My Italian Diary: Montepulciano
Our initial goal of this trip was to make it to where my family came from in Sicily, and then travel the whole east coast back home. Little did we realize how tapped for money we would be after only a quarter of the way, so we had to head back north for our new home and reserve our Sicilian journey for next year. We decided to take the longest, most free route possible as the Autostrada is outlandishly expensive.
We once again found ourselves in the twists and turns of the Tuscan hills. This time though, we were on the local route so we passed through so many little towns that would emerge out of the green landscapes. These little towns spoke to me as if I had visited them before. They were positioned in the midst of olive groves, and grape vines. You could see everyone outside having a coffee, hanging clothes, and talking with neighbors window to window — just like how you would imagine Italy to be.
After getting a little lost, we finally started seeing signs for Montepulciano. It’s a name that I had always seen in my house growing up. My mom was always a lover of the region’s wine, but that’s all I knew of it. I was expecting a town in the foothills of the mountains, but the town that revealed itself through the twists and turns was the opposite of anything I had imagined. Instead, revealed a towering, ancient city sitting gloriously on top of the mountain with a panoramic view of the foothills below. We were once again left speechless by its beauty.
This is especially where having a bike comes in handy — free parking. We situated ourselves at the edge of the city and prepared our legs to ascend the many stoned slopes that would lead us to our destination. We wondered the streets for an hour or so in complete awe, talking about life, and how excited we are to be following our dreams. I try to speak Italian as much as possible, and him helping me correct my mistakes.
We took an alleyway tucked under the oldest church in Montepulciano, and we found ourselves at a restaurant with a panoramic view of Tuscany and honest prices. How could we look anywhere else? We took a seat outside and ordered quickly out of excitement. Davide let me select the wine, and I couldn’t stop thinking about my mom; wishing she were there with me to share the experience. We finished one of the best meals I’ve had in Italy so far and went inside to pay. There stood an enormous cave lined with countless bottles of wine — homemade, and otherwise. The owner immediately noticed the glow in our eyes as we admired their cantina. “Would you like a tour?” she asked. “Of course!” She talked with us for a while about the cantina, America, the Italian immigration to America. She commented that every time she has Americans in her restaurant, they are always polite, curious, and receptive to the quality of their ingredients. It was so nice to hear a positive association of Americans for once. I’m slowly working to change that stigmatism. She also told us that when they excavated the space to build the restaurant in the 1980s, they unearthed over one million-year-old marine fossils. I’m still flabbergasted by the idea that a place as high up as Montepulciano was once under water.
Even where we live now in Northern Italy was once a large area for the manufacturing of sea salt because of the deposits from once being under water. It’s amazing!
Although Montepulciano doesn’t have the best wine in Italy, it holds a very very special place in my heart. After lunch, we parted ways with the ornate streets, sunshine, and sweet aromas and set our for San Polo d’Enza once again.