Before I get ahead of myself, I wanted to share this amazing video my amica, Amma, made of my packing. Check it out here.
In just less than an hour by bus from Florence, the Chianti Classico area contains a somewhat hidden Castle of Verrazzano and winery. It's a common spot for tourists (so not that hidden), but still a nice get-away. Our program allowed us this optional trip, in exchange, the payment: a meal ticket. I thought it well worth it.
Here's some pictures "on the way" to the bus stop.
On the way there, I was able to see the Italian countryside. Those bus drivers are absolutely crazy! I felt like my life was endangered whenever we made sharp turns on a hilly, dirt road. We made our way up to the hilltop and had an amazing welcome to the Castello di Verrazzano.
The Chianti Classico area was the world's first grape growing and wine producing area to be officially proclaimed. The castle itself was the birthplace of the family Verrazzano -- same descendants of the navigator Giovanni.
Such a beautiful view! I will have lots of inspiration for painting…
They make their own wine (from their grapes) and olive oil. They also had rosemary and persimmon -- all very natural and organic.
This plaque explains how this castle is where the navigator Giovanni originated from.
I always have mixed feelings about guided tours. I found it quite difficult to take photos without 20 million people in it.. but I managed. The castle was magnificent, and I wish I had a full day to thoroughly take amazing photos to show everyone the beauty of this place. The picture below is of the historical cellars.
After the tour, we prepared for the wine tastings.
We tried 3 of their best wines, and a Vin Santo dessert wine with Tuscan food. They tried to teach us "wine appreciation" - how to swirl it, smell it, look at it, and taste it. (If you ask me, personally, I think the main purpose is to build the anticipation of sipping wine.) We then compared the difference with tasting the wine after having, say, bread and olive oil. Personally, I liked the taste of the wine without the contamination of food. However, the saying is that where there is wine, there is food. And vice versa. That probably means that I don't know how to appreciate the taste, perhaps?
Before the wine tasting, of course. Everyone's cheeks were flushed after the wine tasting. ;)
I hope to be posting soon about mia casa e escuela. (My home and my school)