Given the country’s longstanding love affair with wine, it should come as no surprise that Italy plays host to a number of amazing museums that explore the history of viticulture. Some take a far-reaching approach, studying wines from all over the world and their impact on the industry. Others are more focused, with many winemakers, particularly the larger ones, maintaining their own museums that document their travels through the ages and the wines that helped them craft their reputations.
Of course, all of these museums are recommended for wine lovers who want to find out more about their favourite drink, but the one that we will focus on today has a case for being one of the best in the world.
The Museum of Grapes and Wine, or to give it its Italian title Comune di Carmignano, was formed right at the turn of the century and has been offering visitors in-depth looks into the world of Italian wines ever since.
Though it was officially formed in 1999, the Museum of Grapes and Wine actually finds its roots in a project that was started back in 1992 that has the aim of recounting the story of the wine and people of the commune. Housed in part of what was once known as the Niccolini Cellars, the museum should make wine enthusiasts feel instantly at home. This is the same place where wagons loaded with barrels of wine produced in the cellars were sent to international territories like Switzerland and Germany, in addition to leaving for more domestic location. The room itself contains a ton of information, all gleaned from researching the archives, plus you will be able to see some of the farming tools that have been used by winemakers through the ages during your visit.
You will also learn a lot more about Carmignano, which is a region that has a deep-rooted tradition in wine. It is perhaps best known for Cosimo III de Medici’s 1716 grand ducal proclamation Sopra la Dichiarazione dé Confini delle quattro Regioni Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano, e Val d’Arno di Sopra, which dictated the areas where such famous wines as Chianti, Regioni and others could be made. Many make the argument that this proclamation was actually a forerunner to what would become known as the Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC) that now oversees the industry. This makes it a historically important proclamation that finds its roots in the commune.
That’s not all you will be able to see though. The museum also plays host to the stunning collection of economist Federico Melis, who has allowed his private collection that spans more than 800 hundred bottles to be put on display for those who want to explore more of the great wines that the world has to offer.
As part of the basic museum features, you will also be provided with access to multimedia points, where a CD is played that provides visitors with even more information about Carmignano, the wines produced in the region, the techniques used by the many producers who have called it home and the region’s influence and history in regards to vineyard cultivation.
In addition to the regular exhibits, the Museum of Grapes and Wine also plays host to a number of special events that will allow you to learn even more about the industry. Many of these events can only be attended in the region of Carmignano and all of them will give you a better idea of the region and what it has to offer to the Italian wine industry.
Perhaps the most important event is the annual St. Michael’s Festival, which is held at the end of September every year. This festival is ideal for those who want to join the locals in a celebration of everything the region has to offer and the museum holds a number of special events during this time.
Furthermore, the museum also holds regular autumn and spring fairs that shed a little more light on the region and the any amazing products that give life to the various villages and hamlets that are included in it.
For those who want to explore a little further, there is also a flea market that is held every month in Carmignano and Seano. This event will give you the chance to find items that are completely native to the region, often allowing you to take a little bit of Carmignano home with you in the process.
All of these are great reasons to visit the region as often as possible, as there is always something new to experience, alongside the museum itself.
The concept of agricultural tourism goes hand-in-hand with the wine industry, as it aims to shed more light on the hard work done by the men and women behind the agricultural industry in Italy. While the museum itself is a perfect example of agitourism in action, you will find that there are many other areas in the region of Carmignano that offer you the chance to see more about what really goes into the agricultural work done by the people.
If you are interested in agitourism, there are a number of hotels in the region that are dedicated to helping you find out more. As such, there is always more to see, even if you are visiting primarily so you can find out more about the museum itself.
Wine isn’t all that Carmignano is known for either. As with many other major Italian regions, you will also have the opportunity to explore other artistic works and cultural milestones should you choose to visit the region.
There are likely going to be few things as satisfying to a wine lover than to take a tour of the Museum of Grapes and Wine before sitting down to a delicious meal accompanied by one of the wines that are native to the region. Afterwards, there are a number of other museums and galleries that will give you a complete taste of the region and its impact on Italian wine.