Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Back in the saddle again!

So I apologize for being so lazy about my blogging recently... I know I said that I was going to try and be better about posting but the truth is that its somewhat time consuming and there is just too much to see around me to sit inside on the internet. So thats good news, right!? :)

To recap this last weekend, it was one full of lots of fun but a little less traveling then the past.  The roomjobs and I were initially planning on going to Siena for Il Palio but decided against it since most of the trip would be consumed with standing in a crowded piazza unable to leave to eat or use the bathroom. Most of the time as in 9 hours in the sweltering heat of Tuscany, in the beginning of July.

BUT... what we did do was spend the weekend having fun in Florence and the Chianti region of Tuscany.  Saturday I spent the day working on a little bit of homework which would usually bother me but homework in Florence is more fun than work.  I had to visit the Baptistery in the city center near the Duomo to answer a few questions for my Art History class that I am currently taking. I've been meaning to blog and inform all of you about this sessions class but am waiting till I have some stellar pictures to accompany my writing, since thats the most exciting part anywho.

Inside the Baptistery 

The Baptistery, like many ancient structures in Italy is beyond beautiful and I find it hard to explain that in words. What I love the most about this class is that I'm learning so much and get to see all of it.  The ceiling of the Baptistery is covered in a mosaic describing the last judgement of Jesus christ along with the choir of angels, stories from the book of genesis, stories of Joseph, stories of Mary and Christ, and stories of St. John the Baptist.  I spent about an hour inside soaking up my surroundings like a sponge and thinking a lot.  I tend to think a lot all of the time but being in such a peaceful beautiful place made my thoughts louder in my mind.  I love being able to be more knowledgable about Florence while I'm here. It makes me feel like I'm more apart of the city rather then just simply living in a beautiful, historical place with lots of fun secrets and facts.

Sunday, the girls and I went on a tour through the Chianti region.  But this wasn't any tour, it was by horseback! It began with a two hour ride through the vineyards in Tuscany learning about the grapes and the wine that is so popular of the region.  The wine was red and white table wine in part of the region we went through and the guide told us about when the grapes were best to harvest.  The timing just so happened to be around my birthday in the beginning of October.  Good things come from that time of the year! ;)

Riding behind our guide... he said my horse was the body guard :)

Chapel within Monteriggioni

Once we got done with the horseback ride we went to an ancient castle in Monteriggioni, which is a midieval city enclosed by a 10 meter tall wall with 15 watch towers.  The original city is within the original wall of the town.  Just like many cities in that time period, it was built on top of a hill so when an enemy approached, they could be seen.  Within the city was the chapel and castle that still belong to the Florentine family that conquered the city from Siena in 1554.  We had lunch at a restaurant near the castle consisting of bread, apertivo of prochutto and cheese, followed by gnocci with meat and red sauce and fresh spaghetti with fresh tomato sauce. Of course the meal came with 4 bottles of wine and did good things to the 6 of us and the tour guide. After the main dishes we were served panna cotta which has been my personal favorite dessert- besides gelato of course! 

Signature label of the Winery...  On the shield is the fleur di les to symbolize Florence 

We all thought that the fun stopped here and thats when Peter, our guide, chimed in... "Are you all ready for wine tasting?!"  We all looked at each other with somewhat glassy eyes from the previous four bottles and said "Of course!" So over to the castle we went and down into the wine room where we tasted a white, rosé, and two reds.  The wine was delicious and from the vineyard right next to where we were.  They had a special on purchasing three bottles, so most of us decided to grab some to bring back to the states with us.  I decided to get one of each including the white, the lower grade red (if you can call it "low grade"), the reserve label and one of the nicest bottles that they had.  It was the most expensive but was barreled for 4 years before being bottled.  The sommeliers' name was John and he told us that this particular bottle of wine could be kept for 20 years or more before enjoying it.  I cant wait to try it... in all do time.  Maybe I'll enjoy it the next time I return to Italy or my wedding, we'll just have to wait and see :).  After the tasting we wrapped things up and headed back to Florence. Another amazing day in Italy!

This adorable little pup is a trained truffle hunter... rare and brings in a lot of money!

Overlooking Tuscany with my Tuscan wine!

Ciao Ciao!
xoxox Ash


Je said...

What?! I want a truffle hunting curly headed pup. Also, I want some of that WINEEEEE!!

Lindsay Hicks said...

The comment above me stole my exact words. What a cute puppy! You look adorable, as always Ash, and look like you're really enjoying it over there! I'm sorry I haven't called yet...I've been swamped, but I'm enjoying reading up on your adventures! Blogging was a genius idea, and with the pictures I feel like I'm there too! Well, not quite, but as close as I can get right now! Keep having fun and telling us about it and I can't wait to talk to you again!

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