Wine And Cheese And Russell Crowe

So… Today was all about food: And wine. We first visited Montepulciano, another beautiful mediaeval Tuscan town perched on top of a hill surrounded by Cypress trees and Corsican Pines, overlooking lots of other mediaeval Tuscan towns perched on top of hills etc. Tuscany really does what it says on the tin – You want Tuscan scenery, you get it. Here are some of the panoramic views from today.

Our Local Guide in Montepulciano was the husky-voiced Francesca who seems to know just about everybody in the town and delightfully introduces us to random friends that she passes in the street, As we climbed the hill we stopped at the Coppersmith shop where we met the smith who naturally (being Italian) took a shine to some our ladies. They took it rather well.

Like so much in Italy, this ancient town has a surprise at every corner. We celebrated with a wine tasting for elevenses.

One of the pleasures of Italy is the way that history integrates with modern life. I watched a little boy kicking a football against an 800 year old church. A 15th Century mansion in the central piazza isn’t just a place of interest – people live there, and best of all they hang their washing out to dry on it. I like a country where you know what underwear they will be wearing tomorrow!

From Montepulciano we moved on for lunch at the restaurant Fattoria Pulcino. Here we tried the Tuscan Pecorino cheese – It’s softer and less salty that theNorthern variety. I bought some to take home. Bruschetta, Salami, Cheese, Pasta followed by Biscotti & Vin Santo with condiments of Home made salt, chilli flakes, honey and Balsamic. And their own wine… of course. After lunch, it’s fair to say that a certain haze was beginning to develop over the afternoon.

There was nothing for it but to go for broke and stop at the neighbouring town of Pienza for ice cream – rude not to. Pienza is mainly known for wine and pecorino cheese – I walked into a couple of shops and stood and just smelled the air, fragrant with cheese (I got some funny looks for doing it).

On the way home we stopped for this view. If it looks familiar it’s because it was used in the movie ‘Gladiator’ for the final scene where he is walking through an imaginary field of wheat towards his family as he is dropping off the perch after being stabbed. After a lunch like today, I know roughly how he felt. I haven’t been able to eat dinner this evening – I’m full!

Tomorrow, a steam train journey (and a light breakfast).

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