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Dawgs, Hills, and Pottery!
Part Two: The Beauty of Tuscany
  • Writer's picturesbcrosby .


I have not been inclined to write my usual daily blogs on this trip for a couple of reasons. First, this has not been typical of most of our European adventures where we go, go, go, and see, see, see. We returned to Tuscany to intentionally slow down and enjoy local towns, countryside views, and relaxation with friends. That’s what this week has delivered, and it’s been wonderful.

We spent most of Tuesday poolside, enjoying the warm breeze and rolling hills in front of us. It was too chilly to swim (at least for me!), but we soaked up the warmth of the Tuscan sun. We enjoyed a delicious salad and pasta meal, compliments of chefs Kim and Mark, on Tuesday evening. It’s amazing how a few simple, fresh ingredients make for some of the best meals!

After a lazy morning, we ventured out on Wednesday to nearby Montepulciano. The town dates back to the 4th century BC when it was founded by the Etruscans. The town sits high up on a ridge and provides breathtaking views of the valleys and hills below it, lined with vineyards, cypress trees, and rolling farmland.

In addition to the hidden tunnels and wells throughout the underground of this city, which provided water for its original residents, Montepulciano is famious for its picturesque yet steep streets, lined with shops selling wines, cheeses, and local artisan goods. It’s also famous for its wine – vino nóbile di Montepulciano. This was one of the first wines with an origin guaranteed by the Italian government; it’s a blend of Sangiovese, canaiolo, and mammolino grapes.

As we meandered our way up the main street, a restaurant balcony with the most amazing views caught our eye. We had to stop for an Aperol Spritz and some antipasti!

It’s only fitting that we chose a wine tasting while in Montepulciano. Porta di Bacco is both a wine shop and and restaurant, recommended to us by two new friends with ties to Georgia, Gina and Inger. Our host, Valentino, shared five local wines – one white, and four red – with us, and provided details on the origin of each. It’s no surprise that our favorite happened to be the bottle that was selling for £220!

After our wine tasting, we enjoyed a fantastic meal and the great company of our dear friends. The star dishes of the evening were the hand-pulled pici with classic Tuscan ragù and roast suckling pork with sautéed vegetables, apple and mustard.

After dinner, we carefully made our way back to our villa, which includes about 20 minutes through steep, winding, narrow roads up into the hills above Sarteano. All in all, another fantastic day in this beautiful country.


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