20 euros). Giovanni was superb - he went above and beyond, taking us also to the town of Ostuni, which wasn't included. Very nice guy. Green Italy
Two wineries in the Puglia region that we went to:
Castel di Salve: Good wine and friendly people! Castel di Salve
Still trying to remember the second one!
Masseria Boezio: Giovanni took us to his friend's B&B/hotel for drinks, which is located in a gorgeous setting. They have a restaurant, bar, and a big area to hold large events. www.masseriaboezio.it
Emilian Land Tour: This company has different food and wine tour options for the Bologna region. We did a 6 hour tour consisting of a trip to a Parmesan cheese factory, a balsamic vinegar factory, and a winery. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it!!! Emilian Land Tour
Maranello (near Bologna/Modena): Ferrari driving experience! Drive your choice of Ferraris for 10, 20, 30, or 60 minutes. It's pretty pricey, but if you really want to drive one then you must pay it. Get the video included. Once you drive to the Ferrari museum people are waiting outside asking if you want to look at the cars to drive them. We used Push Start. Ferraris!
Wineries we went to:
Tommasi: Even though Tommasi is such a large producer of wine we felt like we had such individualized and personalized experience from the woman who gave us the tour of the facility and conducted the tasting. We also tasted some cheese, olive oils, and jams. Tommasi
Allegrini: Honestly, we didn't enjoy this tasting as much as other ones. After speaking with someone for about a month through email we were questioned about who we spoke to and when we spoke to them about our reservation when we got there. The person giving the tasting wasn't very knowledgable about the wines and every answer was basically saying that allegrini has the best wines and we won't find anything comparable to them. If you're looking to just go and taste some wines and see the facility then it was fine for just that, but we just didn't care for the person who was helping us. allegrini
Brigaldera: This was recommended to us by the agriturismo and it was great. We didn't have a reservation and just showed up, but the man who was there was very welcoming and didn't charge us for a tasting. He then gave us some names of places in the US where the wine is sold. Brigaldera
Varenna (Lake Como):
Taxi Boat Lecco & Varenna: For 25 euros a person we took a private one hour boat tour of a lot of Lake Como. It included Prosecco, olives, pizza, and pistachios. Luca, the driver, was excellent and the boat tour gave us a good introduction to the lake. Great way to start a Lake Como vacation! Boat