We bade the exotic vertically stacked villages of Cinque Terre a goodbye and started our last segment of the Italian vacation.
Chianti. The imagery the word evokes is a long necked flask wrapped in hay carrying Sangiovese wine. (The flask, btw, is called a fiasco).
Chianti is wine country. It extends from Florence all the way up to Sienna. This area produces some of the best wine labels in the world. We had picked Chianti to be our head quarters for the last leg allowing us easy access to Florence.
The Alfa Romeo hurtled east toward Firenze – Florence - and just as Michelangelo’s hometown threatened to swallow us, we saw a trickle of an exit promising us Tavarnalle dela Pesa. Before turning towards Sambuca and our 200 year old summer cottage, we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall for a supreme Tuscan spaghetti garnished with tomato sauce cooked in onion, garlic and bell pepper. We then followed the directions to Sambuca, driving over a 12th century Roman bridge and found ourselves in front of the gates of Mulino dell ‘Abate.
Mulino dell ‘Abate is a 11th century mill that has been restored recently – about 300 years ago.
A 17th century villa is sits on a few acres of Chianti countryside on the west bank of the muddy Pesa river. The villa has 3 rose-clad cottages, several outdoor barbeques, a kitchen garden the size of a small farm growing asparagus, tomatoes, a modern swimming pool and a marble colossus of Joachim Berthier.
The gravel parking lot boasted a a late 60s VW bug and a Lamborghini tractor.
I recommend this place.
Our cottage, Tinaina, has a living room with a tiny kitchen, a bedroom with an attached bath all tastefully done with rustic antiques. (Later, we learnt that the owner owns an antique shop in a nearby town).
While Rhea immediately ran out to scatter the poultry, we settled down under a cherry tree for a Chardonnay induced siesta taking in the Chianti sun.
Later in the evening, we set out to buy ourselves some grocery only to find that the town sleeps early. Not a single soul in sight. Not a shop open. We tried Sambuca, 5 KM, away. Same story. We then drove another 5KMs to Tavarnalle to get ourselves a bottle of a vintage, some milk, fruits and candies.
With that we retired.