Friday, October 25, 2013

Chianti Spectacular

Circuit routes through Chianti: 
the pick of the bunch - so far

Le Ripe is just opposite the river from Lucarelli which is 10 o'clock from Radda

Greve-Lamole-Panzano roundtrip

Vignamaggio, the villa and vineyard where the Monna Lisa was supposed to have lived and where Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado about Nothing was filmed

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fruit of the Month: the quince

The Quintessential Quince

one of our two quince trees

October is the month of the quince. At least it is at Le Ripe where the overall success rate in our orchard is somewhat limited: quinces abound this year but there is nary an apple.

quinces are very attractive but I store them on windowsills also to ripen them and to enjoy their lovely aroma

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

On the Way Home

The Flaming Cypress

A crimson glory vine (vitis coignetiae) sets fire to a solitary cypress.

Admired each year in October on the SP 76 between La Piazza and Molin Nuovo, Comune of Castellina in Chianti.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Festa Aprilante Panzano + Eroica

Panzano Allegro con Brio and Bikes

Giocondo Fagioli and his baskets made of rushes he gathers himself

In Panzano in Chianti every first Sunday of the month, every month of the year,  the Festa Aprilante is held. This is a market which stretches from the main square on the 222 all the way up towards the church and along the street where Cecchini the butcher reigns.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Change of Season

Autumn is icumen in

Time to bring in the tender pot plants, the gardenia, dipladenia (mandevilla), azalea, hibiscus, tiny cacti, cyclamen, gerbera and amaryllis. With temperatures at night going below 10 degrees, now is the time to protect these plants. Our two citrus trees (lemon and cumquat) will also be hauled to shelter.
So goodbye to the little crowd of pots under the fig tree opposite our front door and hello greenhouse vegetation indoors...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Staggia Senese Castle - La Rocca di Staggia

A Castle Full of Surprises

The parachutes draped from wall and tower should have alerted us. This promised to be not just another medieval castle. (For a list of all the castles in Tuscany, look here.)

These are just the ones in the province of Siena!

Only 40 minutes' drive from Le Ripe, Staggia Senese was familiar to us as a town on the way to Poggibonsi (yes, it is podgybonzy).  

Note: despite its delightful name, Poggibonsi is not worth visiting unless you need furniture, advice from a thermo-technician, light fixtures or electronic devices. As a local salesman once announced to us: "Poggibonsi has everything".  But it is not beautiful.

a flattering angle on Poggibonsi

Every time we drove through Staggia's narrow main street we were intent on a mission, uninterested in this seemingly dull town

the main route through Staggia towards Poggibonsi: the castle is visible in the distance, but usually one is so intent on getting somewhere else one misses it entirely