Looking for a place to taste and talk about wines? Try Le Volpe e L'uva (Piazza dei Rossi, 1R, in Oltrarno, quite near the Ponte Vecchio), Enoteca Vinarius (on Borgo S. Croce, 15R, in S. Croce, between the Chiesa Santa Croce and the Arno River) & the Tuscan Wine School (in Via de' Bardi 23r, also in Oltrarno near the Ponte Vecchio).

Le Volpe e L'uva offers reasonable prices (3 and 4 euros for hefty pours of great stuff), a knowledgeable staff (it helps to speak some Italian here) and the delicious food (try the crostini covered in melted cheese and wild boar salami). The bar offers outdoor seating on a small quiet square off the busy street leading to the Pitti Palace, or sit indoors at the marble-topped bar and have more dialogue with the servers.

Vinarius is a real find - it offers a wide range of Tuscan wines including many small producers not exported beyond Italy. You might get a taste of mushroom pate and truffle spread while sipping some lovely vino. Vinarius is hidden away down an unpromising-looking lane - but it's well worth searching out.

The Tuscan Wine School offers guided wine tasting sessions in English every day at 3 pm and at 5 pm and the classes are really for everyone whether beginner or more experienced tasters.

All 3 places are labors of love put forth by people who really know, and truly love, great wine.

Enjoy!