Journal #7 Audrey Cunninghma

I woke up this morning to a bunch of chatter about their beds shaking at 4 a.m. I slept just fine, come to find out, there was a large earthquake in Northern Italy. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those effected. Our next stop on our expedition was Siena and the San Gimignano winery. Before we could experience the wonderful site, everyone was pretty excited to squeeze in a quick nap on the bus as Tamara, our humorous tour guide, gave us a little history lesson.
We arrived in Siena around 1 0am and headed straight for the campo square where the tower of Mangia peered above the rest of the medieval buildings. Tamara also told us that horse races take place in the square during the months of July and August and thousands of spectators gather in the middle as the horses race around the outer ring. We then had some free time to go our separate ways and explore the city. Some of the group went to mass at the basilica of San Dominico, which was given in Italian, some went to try and get some bargains from the street vendors and some went to see the duomo that toured over the city.
After our stroll through the streets of Siena, our wonderful driver Corrado (aka Fabio or Lugie) drove us to the San Gimignano winery. Though we had some difficulty pronouncing it, we were definitely excited about the opportunity to try some real Italian wine (don’t worry parents, it’s legal here). When we arrived at the winery we were greeted by the owner named Pierre Lugie who pointed out the miles of endless fields that he and his family has owned for over three centuries. Before we could start our first course, Pierre explained the precise dimensions of the wine glasses and also how the same type of wine can taste different if it’s even a couple of miles away because of the sand, soil, and rain.
Our first course consisted of cheese, salami, bread with extra virgin olive oil, and a salad with balsamic dressing that was over 50 years old with both a white wine and a red wine called Chianti. Carlo, Pierre’s cousin, explained each wine that we tried and told us to try the different combinations of foods with the different wines. Lighter food went with a lighter wine and heavier food, like the grandma’s lasagna we ate, went with a heavier wine. We also had a soup that included seven different vegetables and wines that included Baldassarre, Bartolomeo, Cavaliere, Brunello de Montalcino, Chianti Classico Riserva and a desert wine. After what seemed like hours of fun, we departed on our bus back to the hotel for dinner.
Sadly tonight  is our last night in the quaint little town of Montecatini and tomorrow we leave at 7 a.m. for Venice so from the beautiful country of Italy, buonanotte.
Audrey Cunningham



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