The Regions of Italy

From the elegant and crystalline white wines of Alto Adige to the sun-drenched reds of Sicily, Italy is a land of almost endless vinous diversity. Each of the 20 political regions is certainly influenced by geography – the moderating effects of the sea, the sharp differences in elevation afforded by the spine of mountains that runs right into the south, the various volcanoes (both active and dormant) and a myriad of soils that underpin this most heterogeneous of countries – but each also has its own distinct personality, shaped by extravagant wealth and endemic poverty, by empire and waves of conquest, and a national trait that values tradition on a micro level, where sometimes a couple of miles up the road might just as well be another country.