Marco, our driver for the day picked us up at 9:00 am for wine tasting and a visit to San Gimignano. We were ready for this adventure!
We started at Castello di Verrazzanno winery. We had the most enthusiastic guide. She loved her job and the winery and it showed. She gave us a tour of the grounds, the owner’s villa, their original wine cellar that still houses many ancient wines, and the areas where they dry grapes for balsamic vinegar. We sat down for our wine tasting on the terrace with majestic views of the valley below. They give generous pours compared to Oregon’s wineries. Oh my! We do have a few bottles arriving at the house soon.
The balsamic vinegar they produce is amazing! They bottle the vinegar at 10 years which is considered a “condiment” by Italian consortium standards. However, this vinegar is about the best I’ve tasted for its age in Italy. It is sweet and thick, more like the 25-year vinegar. They use a slightly different method of creating the mast and then distributing it in 10 barrels instead of the average 5. They were out of their vinegar or I would have purchased a bottle. They only produce vinegar and olive oil in small batches and sell out every year. This year’s harvest was occurring when we were there and wouldn’t be ready to purchase. Darn!
The logo of this winery is beautiful. It adorns many items in and around the property.
Cheese and crackers absorbed some of the wine we tasted but we were ready for lunch. Marco was on the spot with his Mercedes ready to whisk us away to our next experience. We had reservations at Dulcis in Fundo in San Gimignano. Thank you Alice for recommending this place. The owners were delightful and so accommodating. We had a fabulous lunch and celebrated Gill and Des’ birthdays. Best tiramisu ever!
We walked around the very steep streets of San Gimignano after lunch checking out the views and the shops. I found some wine salt – never heard of wine salt but I’m willing to give it a try. Besides how bad could it be if the ingredients are wine and salt?
Marco was back in the late afternoon to return us to our hotel in Florence. A short rest was in order, after all, we had been eating and drinking our way through the day and needed to regain some energy to repeat all this fun in the evening.
Celebrating Des and Gill’s birthday on the rooftop of a department store was a bit unusual but you know those Italians, they take advantage of every bit of space available. You enter the department store as if you were going shopping and get to the roof by a series of elevators and stairs – more stairs, yay! (she says tongue in cheek after a day of traversing up and down stairs at the winery and up and down steep streets in San Gimignano). It was worth it! As we sat drinking a toast to Gill and Des a slight look over our shoulder and there is the lit up duomo. Breathtaking! Dick broke down and ordered a hamburger for dinner and I reverted to my California roots and ordered avocado toast. The hamburger was surprisingly good as were the french fries.
Luckily the department store stayed open so people could exit the rooftop, otherwise, we would have to figure out how to scale the building to get down.
In the Piazza dell Repubblica (the square where this restaurant and the hotel were located) there was a musician playing the accordion but it sounded like many different instruments. He was an amazing musician! We listened to his concert for some time, savoring his music and our last night with Gill and Des. They would be leaving in the morning. Click the link to see the short video Music in the piazza