The Romans took the best of both Greek and Etruscan methods and improved upon them by developing vine-training and pruning methods that lasted for centuries, and which they spread throughout their empire So sophisticated was their knowledge of viticulture and enology that their techniques were not equaled again until the 17th or 18th centuries when Italians and other Europeans began to regard the making of wine as more scientific than mystical Winemaking in Italy advanced rapidly through the 19th century, as methods of vinification and aging were improved and the use of corks to seal reinforced bottles and flasks permitted orderly shipping of wine worldwide Such names as Chianti, Barolo and Marsala became known in Europe and beyond.

One of the most important things to realize about the topography and climate of Italy is that, unlike other countries, the entire country is a vineyard The Apennines form a mountainous spine down the length of Italy, providing many optimal microclimates for the vines, especially those on hillsides Each of the twenty regions, separated from each other by physical barriers such as the Apennine mountain range, has developed their own distinct cultures and cuisines In addition, Italy is surrounded on three sides by sea, and consequently has an extremely maritime climate along these coasts.

This translates into cool breezes, moderate temperatures, and sometimes fog and clouds, which help to mitigate an otherwise too-hot climate in the more southerly locations.