Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Monte San Savino and more

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

We planned a nice leisurely drive out to Monte San Savino, a town about an hour's drive from the villa, to check out the market which runs till about noon on Wednesdays.  We left the villa at about 9:00 am.  The scent of linden in the air was pretty strong this morning.  We drove along country roads and Tom2 took us over some pretty rough roads.  I think Tom2 can be a little strange at times.

We found parking on the edge of the town and started walking upwards - we figured the centre of town was probably further up the hill and that the market was most likely to be there.  We guessed right and found the first of the market stalls not too far along the road we chose.

Petros in Monte San Savino
 We went to the first bar on the street and had freshly squeezed orange juices and coffees.  After that, Irene and I went to the yarn store, which did not appear to have a name while Florine and Petros wandered around on their own.  Irene and I both bought yarn - a 80% wool and 20% cashmere blend for Euro 4.50 per ball, which was a bargain.  We even got buttons to match the yarns.  Irene has promised to work her magic and turn the yarn and buttons that I bought into a sweater in some future time.  Florine joined us at the store and bought 2 balls of mohair blend yarn for a scarf.  More yarn for Irene to apply her magic to.

Irene in the yarn store in Monte San Savino
Florine and Petros found a great shop that sold salami, cheese and porchetta.  We had a quick lunch of porchetta at the steps of a church before exploring the various stalls further.  Irene almost bought a very pretty linen dress but it did not come in her size.  Most of the clothing were BIG.

Irene and Petros outside the shop that sold porchetta, salami, cheese and jellies.
Irene and I then went to the Cafe de la Luna for a snack while Florine and Petros went back to the first bar for ice coffee.  When Petros asked for an ice coffee at the Cafe de la Luna,  the waiter gave him a glass of cold milk.  He was not going to risk getting another glass of milk again.  Irene and I each got a gelato after our snack and walked over to join them at the other bar.  From there, we watched the vendors pack up their stalls, which were based in their trucks.  They have some amazing trucks - display stands that roll back into the back of the trucks, where every item has its place and no space is wasted, awnings that retract and are stored on the roof of the truck, side panels that slide back in to place; all manner of contrivances that make trucks into mobile stalls.

Monte San Savino after the market ended.

View from Monte San Savino

View of Monte San Savino from our parking lot.
From Monte San Savino, we headed for Gorgonza.  We did not really know anything about Gorgonza, but it was only 7 kms from where we were.  We did see a photo of it on a road sign as we were driving up the mountain and it looked really cool.  It is a small walled village with a tower and a church.  We drove 7 kms and saw no sign of the village.  We stopped and entered Gorgonza in Tom2 and we were directed to go back down past Monte San Savino.  We soon realized that Tom2 was crazy/lost/irrational and we turned around and went back up the mountain. By now, it had become a mission to see Gorgonza.

We stopped by the roadside half way up the hill when we saw a little old lady picking something off a tree.  She told us that the fruit she was picking was Moro which Irene said was mulberry.  The lady said she would soak the moro in alcohol for 14 days, then remove the fruit and drink the alcohol at Christmas.  We figured we would just eat the couple of handfuls that we picked.  They look like blackberries and are very sweet.  When we asked her where Gorgonza was, she said it was about 5 or 6 kms up the hill.  We headed up the hill and finally found the village.  We parked the car and walked further up the hill into the village.  We had not known it, but the whole village had been turned into a bed and breakfast operation.  We met some English speaking tourists who were staying at the village and who were just heading out to a winery.  We wondered around for a while before heading off for another village.

View of the tower at Gorgonza.

Inside Gorgonza


Florine and Irene in Gorgonza
We found ourselves in Ambra, another little village with the requisite church and bell towers, wall and narrow alleys.  First things first, we found a bar to have coffee, juices and gelato before exploring the village.  That did not take long.


We headed back on the road towards Bucine with thoughts of finding a cantina.  After all, we were on the Arezzo wine trail (Strada del Vina Terre di Arezzo) although we had yet to see any wineries.  We stopped at what looked like a winery and a very helpful man directed us to a nearby winery, Poggio Molino.  The man ran a bunch of stores that also had a mill producing organic flour.  The stores sold pet food and accessories, garden supplies, soaps and wines.

The mill near Bucine
We drove to the cantina through olive tree lined dirt roads with the Renault protesting along most of the way.  Reny thought the olive trees were obstacles that were too close to her and the ground was way too low for her liking with the ruts and potholes.  She was not a happy camper and she beeped away like crazy.  We made it to the cantina but could not find anyone to let us in.  Petros called as instructed by a sign on the door but got no response.  We finally left, but on the way out, we met a guy in the field. When we asked in our fractured Italian (okay, mostly Florine's Italian), we found out that if the white car was there, the signora was there, most likely in the lower part of the building.  So, we turned around and went back to the cantina, and this time, we went to the lower part of the building.  Sure enough, the signora was there.  She had been labeling the bottles of wine.  We sampled some red wines and bought 3 reds, 2 sweet wines, 1 rose and 1 sparkling wine.  She did not have change for us so she gave us a bottle of chardonnay instead.  That was a pretty good trade.

Poggio Molino

French oak barrels in Poggio Molino

View of a bridge from the road leading from Poggio Molino

We decided to head back to the villa for dinner.  We had a wonderful dinner of porchetta, left overs, salad, salami, cheese and the villa's white wine followed by a very fruity dessert - watermelon, moro and cherries and 2 dessert wines.  We had a great day.  All is well in Villa Aureli in Castel del Piano.
Our dinner
And the wines that accompanied our dinner (we actually did not have any of the red wine).

I am not sure what we are doing on Thursday.  Florine is still researching our excursion for the day.  If we spend more time at the villa, I will do my best to do more catching up.  Ciao!

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