We left the Casale (country house) at first light listening to the hum of the vehicle as we drove along the winding white road to the exit of the estate. The sun was just rising and we were savouring another day’s sunrise, with the soft pale pink and yellow flickers of light illuminating the grey stone of the Tenuta di Arceno entrance. Bellisimo (beautiful).
I wonder how many sunrises have shone on this ancient key hole? How many will I be blessed to enjoy?
We were heading to the outskirts of Firenze (Florence) to pick up a few things for the Casale and for the first time we were going to use the vehicles GPS and ditch my “old school” approach to navigation, map in hand. We thought we would stop on our way back in Greve in Chianti and pick up some meat and wine from the local shops.
We arrived in Greve after getting lost in the Chianti Hills for an hour (or so), our neighbour James would later tell us; “GPS does not work in the Chianti Hills”, all of us laughing as we recounted our days adventure.
We settled in Greve for the remainder of the day and finished a pigra (lazy) walk around the triangular-shaped Piazza Matteotti. Admiring the simple designs of the 17th century soft honey hued buildings surrounding the stone Piazza, many with glossy green shutters and heavy wooden doors, adorned with wrought iron knockers and decorative bars on the windows.
The simple Church of Santa Croce standing at the southern tip of the Piazza made me think of this past Christmas, we had stopped to admire the beautiful naivety scene located just outside its main doors. My husband’s family had their baby Jesus stolen from their manger one holiday, they still wonder, “who would take baby Jesus”?
We have yet to view the paintings of the school of Fra Angelico inside, maybe next time we visit.
I stopped to admire the stunning bronze sculpture Torso Alato (Winged Torso) located just outside the doors of the city hall. The naked bronze male torso shone in the sun, visitors stopping to admire it stating, “magnifico” (magnificent) or giving it a quizzical look with furrowed brows stating “disgustoso” (disgusting) as they turned walking away.
In either event, the torso “Rules” the Piazza and in Canada it would have to wear an under garment to be on display.
To the left of the naked torso stands the glorious statue of the Black Rooster, the symbol of the Chianti Wine Region since 1716 and has become Tuscany’s way of marking the entrances to the Chianti wine territory with Greve being referred to as the “city of wine”.
The tranquility of the day was interrupted by the ferocious barking of cani (dogs). The owners were pulling on their tethers trying to contain their beloved animals.
One lady had dug her heels into the cobblestones, her back arching as she pulled on the leash shouting; ” Formati, Calmati” (Stop, Calm down).
Another could be heard “barking” orders, “Arreste”(Stop), “Bruno”!
There was a rotund English bull-dog showing an uncharacteristic amount of excitement, a sleek black Doberman coming to a dead stop, legs tightened and outstretched, a small terrier making more noise than the two larger dogs combined.
The source of their excitement was the fully sized, stuffed, wild boar standing by the doors of the Antica Macelleria Falorni. http://www.falorni.it/#&panel1-2 , one of the oldest butcher shops in Italy.
The Doberman initially turned off by the size of the wild boar appeared to be contemplating a new mate, while the other two canines determined it may be too big for them to handle, quickly sauntered off.
I whispered, “I hope I am never stuffed” as we continued to munch on the “filling” shortbread pastries with cioccolato (chocolate) we had just purchased at Pasticceria Chianti (Facebook Pasticceria Chianti). The irony not lost on me.
My eyes were beginning to hurt from the blazing sun as we walked under one of the arched loggias lining the three sides of the Piazza. The shade of the loggia’s providing some welcome relief from the heat while we dawdled through the shops.
The intricate lamps hanging under the loggia’s added to the quaint feeling as we entered one of the many wine Endoteca’s.
The Endoteca was literally stacked floor to ceiling with local wine varieties such as; Vignamaggio, Montefiorelle, Lamole, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Felsina, Fontodi and Verrazzano.
Hearing, “Maybe I’ll pick up a Super Tuscan” as two ladies were speaking with the young shop owner about shipping to the US, while others were leaving with paper bags filled with their selections. “Grazie” (thank you).
The antique shop still had the antique brass wine opener my husband admired on a previous trip; perhaps something for our upcoming anniversary?
The tiny linen shop with the white linen hand towels delicately embroidered with olive trees and lavender was brimming with Donne (women), a shopper was touching the fabrics much to the chagrin of the owner.
We stopped and spoke to the souvenir shop owner, her daughter had left her small white lap dog with her for the day. Its little pink tongue hung out of the right side of its mouth, teeth protruding as its tail wagged briskly as it snuggled in. I picked the dog up for a few moments, enjoying the unexpected amore (love).
We headed to the Antica Macelleria Falorni the source of todays excitement, deciding to pick up some sliced meats and cheese for cena (dinner). While having a glass of Chianti Classico we sauntered through the market, taste testing meats while choosing from the excellent selection of salami’s and prosciutto’s made fresh, some with fennel, garlic, wine, tartufo, hot and mild. We pick up some salami with fennel, plain prosciutto and some cheese with tartufo.
We enjoyed walking back to our parking area through the stonewalled alleyways while continuing our window shopping.
As we crossed the Greve River, a young mother wearing tight jeans and red high heels, skillfully manoeuvred her beautiful baby arround us while looking at her iPhone. I was impressed by her dexterity.
While pausing to appreciate the soft breeze made slightly cooler by the water below, cyclists glided so closely by us, we could feel a gust of wind. The groups chatter grew louder as they tried talking over the whirl of their wheels, hands moving, some landing on their handle bars, others not.
The black metal Chianti Rooster proudly guarding the parking area, looked as though he was about to jump off his perch at our arrival, given GPS was not required to find our destination….
The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.- Pablo Picasso
We headed on home, driving through the gorgeous landscape of the cypress trees, rolling hills, vineyards and olive groves, deciding to stop at the Vignamaggio Winery. (http://www.vignamaggio.com/en/la-fattoria/vino/).
We picked up some bottles of Terre di Prenzano wine, in preparation for our dear friends, a couple who will be visiting us this fall.
Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici – We cannot have a perfect life without friends. – Dante
This will be the “first” of many friends, some long-standing and some newer, to visit; a gaggle of women for a day in November, then my “maid of honour” and her beloved late Spring, another couple, both historical experts the following fall.
They will all be sharing in the joy that only visiting Tuscany can bring, creating memories for all of us, “our history”.
Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the rest of your life – Anna Akhmatova
AZQuotes. (No date). Anna Akhmatova Quotes (Web Site). Retrieved from: http://www.azquotes.com/quote/687192
BrainyQuotes. (2001-2017). Dante Quotes (Web Site). Retrieved from: (https://www.brainyquote.com/authors/dante_alighieri
Pablo Picasso.org. (2009-present). Picasso Quotes (Web Site). Retrieved from: https://www.pablopicasso.org