Chianti

As a reward for good work, Joanna, Christina, and I decided to visit Chianti. For those of you who don’t know, Chianti is a region in the middle of Italy, near Florence, in Tuscany. The weather there is warmer than in Bologna, so it was a real vacation, in every sense of the word. Sunday, I left my boots and scarf at the hotel. It was wonderful.

The most famous part of Chianti is the wine, and we picked our hotel because it offered a wine tasting in its price. It was also convenient because there’s a train station in Poggibonsi, a small town with traditional restaurants.

We left Bologna Saturday morning and changed trains in Florence, from where we left for Poggibonsi. When we arrived, we realized that we forgot to bring a map of the city. After wandering around a bit, we weren’t able to find the hotel so we asked someone at a newsstand for directions, but she just laughed when we said we were walking. As it turns out, our hotel was a little ways away from the city. We had to cross two hills and a street to get there. The walk, however, was beautiful, with autumn colors everywhere and a nice set of ruins on one of the hills. There’s a saying in Italy, “il buon giorno si vede dal mattino,” which literally means “a good day can be seen from the morning,” though it tends to be said on bad days. In this case, based on a frustrating morning, I don’t think the saying is true.

The hotel was beautiful. We were the only guests, so all the attention was on us. The first day in Chianti, the hotel gardener’s son drove us over to San Gimignano, an ancient city of stone. It was a beautiful place, with artisan shops (leather, wood, ceramics) and good Tuscan food. I loved it. We explored a bit, ate a wonderful lunch, and then tasted some wine. The woman at the wine shop was nice and pretty funny, and she was cracking jokes with us. It was really fun.

When we got back to our hotel, we had our official wine tasting. The wine maker was really nice and even made a reservation at his friend’s restaurant for dinner. The wines were great, the snack he served was delicious, and the dinner he recommended was fantastic. That night was indeed vacation: we relaxed, we ate good food, and the night was perfect.

Sunday, we took a small tour around the ruins we’d seen Saturday. There was an old fort there with a restaurant inside, and a gorgeous view. We took tons of photos and ate a great lunch. It was a wonderful vacation.

The view of our lovely hotel, from across the street on the hill.


Part of the grounds around our hotel. Bellissima!


I loved this tree. So Tuscan!


Itty bitty me at the gate into San Gimignano.


One of the ceramics shops in the city.


The well in San Gimignano's main square.


A San Gimignano street.


Christina wrote her master's thesis on an altarpiece in this church, so of course we had to visit.


The view from our hotel.


Me, at our hotel. I fully intend to go back.


A Tuscan vineyard, all decked out for fall. Even the grape leaves turn orange!


The outer wall of the fort we explored.


The gate into the fort.


This tunnel led to the inner part of the fort, where we ate lunch.


The ancient door. I thought it was ridiculously cool.


The view from the top of the fort. Che bella!


Me, standing out over Tuscany. I will always have a soft place in my heart for this region.


An archaeological site inside the fort. They had signs explaining everything - it was really cool.


—–

Come un premio per buon lavoro, Joanna, Christina, ed io abbiamo deciso di visitare Chianti. Per chi non sa, Chianti è un regione nel medio Italia, vicino a Firenze, in Toscana. Il clima la è più caldo che a Bologna, quindi era una vacanza vera, in ogni senso. Domenica, ho lasciato gli stivali e la sciarpa al’albergo. Era meraviglioso.

La parte di Chianti più famosa è il vino, e abbiamo scelto il nostro albergo perche c’era l’opportunità di assiagiare i vini incluso nel prezzo. Era conveniente anche perche c’è una stazione treno a Poggibonsi, vicino al’albergo e con i ristoranti tradizionali.

Siamo partite da Bologna sabato mattina, e abbiamo cambiato il treno a Firenze, da dove siamo partite a Poggibonsi. Quando siamo arrivate a Poggibonsi, abbiamo realizzato che ci ha mancato una mappa della città. Abbiamo esplorato l’area, ma non avevamo potuto trovare l’albergo. Abbiamo chiesto direzione a qualcuno all’edicola, ma lei è solo riso quando abbiamo detto che eravamo a piedi. Il nostro albergo, com’è succeso, era un po’ lontano dalla città. Siamo dovute caminare oltre due colline, e poi attraverso la strada. La passaggiata, comunque, era bellissima, con I colori dell’autunno, ed i ruini sulla cima della collina prima. Gli italiani dicono che “il buon giorno si vede dal mattino,” ma in quel caso non credo cosí.

E era bellissimo l’albergo. Eravamo gli ospiti soli, quindi tutta l’attenzione era nostra. Il primo giorno in Chianti, il figlio del giardiniere ci ha trasportato a San Gimignano, una città vecchia fatta di pietra. È un bell posto, coi negozi artigianali (pelle, legno, ceramica) e la cucina Toscana. Mi è piaciuto molto. Abbiamo esplorato un po’, mangiato una pranza buonissima, e poi asseggiato del vino. La donna all’enoteca era simpatica e comica, e ha raccontato le barzellette con noi. Era molto divertente.

Quando siamo tornate al’albergo, è fatto la nostra degustazione di vini. Il viticoltore era molto simpatico e ha fatto una prenotazione cena al ristorante del suo amico. I vini erano buonissimi, il pasta servito con i vini era delisioso, e la cena dopo era fantastica. Quella notte era una di vacanza: riposante, piacevole, e perfetta.

Domenica, abbiamo preso un giro intorno ai ruini che abbiamo visto il giorno scorso. C’era una fortezza antica con un ristorante dentro i muri, e una vista bellissima. Abbiamo preso tantissime foto e mangiato una pranza buona e semplice. Era una vacanza meravigliosa.


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