• everydaymagic

    Fall escape: Vendemmia in Toscana

    September is here, so we are slowly getting ready for one of our favorite escapes, the vendemmia in Toscana. And while we’re at it, we save the dates in the calendar – well, the usual wonders: the winetastings, the community harvest and the exploration of the cantine, the local fairs honoring Baccus, the mystery tours and the pranzoni – all the incredible food of the season. This year, due to hot weather and climate particularities, the vendemmia takes place sooner than usual. Forecast says historical low harvest but some extraordinary grapes to be expected in very limited quantities. Heat waves and extreme weather grew smaller, atypical grapes, and quality variations…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON VERONA

    The city of Romeo and Juliet can become a love story, and not necessarily a tragic one.  Of all the things to love here, the house of Giulietta and the famed balcony are the least lovable, while the tons of heart and Cupid and flashy red souvenirs are maybe the only real tragedy  that happened to this place.  So forget about that story, and bear in mind that Shakespeare wrote two more Verona-related plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona and the wonderful Taming of the Shrew.  I very much  wanted to see the house where Katherina was tamed, but no reference to that, I’m afraid. There is still the house of…

  • fantastic journeys,  Uncategorized

    Driving through Chianti Classico

      Follow La Strada del Chianti and stop along the way to your heart’s desire. Etruscans were first here, then Romans drove their carts on these roads. A land of tremendous beauty and forever radiating serenity, the wine road witnessed the obsessive conflicts between Florence and Siena, undisturbed by battles and time. Looking at the map, the villages, vineyards and castles of Chianti Classico can be found along the SR222. We started from our beloved Monteriggioni and went up through Castellina to Greve in Chianti, then round towards Castelnuovo Berardenga in our search for Brolio Castle.  In Castellina, we walked the Via delle Volte and visited the Rocca Comunale, the…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    300 years of Chianti Classico

      On Sept. 24, 1716, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici officially delineated the borders of the Chianti wine region. Which basically makes him a personal favorite and a hero. Him and Barone Ricasoli, of course. Cosimo had quality control teams patrolling the vineyards in the area and made sure that no other wine outside this blessed realm could be called Chianti, ever again. A predecessor to what would become the modern Denominazione d’Origine Controllata (DOC) and DOCG wine labeling system, the Grand Duke’s act was the first of its kind in Europe. Genius. 300 years later, thehappyfew couldn’t have missed the celebrations. On September 24, 2016,…

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Supernatural

      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…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Val d’Orcia and the ideal city

    One fine day, the Architect looked out of the window to see the future; he saw a utopian landscape of pale green fields and pure skies, rolling into forever. Then he took a brush and four colors and started painting: pale yellowish green for the fields, dark green for the cypresses, blue azzuro for the skies and warm brown for the roads and the farms. You think I’m being rather corny, poetic with a touch of mysticism. I can be all that, but today I’m merely factual. The Val d’Orcia, another world favorite of the happy few, is a region of perfect landscape south of Siena, included in the UNESCO…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    Toscana: 12 days of grace

    There’s only one thing I can think of that can make leaving Florence bearable: leaving it for Chianti. Yes the wine. And the life. I pack my things carelessly, throw everything in the small Fiat or Mini I rented, and head south for the SR222. First timers are warned: go my way, not the highway. What I mean is take the SR222, the “wine” road through the villages and vineyards of Chianti Classico. I always stay at a farmhouse near Monteriggioni, but any farm or agriturismo along the way will do the trick. The Chiantigiana cures the blues of Florence’s graceful rooftops as it lulls you sweetly over the lazy countryside. Before you can…