Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Tuscan Treat

Ok, now it's official. I'm never leaving Italy!

We spent the afternoon at Castello di Verrazzano having an amazing 3 hour luncheon, tasting wine and balsamico, and meeting some new friends along the way.

Before leaving Denmark, I searched online from some interesting places to do some wine tasting, castle tours, luncheons and cooking classes. I stumbled upon Castello di Verrazzano and checked out the reviews on TripAdvisor (my new-found friend) and SlowTraveler. After reading the rave reviews and spending the afternoon there, I can see why so many people enjoy the visit.

Wine tastings in Tuscany are quite different than they are in Napa, California. In Napa, we are accustomed to just driving along the main highway and stopping in at Beringer or V. Sattui or Sterling...no appointments, just pulling in the parking lot and making your way to the tasting room. It's not that easy in Tuscany. You have to do a little research and make appointments.

And, getting from one place to the next is not as easy as driving 5 minutes up the road. It's a series of hairpin turns, 1 - 1.5 lane country roads lined with olive trees and grapevines. Trust me...I was the designated driver after today's luncheon/tasting....and I spent about an hour zipping around in my 'Danish gocart' of a car. It's a good thing there weren't many cars on the road!

Back on task....Verrazzano....Phillipo was our tour guide and host for the 3.5 hour affair. We toured the grounds, cellars, and our table was overflowing with food and wine.

Our table of 8 included 2 couples from Copenhagen and a couple from Atlanta. We said we were from Chicago....but it was kind of funny to watch the Danes chat away in Danish rather than engaging in conversation with the rest of the table. Well, until I said in my best Danish... 'Hej. Jeg hedder Holly o kommer fra Chicago' (Hi, my name is Holly and I'm from Chicago.) You should have seen their mouths drop. Heeheee. Maybe this was a little mean of me, but after that our table of half in one language and half in another, went to some great conversations in a single language.

Our afternoon at Verrazzano was wonderful. Here are a few pictures of the grounds and the surrounding Tuscan landscape.

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