In the heart of the Etruscan coast, only a few kilometers from the seaside, is the medieval village of Bolgheri. Until the late 1960’s Bolgheri was quiet and unassuming, known for the nearby spectacular centuries-old boulevard of cypress trees, the Viale dei Cipressi of poet Carducci fame.
So, what happened in the late ‘60’s? Super Tuscans happened! Feeling that regulations were too restrictive and that their wines were more distinguished than the less expensive vino da tavola, local winemakers started to produce quality non-DOC wines, notably Sassicaia, a Bordeaux-style red.
That was only the beginning. In 1974, when a 6-year old Sassicaia beat Bordeaux wines in a tasting event, Bolgheri gained international celebrity. Today the vineyards of the Etruscan Coast are famous for producing some of Tuscany’s finest wines.
Despite its place on the international stage since then, Bolgheri maintains its friendly, unassuming charm. The ancient castle owned by the Gherardesca family since 1200, dominates our attention as we pass through the medieval archway. We are immediately transported and invited to meander, linger, savor.
Local shops, enoteche, and ristoranti with shady patios and luscious views overlooking Piazza Belvedere and the hills of the timeless Etruscan coast tempt us with their famous wines and prodotti tipici. Surely there’s time for a tasting… or two?
Then, enjoying a gelato, find a bench seat and join Carducci’s Nonna Lucia in the shade of Bolgheri’s piazza. So many delights, we realize that perhaps an afternoon wasn’t enough time to enjoy them all.