Italy, the name evokes so much for travelers, novice and seasoned alike. It calls out to our collective past, both as a seat of contemporary sophistication and culture and as one of the forges from which our western world emerged. Its history is a fascinating blend of Imperial Roman, dazzlingly brilliant Renaissance with its powerful city states, and a long, sometimes troubled transition into the beautiful, thoroughly captivating nation it is today. For more information on this wonderful destination, contact your travel professional!
In this Italian region blessed by the gods, rolling hills are lined with vineyards, cypresses stand guard in front of proud cottages and the art of « living well » seems to be cultivated along with sangiovese! Join in the dolce vita with this itinerary centering on good food and good wines!
Connecting Florence to Siena, Via Chiantigiana leads to the heart of historic Chianti Classico. In Panzano, discover the magnificent Azienda Fontodi, one of the pioneers of biodynamic vine-growing in the area. This Biodistritto vineyard is also known for its Flaccianello della Pieve : both its 2006 and 2007 vintages ranked in eighth position in the Wine Spectator’s « Top 100 Wines of the World ». Then, drive on to Greve to take in its flower market. At the Antica Macelleria Falorni, an atmospheric butcher shop from another era, don’t forget to taste the region’s celebrated salami! Continuing to San Polo, you will come across an impressive olive grove and iris plantations. That’s Azienda Pruneti where you’re more than welcome to sample exquisite olive oil.
The panorama around here being simply breathtaking, it’s no wonder that Unesco entered Val d'Orcia, where the town of Montepulciano is located, on its World Heritage List ! Respected town dwellers for over 1000 years, the Contuccis invite you to enjoy yet another "local treat" : their Vino Nobile, one of the world’s finest wines. Once produced only by nobles for nobles, it is still elaborated in the family’s fabulous palazzo. After visiting the winery, remember to try the regional culinary specialty: pici all'Aglione, large handmade spaghetti topped with a tomato sauce seasoned with sweet garlic. Delizioso!
Enoteca La Fortezza is a most beautiful setting to enjoy the view on the valley and a glass of Brunello di Montalcino, one of the best red wines in the world (another one!). Located within the grounds of the imposing medieval fortress, it overlooks an amazing landscape. From up there, the neighboring village of Montosoli, the « hill of the sun », and Azienda Baricci can be seen. Labeled « Slow Wine », just like Fontodi, because its production perfectly expresses the soil’s characteristics, this family winery is well worth a visit. The welcome is warm and owners are passionate about their wine-making. As a result, their Brunello and its little brother Rosso truly do honor to the denominazione!
A cured sausage made in Greve reminds us of an era when Italy was not yet producing its « Super Tuscans »… Called finocchiona (of infinocchiare, « bamboozle »), it was served to buyers at tastings in the hope that the fennel it contains would hide the wine’s flaws. Over the years, bad wines have disappeared, but the delicious salami is still around!
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