Howard Hewitt, Montalcino, Italy – After four straight days in the city, our travel group was ready to get out and see Tuscany.
Tuesday morning we headed for the Montalcino region by tour bus, a little more than an hour drive.
Our first stop was at the ancient, 12th-century Monastery of Sant’ Antimo about 10km outside Montalcino. The monastery dates back hundreds of years, fell into disrespair then brought back to live about 20 years ago.
We heard four monks sing the traditional Latin Gregorian Chant Mass at 9 a.m. There aren’t many places left in the world where you can witness such a moving and unique experience – regardless of your religious beliefs. It was moving, beautiful, and interesting.
The church itself has such a unique history as shared by Professor Bill Cook. It’s physical beauty is in its simplicity, history, and some art dating back 1,000 years.
At the Castle, we enjoyed a Tuscan wine tasting. The group learned about two Rosso Montalcino wines and two of the big-tasting Brunello wines – the best of Tuscany.
Lunch was a fabulous picnic of Italian meats, cheese, desserts, and even a bit more Brunello. It was fascinating to see most of the group talk about the day. Eating great prosciutto, Brunello wine, Wabash men and wives and some staff soaked in the stunning views and comraderie.
Then we headed to the Castle and climbed up to the walls to enjoy the panoramic views. A few brave souls even climed up one of the towers for an even better look.
Our day ended in the charming and small village of Pienza.The perfectly maintained Renaissance town was a great spot for some group shots, buying cheese and olive oil, and and afternoon cup of coffee.
Wednesday morning we’ll visit the Siena weekly market then head to Assisi for the next leg of the trip.
I’ll blog Wednesday but then be on my way home Thursday in time for Big Bash. We hope to get a couple of updates next week as the group explores Florence.