Sunday morning we woke up for the first time as husband and wife. Practically speaking, nothing had changed. Emotionally speaking, everything was different. We had taken a big step and everything just seemed to shine. At breakfast the honey was a litte sweeter, the smiles a little broader, and the laughter a little louder – life a little better.
Sunday morning we went to Siena and walked around a bit. I’ve always preferred the “Renaissance” of Florence to the “Medieval” of Siena, but, as we were at the cusp of tourist season, it was nice being in a place that was a little less mobbed. In line with Katie’s and my travel philosophy, we spent most of our time in Siena eating!
Lunch was at a restaurant called Antica Osteria da Divo, a little place near the Duomo built into Etruscan caves. They set up tables for our group in one of the caves and we dined all afternoon. After that we moved onto San Gimignano for towers, gelato, and vino. We capped it all off with home cooking back at the Castello – what more can you really want in a day?
Monday we went wine tasting again – this time in the Chianti Classico region. First we traveled north to Greve, where we tasted at Villa Calcinaia, owned by the Capponi family, including my former professor. The other brother, Sebastiano, runs the wine business and honored us with some storytelling while we tasted his organic olive oil, sangiovese, Chianti Classico, and Chianti Classico Riserva.
We arrived at Calcinaia more than one hour late (Consistency!) but tarried there even longer than anticipated because everyone wanted to buy their wine afterward. As a consequence, we didn’t reach our next appointment, Castello di Brolio, until three hours after our appointment time. We were scheduled to have lunch there followed by a tour and wine tasting. However, by the time we arrived, their osteria was already closed. They were kind enough to provide lots of food with our wine tasting – which was fortunate since we were starving by then!
The tour of the castle, where Chianti was “invented” was interesting and further fueled my desire to have a castle someday. The tasting reinforced my opinion that the Chiantis of Barone Ricasoli are really outstanding and can go head-to-head even with some Brunelli. Another night of dining “in” at the castello was a great finish to the day.
Tuesday was our last full day at the Castello so Katie and I decided just to hang out. Once again the weather was gorgeous so we walked the grounds a bit, spent time with those who were leaving, and had a long lunch with plenty of wine – which was, of course, followed by a similarly long nap!
Tuesday night we went into town for dinner in Castelnuovo Berardenga. We found a very nice little enoteca/trattoria where we dined on local specialties for hours. To accompany the typical Tuscan fare, we drank 2006 Dievole Chianti Classico Riserva Novecento, which was fantastic – one of the best wines we drank the entire trip, which is saying something!
Wednesday came and at last it was time to depart. It had been an incredible stay at Castello di Montalto and we would strongly recommend it to anyone looking for home base in Tuscany – tell them we sent you! On our way down to Rome we stopped in Orvieto for lunch. Orvieto was really charming and next time we are around it will merit more time than we gave it on this brief stop.
We spent Wednesday night in Rome, which was like an entirely different world. Driving in traffic was stressful, menus were in English, and the fantastic surreality was gone. Still, Katie and I were grinning from ear to ear recounting the amazing week we had had.