This blog piece is a special treat from one of our recent guests, who sent it to us from her recent trip to Florence Italy. We were quite pleased to be considered one of the highlights of her trip. Thanks to Michelle for the story – I did a little research and pulled up the photos on the vineyard – and of course added one of our factory.
APRIL 2012 : I was really excited when my colleague suggested an authentic wine tasting at a Medici Villa high in the hills of Chiantigiana. The weather was perfect, and the villa was bathed in late evening sun as we approached.
Dialetta, the owner, was outside to greet us and gave us a very warm welcome. She took us up to the enormous terrace overlooking the hillside where the panoramic view was amazing. After we went into the front landscaped garden where she told us a little of the history of the villa. I could just picture my daughter Natalie having a grand wedding party there! From there she took us down to the cellar and talked about the different wines that they produce. It was all very interesting, and I was definitely eager to start tasting.
From the cellars it was back upstairs to the kitchen. She already had some wonderful Tuscan bread warming in the oven and the table was laid with hams, cheeses and olive oils, and of course the wines were breathing. We tried three different wines, all of which were absolutely delicious. I did my swirling and sniffing to get the best of the bouquet and it really does work! I can honestly say I don’t know where those 2 hours went. We enjoyed the whole tour immensely and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who visits Florence.
As well as wine, I am also definitely into leather. Quite conveniently, we had been told about a leather factory quite close to the Villa. We had called before hand to make sure we could have a look around the factory (before going for our wine tasting tour) and they were more than happy to accommodate our little group. It is one of the only Florentine factories who make their own collection of handbags. It seems a lot of the factories in this region make for the high end labels such as Gucci, Prada, Jimmy Choo etc. It was a real treat to see bags that are made entirely by hand. From the cutting, stitching, putting each piece together, even painting the edges. We were shown how each bag has to have a pattern that can contain 30 or even 40 pieces. Their label is called Toscanella and they use beautiful earthy hues inspired from the Tuscan countryside. The bags are a rustic classic style that never date. I have to admit I had my eye on a Tobacco one which is definitely on my wish list. How handy that my 25th wedding anniversary is coming up next month. DH only raised his eyes as if to say “oh no, not another handbag. How many do you need”? Err, who said anything about need! The person who showed us around was very amusing. He was called Enrico and a typical jovial Florentine. He explained how the different leathers are used and what happens at the tanneries. The leather comes only from animals in Tuscany and the South of France so it was all pretty much homegrown.
We had a wander around the beautiful showroom too, very dangerous and I was getting tugged quite strongly by my DH. He was itching to get to the wine tasting and I couldn’t blame him, we’d had a long day, lunching, shopping, sightseeing – and my brother was loving every minute of it. This was all a real treat for him as it was his first time visiting Florence, and its always that bit special when you get off the beaten track to see behind the scenes instead of always staying with the crowds.