The final leg of the journey includes hot baths and a 2kg beefsteak, I love you Italy …really
There are so many roundabouts ( rotundas) and cross roads and freeways in Italy it is a constant surprise each time you happen upon another priceless scene. We have arrived at Amepelia winery via this network of roads , and I am stunned to see the property stretch out to the sea on one horizon and on the other the medieval town of Roccatederighi . It is a breathtaking place in the hills of Tuscany near Maremma.
This rather new venture ( 2002) between hot winemaker Elisabetta Foradori, and two partners is a vision and an unfolding story. There are 7 different grape varieties grown on 40ha over 3 different micro-climates the altitudes varying from 600mtr to 200 mtr sloping down towards the sea. They make 3 blends and sell a total of only 100,00 bottles each year. But oh these wines…..
I am currently crushing on one called “Unlitro”. For a start, I am sure you can deduce that the 1 litre (2 pints) size of the bottle figures in the attraction I feel for it. A blend of fruit from the younger vines near the coast, it’s 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre, matured for 6 months in cement and bottled . That little extra just makes me happy
The road winds on through the countryside and I have plenty of time to day dream while an unintelligible discussion evolves around me. There are rolling hills and ancient buildings. We pass through towns with churches that devour the roads and men sitting on roadside seats smoking. I don’t see any animals grazing and wonder about that too. We arrive in Saturnia an hour out of Siena, an old Roman spa town with natural mineral springs. You can bath in the hot mineral waters for free, or choose an upmarket way to pamper yourself at one of the resorts.
Us? We are doing bed and breakfast. I can report that bed and breakfast in Italy is not dissimilar to anywhere else . Lots of lace, nick naks and tiny cramped conditions. There is a choice of at least 4 cakes for breakfast though, and this makes our driver (The Entrepreneur) very happy.
Later in the afternoon we are in the Piazza in the old town in Saturnia. It is my favourite time of the early evening ‘Aperitivo’ . We duck into a cute little bar and fuel up on Negronis and I watch with some interest as the boys polish off plate after plate of bar snacks with their drinks. I have a small taste of a delicious local green olive pate and an artichoke pate but I am saving up for dinner. The restaurant is a rather touristy one but as we enter we see what we have come here at il Due Cippi.
It’s full of tanned people dressed in Armani but this of coarse has no bearing on my excitement, I don’t care about Armani, I want dinner! There is a large fireplace and this is gently burning even though it is close to summer. The walls are white washed and the ceiling is rounded and made of stone. It’s like an ancient cellar and it’s perfect. I am just so pleased to be here, in this restaurant in this town eating and drinking and having this amazing experience
We choose and entrée and view the piece of Bistecca alla Fiorentina that will be grilled for us. It’s a bit over 2 kg. Its from local cattle and it has been hung at the restaurant
and then the Steak and a bottle of wine I will never forget……………..the meat is so tender and cooked to a charcoal flavoured perfection….
Cantuccini and vin santo It was full moon when we left the restaurant. We walked to the car . The others got in and started the car while I took a photo of the bell tower bathed in moonlight. I could see the car running and everyone in side waiting so I hurried along tucking my camera away as I went. I raced up to the front of the car and pulled the front passenger side door open. There, sitting at the steering wheel looking shocked was the Entrepreneur. I must have had one glass of wine too many because I was trying to get into the drivers side…..well I’m Australian so I was technically right!
The next morning after my embarrassing mix up, the boot was repacked and arranged and we set off for Roma. The scenery started to change with the hills flattening out. Some sheep and cattle started to appear, grazing here and there. We came over a rise and I could see the sea in the distance about an hour out of Roma. We were nearly there. Now to navigate the freeways and roads of Rome, it’s like snakes and ladders.
You know our trip has nothing to do with tourism, unless you count visiting one of the most interesting concepts in food stores today Eataly, I mentioned it here in a previous post. Eataly is astonishing in size and concept and there’s one opening in Australia soon.
We have time to find our hotel in a coast side suburb near the airport called Fiumicino. a seaside suburb where people go to eat and relax in the summer. This is what happens at Fiumicino ‘s cute seaside restaurants and volleyball courts.
It’s a wild and windy afternoon and the boys go for a little rest but I am fascinated by Fiumicino. It’s an odd place, kind of like an old caravan park that is deserted. So I snap photos and wander around …getting ready for dinner. I think this might be a treat . We are heading out to dinner in one of the hottest new restaurants in Rome called Romeo. Romeo, Chef and Baker. Its a day to night concept part gourmet store part bakery and delicatessen. There are 4 experienced chefs and along with the traditional there are some interesting modern elements.
No prices no descriptions but this is what it looks like.
Italy. What’s amazing and funny and plain wonderful?
Hope you enjoyed my trip through Italy
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