Move from the cellar to the stars with the 21st edition of “Calici di Stelle,” or “Goblets of Stars,” a festival that combines the astronomic with the viticultural. Through August 11, visitors throughout Tuscany can sip wine while taking in two views — one of the surrounding countryside, the other of the glittering sky.
Organized by the Movimento Turismo del Vino Toscana and l’Unione Astrofili Italiana, dozens of wineries across Tuscany will hold special nighttime tastings, allowing tourists and oenophiles alike to drink quality vintages far away from the light-saturated skies of major cities. Last year’s festival saw over one million visitors, and this year projects an even higher showing of eager stargazers.
Inspired by the night sky, the event first began in 1996 as a means of merging the culture of Italy with the celestial views of its countryside. “Calici di Stelle” strives to reinvigorate wine by curating a full-sensory experience, offering a magical experience coupled with music, dance, and – of course – vino. Beyond the nighttime, the festival also accommodates those hoping to start their days a little earlier, offering daylight activities that lead into sunset.
In honor of the Moon landing’s 50th anniversary, the theme for this year’s festival is “A Toast to Moonlight,” highlighted by events like moonlight vineyard tours and dances “to the rhythm of the moon.” Visitors wanting to explore the festival program can do so at a multitude of vineyards, including those in Maremma, Bolgheri, Montalcino, Carmignano, Val d’Orcia, and Valdichiana.
In particular, the medieval town of Carmignano opens its gates on August 9 and 10 with an event organized by the Pro Loco di Carmignano Tourism Association. Since 2000, this winery has joined in the “Calici di Stelle” festivities by inviting people to La Rocca, a 10th-century citadel and olive grove, from 8 pm onward. With a cost of only €2 per person (no charge for children under 12) and a free shuttle from Piazza Vittorio Emanuele II, it’s easily accessible to anyone interested.
More than just a wine tasting, this event offers food prepared by local restaurateurs and live music from both Italian and international artists. Guests pay for food and wine as they order, and can purchase the edition’s unique crystal wine glass, styled this year in honor of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, to take home their own goblet of stars. The winery also offers games for children and telescopes complete with amateur astronomers ready to point out constellations.
For those in Italy during this period, a visit to the “Calici di Stelle” is a must – both wine and astronomy aficionados can admire the heavens with a little taste of Chianti. For the full schedule, visit the Movimento Turismo del Vino Toscana website. (anna staropoli & alex harrison)