it has finally happened. i have run out of words. all day yesterday and most of today, we have spent, driving from one magnificent hill town to another. the scenery along the way is indescribable. even howard’s photos can not do it justice. there is just no way a camera can capture what the naked eye can see, and there is no way to absorb, and then adequately attempt to describe, the sights. add to the visual banquet, the constant song of thousands of birds, and the heavenly smell of wisteria, freshly mown grasses and wild flowers in bloom, and it is a severe case of sensory overload. we have been in this part of the world quite a few times before, and each time we believe we know what to expect – until we see it again.
today we started with a light breakfast on the terrace of our agritourismo, overlooking the rolling green hills of our farm, terrepille. what strikes you, allmost immediately, is how still it is. there are no planes, or buses, or cars, or jack hammers, or loud music, or car horns. just the sound of nature and silence. it is deafening. after breakfast we took off for montepulciano, one of the more famous hill towns. it was almost completely destroyed during the war and magically rebuilt ten years later. the problem is, that while it was beautifully restored, with it’s block after block of t-shirt shops and factory produced ceramic studios, it does have the faint whiff of disneyland. the saving grace was meeting a young italian woman named barbara. she worked in a wine shop we went into to buy a bottle of brunello. brunello is the wine that this region is famous for and hey, when in rome, or montepulcianocian, we were willing to drink what the natives drink. barbara was eight and three quarter weeks pregnant with her second child and spoke perfect english. we spent a good forty-five minutes with her, talking about everything under the sun (that would be, i guess, the tuscan sun) and, as always we found, that while the sights and the food and the wine and the scenery of this country are outstanding, it is the italian people who are making our stay so very, very special. we do not miss an opportunity to strike up a conversation with everyone and anyone who crosses our path and so far, we have not been disappointed with one encounter.
after leaving montepulciano we set off for a tiny hill town called montecchiello. it is not on any tourist itinery, it just happens to be an absolutely charming, tiny hill town that time truly seems to have forgotten. lucia, the owner of our agritourismo, mentioned to us over breakfast that we might like to explore it. she explained that while there were no significant sights as such, she thought we might find a visit worthwhile. how right she was. just the drive, on a well paved, gently winding narrow road through farmland and forrest was a delight. on entering the town, we found a charming restaurant with a terrace, overlooking the world. we both decided that that would be a perfect spot for lunch. we walked in and asked for a table on the terrace. we were told they were totally booked but that they had a table for us inside. howard didn’t want to sit inside. i didn’t blame him. it was a perfect day, sunny and warm, but not too warm – to quote goldilocks – “just right”. we left, planning on finding another restaurant. little did we know that that restaurant was the only game in town. we went back, hoping they still had the indoor table we had turned down. they did. were we in for a surprise. we didn’t find out where the chef was from, but the food was spectacular. so good, that mr. food made a reservation for us to return this evening for dinner. they said maybe we could return, it would depend on the wind. if it was too windy, the terrace would be uncomfortable and then we couldn’t come. if the winds were fine, it would be o.k. we should call at six. that is why i love italy.