“Wine is sunlight held together by water”, Galileo Galilei wrote centuries ago. As an Italian from the Tuscan city of Pisa, he was well qualified to speak on the subject!
Montespertoli is situated just 25 kilometers from Florence, in Tuscany’s Chianti grape growing region. It is conveniently close to a number of the region’s most visited cities, including Pisa and Siena. For centuries Montespertoli has been part of the Florentine trade zone, with the old Via Volterrana crossing the region and connecting to the pilgrim’s path Via Francigena that led the faithful from across Europe to the Eternal City of Rome.
For nearly 60 years, the Festa del Vino in Montespertoli has paid tribute to Tuscany’s wines, especially its exclusive Chianti. In the centrally located Piazza del Popolo (“people’s square”), there are food and wine tastings that highlight the contribution of Chianti wine to the flavors of local cuisine. In some cases, a glass of the wine brings out the best of regional cheeses and meats. In others, the wine itself is an ingredient that adds depth to sauces and stews.
Where and What is Chianti?
The name Chianti comes from the mountainous landscape around Florence. Its borders are not visible, but if you are in the vicinity of Castellina, Gaiole and Radda, you are definitely in Chianti country. Both Florence and Siena have vied for control of the region throughout the centuries. Indeed, the territory is as fertile as it is beautiful, and remains an important part of the agricultural economy.
Chianti wine derives primarily from grapes of the Sangiovese variety, and there are strict rules about which blends can be called Chianti and which can be labeled Chianti Classico (look for the black rooster symbol). Visitors from abroad might associate Chianti with its short bottle wrapped in straw, but modern bottles of Chianti have more traditional shapes and labels. Of course, the wine is best enjoyed when freed from its bottle and poured into your waiting wine glass.
During the Festa del Vino, visitors of all ages enjoy traditional foods of the region, lovingly prepared by local vendors. There is music and dancing, handicrafts for sale, and a Renaissance parade. The Piazza Machiavelli comes alive with street performers and colorful kiosks selling handmade goods. You can also explore Montespertoli’s Renaissance church, Sant’Andrea.
If you are looking for Florence Italy real estate there is plenty of time to shop before the next year’s Festa del Vino in June 2016.