Montepulciano & Trequanda, Sat., Apr 1
We awaken in Firenze (Florence) and pack up our stuff to move on. It’s a 10 minute walk to the car and we get there with no issues. We head onto the highway and make a stop at a now common sight, the AutoGrille. And as we have been finding out, they carry really good coffee, pastries, sandwiches and more! So we have what is becoming a staple breakfast for us, coffee and a ham and cheese sandwich on really good bread! I’d love to find a place to have a good omelette but that appears to be way too American for this country!
We head on and leave the Autostrade (highway) intentionally as the highways are a good way to get from point A to point B but not to see the countryside! And today’s journey is just over an hour by Autostrade. So we leave that road and tell our GPS to avoid toll roads. We are now driving in the Italian countryside and the pleasant factor of the trip skyrockets!
We find ourselves driving through Montepulciano, a famous area of Tuscany. We have been recommended to visit a couple of wine tasting locations by Lucrezia in Tuscan Taste in Firenze. So we navigate to the La Dolce Vita and it takes us up narrow winding roads among throngs of tourists walking in the middle of the roads! And the roads are only wide enough for a car and a half! Very picturesque buildings a thousand plus years old! Once inside, we drop the name of the lady in Firenze and the owner caters to us personally! He tells us a story of someone who came to see him named Peter. Peter Mondavi. Yes, that Mondavi! About how Peter came in search of his store!
So he gives us tastings of 7 of the wines he sells and we settle on a glass each to relax with after the tasting. The red wines were so good that Elee settles on a glass of red, Brunello di Montalcino! It is very good! The tasting turns out to be very upper class and makes a real dent in our wallet! The owner tells us that if we order 2 or more cases, he will ship it for free! A case is 12 bottles and his most inexpensive wine is 49 Euros ($57)! We take a hard pass!
So we resume our journey through this old medieval town and take what photos we can while driving. Then we navigate to our final destination for the night, in Trequanda, another 20 minutes away. We are staying at Cignello Wine Resort, that will be our home for the next 5 days. We’ll finally get a respite form our hectic schedule to this point. We have a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite on a ranch. We kick back for a while and then head into the next town over, Sinalunga, where we find grocery stores to get sundries and a restaurant to get dinner.
At the Wine Resort we have a 2 bedroom apartment all to ourselves for the next 5 days! Quite spacious and comfy! And it comes with a view! We find out the bad news later on when we discover the heating system isn’t working! But the staff brings us a space heater and plenty of wood for the fireplace!
We find a place to park near the top of a hill that comprises the town of Sinalunga and as we are checking out the parking spaces because they are marked like Italian handicapped spots, we come up next to a person getting out of a car. “Scussi?” we ask. “Do you speak English?”
“Yes”, she answers.
“Is it okay to park here? these look like handicap spaces!”
“Oh, we don’t pay attention to that!” She responds and we all chuckle.
This lady is very friendly and personable and we ask her if there are any grocery stores nearby. She tells us there is a small one a block away and much larger ones down the bottom of the hill. She then tells us she knows the proprietor of the small shop and would be glad to go with us and translate for us. (Her English is very good and she tells us she has lived in the States and in the UK) This lady is a wonderful and good person. We get some fantastic sliced meats and cheeses along with breads for sandwiches and wine. So we are good to go.
We drive on and weave our way back down the hill and come across one of the larger grocery stores and stop in. We have noticed that there are no basic sundries in our Villa. (Such as spices, condiments, Paper Towels, etc.) So we spend more money and get a few basics.
We stop at several restaurants to start with and they either did not serve what we were looking for or they couldn’t accommodate us due to it being Saturday night and we didn’t make reservations! Then we come across one called Alle Volte Ristorante and it was empty! We ask them what time people come to eat and they tell us 9 or 10 PM! I guess we are just old, LOL. But we look at the menu and they offer the meal we couldn’t find in Firenze, Bisstecca Alla Fiorentine! It is a T-Bone steak sold by the kilogram, seared and raw in the middle! So we splurge and order it and it is melt in your mouth tender! Add a glass of wine each and the total meal isn’t even out of sight on the final bill!
So another bucket list item checked off, we are satiated and happy. Now to go back to our Villa and I find my cell phone is missing. The one and only GPS tool that could find the Villa today. Oh my, what to do? We use the GPS built into the Italian rental car we have and it luckily gets us close enough that we find the correct dirt road to take us there! We go inside and my cell phone is not there either. So I do my best to stay calm and Elee, my girl scout, hands me a flashlight bless her heart, and I search the path to the car and open the door and find the phone in the darkened interior! Crisis averted!
So we are in our Villa and now have 2-3 days of breakfasts, lunches and a dinner to save us from all restaurant meals! Tomorrow we will explore this area in more detail.