Travel: Italy (Day Four)

We woke up to another glorious day in Florence, Italy and were out and about shortly after 8 a.m. We had somewhere to be: Formaggioteca Terroir. Nice name for a wine and cheese shop but also the starting place for our tour of two Chianti vineyards in Tuscany.

We, along with five others (all from the USA), all piled into a nice air-conditioned van and headed south into Tuscany. You leave the city behind fairly quickly and begin to make the climb up to cooler air. You see vineyards spotted throughout, then come into the country where every hillside is bright green with grape leaves.

At this time of the year, the grapes have not yet flowered and the buds are about 1/2 the size of a peppercorn. Later this summer the grapes will be heavy on the vines and ready for harvest. Seeing it all brings special meaning to, “I am the vine, you are the branches.”

The first of the vineyards we visited was Fattoria Cortana e Paterno. It was a lower altitude giving it slightly warmer temperatures than the second vineyard we visited, meaning they would be harvesting a few weeks earlier.

Picture from their website.

We were treated to four different wines from a nice bright white to a dry red. They paired it with some nice cheeses, bread, honey they produced, and a caramelized onion chutney that I had to buy a jar of before leaving. The wine was remarkable!

From here we made our way further up into the hills and came to the restaurant owned and operated by Dario Cecchini. I did not know of him beforehand, but the New York Times describes him as “The most famous butcher in the world.” He is the “butcher-poet”. The warning for those entering his restaurant, “ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO ENTER, FOR YOU ARE NOW IN THE HANDS OF A BUTCHER.” Beef, pork, grilled, stewed, boiled… oh, my.

From here we rolled ourselves back into the van and climbed further into the Tuscan hills and arrived at Poggio al Sole. Can I just say, “These places will make you very happy!” The owners/managers/servers seem to truly love not only the wine but the people who come to taste it and celebrate it. Stephanie, the daughter-in-law of the owner, showed us around the grounds and the cellar and Carmen (with the most brilliant Italian accent) told us all about the wine and what made it so special.

Downloaded from their Facebook Page.

On the way back down the mountain, we made two brief stops. The first was to the Abbey of Saint Michele Arcangelo is located in the town of Passignano. The religious community was established here around the year 1000.

The final stop was at the Piazzale Michelangelo which provided a stunning view of the city of Florence.

Walking home, I came across the same street artist that I saw yesterday. I walked away, but said if I see it again, I’ll get it. I saw it again…

Acrylic on canvas.

Blessings to you all and may your wine be as good as mine!

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