It may be that absence makes the heart grow fonder, or the Italian summer weather, the beautiful language, the never-ending abundance of delicious food, the awing Tuscan scenery, the constant access to horses who give life to my spirit, or maybe a mix of all of the above, but the love I felt and could share with Luca has never been as strong as it was when we were reunited in Italy this weekend. I think it is the country of Italy, as a whole, that makes me feel as I do. I have decided that no matter how much you love something or someone, you will always love them more while you are in Italy.
I was (obviously) very happy to see Luca when he came to visit last weekend. A new face added life to the farm, as everybody is pretty burnt out by the same daily routine by now. Luca cut his hair while he was in Nepal and it was the first time I ever saw it short. He looks adorable. We took the horses out for a ride through the countryside the first day that Luca arrived.
The second day was my day off and Luca and I took a drive through the Chianti wine country to the hot springs. We stopped at wineries on the way and sampled the wines. Poggi Del Chianti was my favorite winery that we stopped at. It was located in an old farmhouse and the rustic atmosphere and friendly staff reminded me a lot of Cayuga Ridge Estate: the winery that I work at in New York. I complimented the owner on the graphics of the wine bottle, as they were very catching. The owners let us walk around the property after we were done sampling wines and we ate our packed lunch while sitting on the outdoor couch they provided for people to enjoy the view.
The hot springs were of course lovely and romantic. They are definitely something that you should not miss if you ever come to Italy. We ended the night with a lovely meal at the same restaurant that Jenny, Kara, and I went to last weekend. I had to show Luca the beautiful garden and view that the restaurant provided!
The kids went to Siena on Monday, so Luca and I luckily had another day to ourselves. We decided to visit the famous Castello Di Brolio, which is located 20 km away from Siena. However, it was always under the influence of Florence and was a strategical outpost during the wars between Siena and Florence in the middleages. Castello Di Brolio is also known for being the home of the Ricosoli family for 800 years. The Ricosoli family may sound familiar because of Bettino Ricasoli, or the Iron Baron, who was one of the most important politicians who promoted unifying Italy. Bettino Ricasoli was also the first to create the formula for the Chianti Classico Wine, which included 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 15% Malvasia bianca. Castello Di Brolio is now a huge wine company and produces wine that is shipped all over the world. However, as beautiful as the castle was, Luca and I found that the wine wasn’t very impressive. We liked wine from the smaller wineries better.
It was lovely seeing Luca again and I’m anxious to be in Rome with him after I leave Rendola in 2 weeks.