Bolgheri is a small medieval village only a few kilometers from the seaside in the heart of the Etruscan coast of Tuscany. Quiet and unassuming, at least until the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, it was known for the spectacular centuries-old boulevard of cypress trees nearby. Famous Italian poet, Giosue Carducci, who lived in Bolgheri from 1838 until 1848, immortalized the Viale dei Cipressi in his poem,“Davanti San Guido.”
However, Bolgheri was destined to step onto the world stage. And, what exactly happened in the late ‘60’s and 70’s to change Bolgheri’s status? Super Tuscan happened!
With a micro climate conducive to producing varietals of the Bordeaux origin (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and restrictive DOC regulations, local winemakers started to produce non-DOC wines that they felt were more distinguished that the less expensive vino da tavola that was produced here. In 1968 their Sassicaia, a Bordeaux-style red, introduced the new style called Super Tuscan.
International recognition and prestige came in 1974 when a 6-year old Bolgheri Sassicaia won over Bordeaux wines in an event sponsored by Decanter. Virtually an overnight sensation, Bolgheri’s fame helped to put Tuscan wines back on the map. In 1994 Bolgheri and Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC were born and today Bolgheri’s celebrity includes other Bordeaux varietals.
Despite its place on the world stage, Bolgheri maintains a friendly, unassuming charm. Walking through the medieval archway of the ancient castle with the family seal of the noble Gherardesca family (who has owned it since 1200), you are immediately transported and invited to meander and linger a while. Local shops and enotecas tempt you with their tipico products and famous wines. And, of course, now that you are here, you must enjoy a tasting or two!
Hearty local Tuscan fare is offered at tavernas and ristorantes with shady patios and panoramic views overlooking Belvedere Square and the hills of the timeless Etruscan coast. After gently exploring this charming village, enjoy a gelato and join Carducci’s Nonna Lucia in the shade of Bolgheri’s piazza.
-Victoria De Maio
La dolce vita sums up Victoria’s passion and love for all things Italian. An American living in California, her heart is always in Italy. As a travel consultant, blogger, and writer, Victoria loves sharing practical no-nonsense travel tips and insights on her travel blog. She now offers two boutique tours to Italy and has just published her first book (about Italy, of course!). Victoria’s Travel TipZ Italian Style is now available on Amazon. Connect with Victoria on her travel blog, PostcardsfromTravelPiZazz.com and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Photos by Victoria De Maio
Concierge tip: Make the most of your next stay in Florence by visiting Bolgheri, just an hour’s drive from the city. The Relais Santa Croce Florence offers stays combining accommodation in the hotel with the opportunity to experience typical Florentine traditions like the Leather Master Experience package.