Montepulciano and Pienza

Since we managed to get a pretty good day in around the rain yesterday we choose to take our chances again despite another day predicted of rain.

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Despite it being overcast the birds around our home are in full chirp to greet us and encourage another day of exploring. We have really enjoyed this base except for a brief moment of panic when in the evening last night heavy rain started pouring in through one of the windows. When I mentioned it to Maria Luisa she knows about it and suspects a pigeon has made a nest in the gutter blocking it over the window. She is waiting for the man with the tall ladder to come and unblock it.

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The cloudy skies do not diminish the vibrancy of the spring greens in the fields and Every few kilometers there is  a new vista to entice a photographer. The new season wheat is coming up and sways in the gentle breeze.

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It is early again when we reach Montepulciano, the delivery vans just finishing their run. We find a close parking spot  to the old city and start a gradual explore.

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André gets his ever delicious cappuccino and the clock strikes 9 o’clock. Tanya and I have a whole long street filled with great artisan shops to explore and tease us with mementos. André bolts to the highest vantage points for views and we just potter.

 

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The main plaza is quite impressive with more churches to examine, here they are much more austere but still beautiful. The Basilica of Santa Agatha has a little chapel with a small lead light that looks as if there was a bright ray of sunshine coming from the sky to shine on the Madonna.

We split up so André can do some country photography and Tanya and I get to a beautiful little coffee house with a tiny terazza and great views. We have to really jam in, but packs are stowed away and we are happy, until it starts raining and we have to go inside.

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The two little croissants are perfect as we know it will be a late lunch when André comes back. Time to check out the leather shops, Tanya’s leather bag producer has two outlets here and we admire jackets, coats, boots made with great colours and style. I am being a wet blanket, having a sobering effect on Tanya’s ideas, so with sadness Baby Bear leaves without any more surprises that need packing away.

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It  is now after 2pm and André is on his way, this is getting a bit late for nice paninis but just before we leave town we find an enthusiastic couple running a small coffee shop and it’s just perfect. Grilled verduras with mozzarella toasted fresh for us and three little somethings for later, you never know.

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We have a mini picnic looking out from our car and decide to go a little further to Pienza  even though it is already 4pm. This region is renowned for its sheep pecorino cheese and we come across little boutique Formageries on the way. We settle for a shop in town , hard to choose which one to buy but after trying a few we buy two big chunks, one matured in a grotto where truffles are found and the other a very mature variety with lots of flavour.

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Pienza is small but very cute, it sits on a small hill but the valley drops away and views are amazing.

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We see that they are very serious about their dog care.

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We also find more alleys lined with rose bushes that have an intoxicating fragrance.

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The rain starts again, we run for cover and as it clears André herds us to the defensive walls as there might be a good rainbow. He is right as the sun comes out there is a full rainbow in the valley only visible on his big camera.

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We document with a selfie, Tanya becoming a master at it now and we resist a gelato as we are now very picky. It’s time to head home, tonight we plan to have a special farewell dinner at our favourite restaurant “”IL Goccino “ with a logo of two cats.

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We do splurge a little on dinner tonight and pretend we are food critics. Two entrees shared one is a soufflé of cauliflower with a pea sauce and pear marmalade, the second a delicate asparagus mousse with truffle mayonnaise dotted around it.

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André and I pick from the vegan/ vegetarian menu a delicate millefoglia with stir fried vegetables for André and I pick leek and chickpea crockettes with a light soy dipping sauce and a mousse of light vegetable mayonnaise dotted around.

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Tanya has picked the ravioli with artichoke and broad bean sauce. We can’t wait for the final dishes this will be for Tanya her awaited hot chocolate sauce melting her dessert of  vanilla ice cream.

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André and I both pick a semifreddo, mine with pistachio and fresh strawberries and André the hazelnuts with coffee cream.

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Everything is extremely delicious and not too big so we feel content to go home.

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It is today that Tanya starts on a new mission. We have had a few situations in which the need for a pee has arisen and  at odd times there has not been a formal toilet available, so I have been known to do the European thing of finding a bush. Now Tanya scourges the maps to find all available toilets in a city we are visiting , so I am set and she does not have to experience the embarrassment that outdoor toileting brings 🙂

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