Rich, old and full of charm. Toscana is where legends are at a standstill. Time is slow, it simply flows right into history. The most perfect landscape rolls into the richest vineyards and the noblest cities of art in the whole wide world. Honestly now: if you were a supernatural being, where would you live?
Father of Chianti Classico, reveal your presence!
Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy. Winemakers since 1141 when the family acquired the magnificent Brolio Castle and the surrounding vineyards, the Ricasolis had the nose and the palate for creating good wines.
Talent and erudition run in the family, culminating with the one and only Bettino Ricasoli, known as the Iron Baron, who is the inventor of the famous formula for Chianti Classico in 1872. He took some 30 years to come up with the magical formula that still endures today, as powerful as the greatest poets’ verse, as memorable and everlasting as the capolavori of the Rennaissance. Too proud and forever hooked on his Chianti Classico, the Baron still haunts the vineyards around Brolio Castle, easily spotted on full moon nights by those truly intoxicated with the noble liquor. He should look something like this:
The cruel fate of the temptress
Countess Matelda was a beautiful woman with an appetite. She took another lover each night and killed them the next morning. She was worth the fatal price, though, since she managed to tempt countless men along the years, until the women in the village rallied up to wall her alive in the tower that hosted the nights of pleasure. It all happened in Castello Poppi. This is the one castle that strikes as similar to Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and it is said to have been built by the same architect, Arnolfo di Cambio, who used it as a prototype for the later masterpiece in Florence. You can discover it a half hour drive east of Florence, and you can see for yourself whether Matelda’s seduction endures inside the unusually alluring walls of the fortress.
The iconic cypress tree
The Tuscan landscape is defined by its iconic cipressi, gracefully lining the estate roads for millenia. What almost nobody knows is that this type of cypress tree is originary from Persia and brought here by the Etruscan tribes, who worshiped it because of its longevity and powerful scent. This species of cypress tree can live for 1000 years, grow 25 m tall and has a very strong flavoured raisin that refreshes the air wherever planted. The Etruscans believed the cypress tree is divine, and used to plant it around the home and the burial places for good luck and abundance.
Volterra and the Volturi
You’d think the author of Twilight has a rich imagination, ergo she invented the whole vampire clan of Volturi stuff. What if it’s the other way round? Volterra after sunset reveals the city’s third dimension: mystery. The old families thrive here, and ageless creatures go out at twilight. And yes, their skin is as pale and fine and cold and luscious as Volterra’s beloved alabaster.
A church without a roof: is it a holy thing or the work of evil? And what about the sword that remains stuck in a stone for 800 years now: is this witchcraft or what? It is said that many years ago, a retired knight came here to forget about war and live in peace and find God. He stuck his sword in a stone, turning it into a cross to prey at. The sword has not moved an inch ever since.