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Report 834: There's No Such Thing as Too Much...Pasta and Ceramics

By Palma from California, Fall 2005

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Page 8 of 23: Sunday, September 11: Montalcino

photo by Palma Hansen

Montalcino miniature church

Brad and I had a lovely early breakfast at 7:30 in the Enoteca. Then we went off to explore with no agenda . We headed toward Pienza and decided to stop in San Quirico d’ Orcia, a charming, tiny town. We walked the main street, saw both churches and found a beautiful hidden sculpture garden and a rose garden. We wandered through a residential area and enjoyed seeing people’s vegetable gardens and all the ripe fig trees and flowers. Then we drove to Montalcino where we decided to spend most of our day.

We entered through the Porta Cassero and took an hour walk up and down steep streets that were residential, avoiding the center of town. We saw churches, homes and gardens all through the perimiter of town. There was a woman in her nightgown in her window with a cat that let us take her cat’s picture, and we spoke to a young man working on his car. We took wonderful pictures of gardens and grape arbors, ripe eggplants and tomatoes. After about an hour, we found ourselves on Via Saloni, almost back to the Fortezza, and we re-entered town through the main gate near Via Matteotti.

I had coffee and Brad had a beer in the Piazza, watching people and guessing where they were from. Feeling refreshed and caffeinated, it was time for some shopping. In a beautiful linen store, we found a throw that perfectly matches our great room. It was a great price, so the 40E shipping charge still made it worthwhile. I bought Isabella Dusi’s two books on living in Montalcino and two handpainted Christmas ornaments of Tuscan scenes. Finally, I found a handmade cloth evening bag, covered in silk peonies in shades of peach and coral which will go perfectly with my white outfit and coral Venitian shawl I plan to wear in Positano.

While wandering around town, we saw a gentleman in his garage with the door open and his amazing miniature wooden models of local buildings and churches. We visited with him as he explained that each building takes him six months to a year to complete. His model of St. Antimo was amazing. The interiors are also architechturally accurate. Before leaving Montalcino, we stopped at the fortezza and wandered through the “Festival di Miele”, buying candy and sampling all the honey products.

We drove back to Pienza for a late lunch in the garden at La Chiocciota. I had Cacio cotto con miele (Baked cheese with honey) and Brad had pecorino con castagna. We came back to the Amorosa and had a glass of wine with Jan and Les. We had a 2-hour nap before our pizza dinner at Piccola in Torrita di Siena, then mapped out a shopping route for tomorrow’s day trip to Firenze.

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