Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tuscany Wine Walk- Chianti

The day began with a visit to the Museum of Sacred Art and Archaeology at Asciano. The main objective was to see the altar screen depicting the Birth of the Virgin painted in 1437. The picture shows the Madonna's mother,St Anna in the right frame. The work sucessfully translates of a Biblical theme into a Tuscan setting. The figures are fresh and light with a vitality often lacking in religious old masters. We also saw many Etruscan artifacts dug from local graves.

     Our next objective was the Castello Di Brolio, a grim fortress held in the Ricasoli family for over a 1000 years. The castle was at the centre of many of the power struggles that afflicted Italy long after countries such as France and England were unified under strong monarchs by the end of the medieval period. The main protaganists were the Holy Roman Empire based in Germany allied with Siena and the Papacy in league with Florence which conquered southern Chianti and Brolio at the end of the twelfth century. However the castle changed hands several times before the Medici's unified Tuscany under their rule in the sixteenth century.

     A walk through the vineyards took us to our Chianti tasting  with Sylvie and Roberto at Podere Torreno near Volpaia. We entered their ancient  house via a geranium garlanded stone staircase leading into a totally authentic rustic living space dominated by the enormous fireplace. We tasted their Chianti and Chianti Classico over a splendid lunch.

Dinner in Pienza was in the Restaurant Bacchus. Good food if a little expensive.

The Stuart Agenda by Alan Calder published by Willow Moon. E-book and paperback from all Amazon sites. Reviews at

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