Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 9: More wine tasting and Tuscan castles!

It was our third day in wine country. We woke up and had breakfast outside.  We then departed for Castello Verrazzano- a short ten minute drive north of Greve on the SR 222. It is located in Greti.  See my review here. 

We arrived without any issues and waited a few minutes for the entire tour group to show up. After about fifteen minutes our group was there.  It was quite large, with about 30 people waiting to tour the Tuscan castle. We first toured the gardens.  Our tour guide was quite humorous, but his accent was so thick, he was somewhat difficult for us to understand at times. He briefed us on the history of the castle. Giovanni da Verrazzano, celebrated navigator and discoverer of the bay of New York and the majority of the east coast of America, was born here in 1485. The famous bridge in New York was named after him in 1964.

Wild boar are common in these parts, and we could hear them as we walked through the gardens, but could only see one sleeping off in the corner.  Next we received a tour of the cellars and learned more about the wine-making process. 

The Cellars
We were escorted into the restaurant on the premises, which was very elegant. We sat at round tables of eight.  We ended up sitting with four girls who were on holiday from studying abroad in Rome, although they normally attend school in Florida.  Also at our table was a couple that we got to know fairly well.  Jack and Vanessa were from Calgary, Canada, and we ended up having a lot in common. They were a very nice, fun couple with many of the same interests as us.  In fact, Jack is also a fifth grade teacher so we had many stories to share!  It was interesting to compare the differences between living and teaching in Canada verses the states.  He informed us that teachers with my experience and education make an average of $120,000 per year! He almost convinced us that moving to Calgary would be an excellent move... 
The wine tasting at Castello Verrazzano! 
The restaurant at Castello Verrazzano
The wine tasting was excellent!  We tasted several different Verrazzano wines, as well as their grappa in coffee (yikes!). That stuff is SO strong! They also served us a traditional Tuscan appetizer which included several different meats, salamis, pecorino cheese, homemade honey and balsamic vinegar, and bread.  Evidently one of the meats provided was wild boar, but I have no idea which one it was. Vegetarian plates were also available upon request.  I was looking longingly at the fresh cut veggies on the plate across from the table from me.  They looked so good and refreshingly different. 
Traditional Tuscan appetizer
We were at Castello Verrazzano almost three and a half hours!  (Many people left about an hour earlier, but we were so wrapped up in our wine and conversation!) We bought a bottle of their rose and headed back to our room at Casa Nova La Ripintura in the mid-afternoon and proceed to drink more wine on our terrace until we were nice and toasty.  We had great conversation as we relaxed. 

Later that evening we again walked into town and headed to the co-op one last time to stock up for our train ride tomorrow- Pringles and pineapple juice. We ventured through the scenic piazza and then headed to dinner at our favorite spot- La Bogetta del Moro.  It was just so good. Again, we split the bold bruschetta.  We then shared the wonderful lasagna and the risotto with saffron and zucchini. It was all excellent as usual. 

We walked back to the agriturismo, fed the ducks and nutria once more, and eventually went to bed. It was a very hot and uncomfortable night. 

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