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As I type this the bells begin to chime again outside our window, echoing over the hills and the vineyards. We traded the waves of the blue sea spilling over marble for endless rolling hills of vibrant green pastures and silver olive groves. I’ll give my Mum credit – after a train ride away from Venice, we stepped back into Florence for lunch – just for a minute – and grabbed quick sandwiches to eat in the brilliant sun in the Santa Maria Novella Piazza. Then it was back out onto the tram to the airport, then a shuttle to the car rental service, and soon we were skirting the Viale of Florence, heading across the Arno up and into the hills of Chianti.

It’s barely been two weeks since Rami and I went to Panzano, but just with those few warm days and a bit of rain, the brown vines of the vineyards have sprouted their first little leaves. We swung through Greve, Panzano, Castellina, taking the winding roads while taking in the views under the Tuscan sun. Mum did GREAT driving (I still can’t because I haven’t put myself through the hell of getting my license here) and we pulled into our vineyard apartment stay just as the sun was setting golden over the panorama. The bells of the abbey chimed on the hill up to the left as we made our way to our room, and the birds burst into the air from under the belfry with the vibrations. We’re staying on the old road of the pilgrimage. I wonder how many have listened to those bells chime.

Tonight we cooked in our little kitchen as we looked out onto our view – ravioli filled with pear in a butter and sage sauce (we stole the sage from the plants outside in the garden here) and a Caprese salad with a bottle of wine.

Tomorrow is our day walking the town up on the hill that was first mentioned on the 30th of August in the year 929. The towers loom in the distance, calling for us to climb them.