No driving today! Lots of walking instead, which was great because the sun was shining and the sky was a beautiful blue. Jill, Miwa and I headed out to do a little shopping in the market and had a great time. Where the market at Campo di Fiori was over priced, this was obviously targeted at locals and the prices were quite reasonable. Apples and oranges were 1 Euro per kilogram, and were quite tasty.
We dropped off the groceries and picked up Mitzi, then headed out to find a tourist information booth. Unfortunately, they don’t open until March. L I guess tourist season doesn’t pick up until then and I suspect we will run into the same thing as we try to find wineries that are open later in the trip.
Lacking the map that we had intended to pick up, we struck out into the hills seeking Montefioralle, a supposedly picturesque hill top medieval village. The hills around here are quite abrupt, and we were all soon removing jackets and sweaters, despite the frost and snow on the side of the road. Mitzi was down to her T-shirt after about half a kilometer.
We wound our way up the hill, through olive groves and vineyards, each view more spectacular than the last. I have pictures of at least 20 stone houses either in vineyards, olive groves, or alone on hilltops in the distance. I expect I will accumulate many more before we leave Chianti, and I also suspect that Jill and Mitzi took way more pictures than I did.
Montefioralle was picturesque, just as promised. Though the “Private Property, Do Not Enter!” signs on most of the doors did detract a bit. I strongly suspect that the place is a zoo in the summer, and even with the signs, tourists must wander right into people’s houses. Today, we had the town to ourselves.
Instead of heading back, we decided to wander deeper into the Tuscan hills. It was a good thing Jill had remembered to bring the GPS or we would definitely gone the wrong way. I was a little skeptical when it led us down a narrow dirt track through what appeared to be someone’s back yard, but then a large delivery van passed us and I felt a bit more confident.
As the road slowly turned back toward Greve, so did the gravel beneath our feet turn to clay. Wet, sticky, clay. At one point it was caked on the bottom of my shoes about an inch thick. It was also very heavy. Along the way we encountered many more scenes just begging to be photographed. If you want to see them, come over some time and be prepared to sit for several hours.
We got back into Greve just before 1pm and popped into the COOP to get stuff for lunch and dinner. We had most of what we wanted when they kicked us out at 1pm so they could go on pranza (the Italian lunch break). It turns out that the store is closed from 1 to 4. Can you imagine a 3-hour lunch? Nice custom, I think.
I had a couple glasses of wine with lunch and then went for a nap with Miwa. I assure you that the two events are un-connected, but Jill and Mitzi might tell you otherwise.
For dinner we had soup concocted from local ingredients, and it was quite tasty, especially the sausage chunks. Apparently Tuscany is known for the quality of its meat products.