What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “Italy”? For some, it might be the beautiful scenery or architecture, while for others, Venice and it’s gondolas or he Vatican may come to mind. When I hear the word Italy, an array of things pop into my head, but Italy’s rich winery culture is the most prominent.
Located in the region of Sicily and the city of Marsala (located just a few kilometers from the city of Trapani, on the western coast of Sicily), Florio Winery has been in continuous Marsala wine production since 1833. Through our energetic and passionate tour guide and the atmospheric environment, we soaked in the rich history and culture of the prominent Florio family. Although this winery has had a few different owners, its tradition for quality still holds strong.
Our tour guide, Sarah, was definitely a highlight of this winery tour. Her strong Italian accent seemed to make the rich history come alive. We learned the Florio family was in control of this winery for many generations until they sold every possession their family owned, including the winery, so they didn’t have to declare bankruptcy. Because of this noble and unheard of action, the Florio family was honored. Many years later, during World War II, the winery was mistaken for a military hangar and bombed, resulting in tremendous loss. A few casks were spared from the bombing, resulting in small amounts of these wines still in the cellars to this day. Now, your probably thinking that it would be really cool to buy a bottle of this culturally rich Marsala, but that won’t happen, ever. These reserve wines are kept only for prominent people, only people who the president of the company allows to buy (not some random guy who wants to blow hundreds of euro on a bottle of Marsala). One of these reserve wines in particular was limited to a production of 1,000 bottles total and sold at a whopping 500 euro ($663 at the current exchange rate). There are two small casks left of this particular wine, but it will not be bottled and sold any time soon. Sarah explained that if and when this Marsala is bottled again, the price would definitely increase. After being immersed in the rustic cellars and rich culture of the Florio Winery, I had to buy a bottle of Marsala to share with my parents!