Journal Categories
Journal Tags
« Project 365, Italy (weeks 37-39) | Main | Day 14, Chianti (and more) »

Days 15-16, More Tuscany (and saying goodbye)

We spent our final full day in Italy at wineries in Tuscany. After carefully winding our way down from our lofty accommodations we drove through the sweeping hillsides to Altesino for a booked wine tour. On the way we stopped in another small town (thankfully less steep and with wider streets) for a morning snack and made it to the winery just in time for our tour. 

In terms of size, Altesino fell somewhere between Bertani and Montegrossi. It had multiple buildings and much larger rooms than Montegrossi, but will still clearly a smaller operation. The view from the winery was spectacular, and the "snacks" they served us with the tasting actually made a delightful lunch.

We found one more winery (Poggio Antico) for a tasting on our way back, then the rest of the day we spent exploring Montepulciano, looking for a store with good cheese and meat for our late afternoon snack, and ducking into a few odd wineries there. Just up (up) the street from our hotel, the oldest winery in town (by their claims) was open for free self-guided tours. It was dark, dank, and eerie, and it still had the original Etruscan well (again, by their claim), around which the building had been built...a long time ago. The tour was great, but we passed on the wine. Really the most notable thing about Montepulciano for me were our evenings spent on the balcony, and we spent our last night there the same way we'd spent the first, with good food, drink, and company. 

The last of anything is always bittersweet. I know I awoke the next morning with that sad and lost feeling I always have when a vacation is threatening its end. I dreaded the plane rides home (and the laundry I'd have to do when I got there) and I was sad to leave behind such beauty, but after such a long absence I looked forward to seeing our dogs and getting back to life as we know it.

On that last morning (which was really the 17th day, since I never counted our first lost day of travel), we were up before the sun, and Jon, Calvin and I took our bags out to the cars where we awaited the rest of the crew. After weeks of warm sunshine it felt like fall had come in over night. A wind had picked up, and we watched lightening flash on the horizon. All was still and quiet. The countryside spreading below us was so dark that we only knew the view by the previous night's memory, and the only sounds were the soft chirps of the bats, the cooing of the pigeons (oh so many pigeons), and the crowing of a rooster off in the distance. As we stood there a few raindrops began to fall. It was a peace that felt weighty and powerful.

Those moments spent in the early morning dark belong in my memory with the evening in Verona on the hill with the bats, and the noon hour in Florence listening to the bells on top of Giotto's Tower. These were the stolen, unexpected, and yet completely unforgettable moments of the trip for me, the moments that could not have been captured in photographs. 

And then we were heading back to the airport in Rome, driving the winding streets in the dark, rain sprinkling the windshield and wind blowing yellow leaves across the road. It was a fitting goodbye, very different from the warm, sunny welcome we'd received.

The flight home came with personal TVs, lots of food, and not a wink of sleep, so that when we walked into our house that evening, having gained six hours of time, we'd been awake for a good twenty hours or more. Now if we're lucky, the time change will help us get on track to earlier bed and rising times so we have more productive days. That, however, is probably wishful thinking.

The Tuscan wineries have a thing about dogs?


Poggio Antico

we went to Italy at harvest time

shopping in Montepulciano

Old winery in Montepulciano

Etruscan well?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.