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My husband, Mario, and Montalcino

Today we are on top of the world in Montalcino!  After a long day of driving, we are tasting 6 of the finest Brunello di Montalcino's ever made in a castle at the top of the Tuscan countryside with a view that even Baccus would envy.  How do we find these treasures? I am not sure we even know, follow your nose I guess...our mantras used to  include "if it smells good" and "go toward the pretty buildings" but that was then...we are now guided by "find a place for Bodhi to eat" or "go buy something so we can use the banyo"... Such are the differences when traveling with a 1 year old.  The castle?  Simple dumb luck...could have turned to the right, but chose left and there we were...wine, castle, English-speaking staff member...there really is a heaven and we are happy to be together in this moment(s) of bliss.  Then there was the ride home...

No, I did not have more then a few ounces for all of you with a guilty conscience...I have a GPS.  Yes, we are staying somewhat off the beaten path on an olive oil farm near Pari, but heck, we do not intend to go offroading in a Fiat Punto with seating for 4 (ish) and about 3 inches of clearance...Bad enough we have to navigate a dirt road for 2 KM getting to the farm, but getting back once we set the GPS to take us somehow ends us up somewhere across the valley where we can clearly see our bedroom window but are powerless to reach it.  Despite the sleeping baby in the backseat the GPS is, in a clearly defiant tone, telling us to go offroad to reach the previously entered waypoint.  "Navigate offroad to your destination", she snides, but I see a driveway and a terrace with people eating al fresco. Does the dirt road go any further? We are hesitant to find out...I am calling Garmin in the morning to report the attitude of our computer generated guide voice for being overly persistent.  Luckily a local guy who spoke English (and whose backyard dinner party we literally drove into) told us the error of our (her) ways and directed us to go back around.  "GPS is dangerous" were, I think, his final words...

We arrive at the villa in the country that will be our home for the next three or four days. I call this 'home-ish' now. I used to say to Bodhi, "Only 5 minutes and we will be home" (referring to being back at the hotel if we were in the car or out). Then I would correct myself and say, well, home-ISH.  So now, where we are staying is called HOME-ISH. It fits. He gets it. Everywhere we end up is a new adventure for him. It is like arriving at Disneyworld every few days... he arrives at a new wonderland to explore. He checks the cupboards, opens and closes doors, checks the drain of the bidet, crawls around the perimeter. I love to watch him explore and discover. For me, it helps me to think this travel lifestyle has elements that are good for him.
Our home-ish is now a place called le lapole, a beautiful terra-cotta farmhouse in Tuscany along a dirt road outside of a small village called Pari. We would never have found this place if not for good friends who found it first and recommended we come here. It is so dark and quiet I can see every star. The drive to get here was through the most amazing countryside filled with green trees and rows of vineyards, golden straw, hazy blue mountains in the distance, and old hilltop villages with orange rooftops dotting the horizon. Then there was a steep rugged dirt road and a few poorly marked splits in the road that we happened to guess right, and allowed us to find the place. My husband, Mario, isn't used to the open roads of Tuscany. He has been used to the aggressive driving of Southern Italy on small streets with big consequences... the driving that demands urgency, attention and quick reflexes.  He honks his horn like an Italian, passes on curves and occasionally I feel like we are in a live simulated video game of Mario Cart. He has become, like all other Italian drivers, an incarnation of Mario Andretti.

Posted by globalmomma 01:58 Tagged driving roads italy country villa wine farmhouse tuscany montalcino pari grosseto tastings brunello

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