Five coins, two breads, two gooses it’s all that two Florentines guys needed for buying a property that would become famous in time. So many things changed since 1400, and from a home for the Florentine nobility, the property turned into a beautiful place for spending a wine/gourmet holiday. Surrounded by hills and plains, vineyards and olives gardens Dievole offers a veritable Tuscany experience. Even though the property was traded several times, you still meet people that are working there because their ancestors were also working there, and this is nice because they care of this place. They are very proud and eager to tell you stories. There is a small church just near the reception, where they keep this contract, signed a few hundred years ago. So, back in Tuscany, like promised. Beginning of autumn, sunny weather with a bit of rain, not too warm, not too cold, just perfect for long walks or seating on a terrace having a glass of wine and a long talk. Nature in Tuscany has something special, but I also love the small cities where you meet just a few tourists and undisturbed you observe the locals. How they come in the morning open the stores pick some of the merchandise and present it by the door, talk to each other and of course try to lure you with good wines, pasta, cookies or the very expensive white truffle.
Italians are one of the oldest wine producers in the world with more then 15 regions, most of them concentrated in Tuscany and Piedmont. Of course they had ups and down in the business but what’s important is that they are now the world’s second largest wine producer behind France. The thing is that you don’t know for sure where to stop and do some shopping because there are a lot of great wines.
Montalcino, for example, a real nice city built on a hill with a very long history, still here ready to receive thousands of tourists from all over the world. I’m sure you’ve already heard about Rosso or Brunello di Montalcino. There are some cellars and shops there with a wide range of wines, from the very known and expensive ones to some you’ve never heard off, the small producers, not so expensive but also very good. And there is the third option when you go directly to the producer, big or small, whom you prefer. We chose the small producers and bought their wine on the store because it had to be delivered.
“La vita e bella….godila!” it means “life is beautiful…enjoy it!”, yes it is and yes we should, I agree. In our case, not to diverge from the blog’s topic, enjoy=travel and it can also mean eat! La Mangiatoia Ristorante is, in one of my favorites small towns, from Siena’s province, San Gimignano. The city is famous all over the world because of its medieval architecture and the preservation of some tower houses. In other cities, the towers were demolished due to wars, catastrophes or other causes, but not these. I’m not sure how they succeeded but the people from here were also lucky and I’m sure they did a hard work for having still all this churches with all the frescoes, paintings and everything after hundreds of years.
I started to tell you about eating at la Mangiatoia, pasta and salads were delicious and so was the wine from what I remember. It’s a small Ristorante, can’t be big, does it? For lunch you can’t be later than two o’clock, even if “pausa pranzo” is from 13.00 to 16.00. Lunch for Italians is the most important meal of the day and from what I know, the small communities still keep the tradition of having a long lunch at home, inviting relatives and friends to come along. It’s a nice thing to do! I like small communities and their habits!
You noticed that I have a word, or two or more about every city in the region but I think I will let you discover more and I assure you it will be a pleasant trip. Don’t hesitate to take the off roads and small vineries. For the end of the story I would like to go back from where we started, in Dievole and tell you about a nice dinner organized in the cellar, for all the guests one evening. People from at least five countries and three continents at the same table eating pasta and meat, drinking Tuscan wine, talking to each other and listening two Italian guys playing guitar and singing all kind of songs. That’s a nice picture!