To experience the authentic side of Italian life, one only needs to follow the gentle green hills that lead to Tuscany. There are no blighted views along the way, just manicured rows of vineyards, farmland, and olive trees. By bus, this is merely a three hour ride from Rome. Yet, upon reaching the peaceful Chianti region, it seems worlds away from the city's pulsing streets.
Wine expert and author Allan Sichel put it eloquently when he said, "Wine is a living thing. It is made, not only of grapes and yeasts, but of skill and patience." To comply with the strictest organic practices, irrigation systems are rarely used. At Dievole Vineyards for example, they rely solely on rain to "plump up the grapes". Pesticides are not applied and the grapes are picked by hand. In Tuscany, this labor of love continues with each new generation, making wine more than a business, but a way of life.