• Alison Waldon

Tuscany

On Sunday my friends and I took a break from the busy city life of Florence. We boarded a bus around 8 a.m. and headed off to see the Tuscan countryside. Our first stop was in a small town called Pienza.

Pienza is the top producer of Pecorino cheese. There are cheese shops everywhere, and even the town itself smells a bit like cheese. There is also a cheese sport that the men participate in that involves rolling a wheel of cheese toward a stick. I’m still not sure how it works, but I do know it must be a lot more difficult that it looks. It seems that cheese wheels are generally not very cooperative. After Pienza we were on our way to Salcheto Winery. This was probably the scariest part of the trip mostly because the charter bus we were on got stuck going uphill and most of the trip there was spent driving on winding dirt roads with high cliffs on either side of the bus. Somehow we made it to Salcheto Winery unscathed, and only had to get off the bus once so it could drive up a really steep part of the road. This particular winery is very eco-friendly and modern. We got to take a quick tour of the facility before lunch and I tried to get some pictures of the underground rooms, but there was little light.

We got to try several wines: Rostato Toscana, Roso di Montipulciano and Vino Nobile. What I learned from my wine tasting experience is that I don’t like wine as much as I thought I did. I guess deep down I might have already known this because in general I am usually a fan of alcohol-free fruity slushy type drinks.

After lunch and wine tasting was over we took off on the scary bus and headed up an even steeper hill to see the town of Montepulciano. This town was cute, small and nobody there was a big fan of Americans, which seemed strange because Italians and Americans are at the least cordial to one another most of the time. While I browsed the shops and walked through the steep city streets I kept having a strange feeling of deja vu. Obviously I hadn’t been to Montepulciano. Before this trip I hadn’t even left the United States for longer than a day. Then we ran into a poster outside one of the local businesses. One of the Twilight movies had been filmed in Montepulciano. Suddenly, it all made sense. After visiting the open markets of the city we returned to the scary charter bus and returned to Florence.

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