Tuscan Town Triple: Numero Tre – Monteverdi and the Vineyards of Donoratico
Monteverdi Marittimo is, on the map at least, mere kilometres from the little Tuscan Town of Castagneto where we journeyed on yesterday’s Daily Norm. But as the name suggests, Monteverdi rests atop a very green mountain, and the map does little to betray the extensively meandering length of road which takes a good half an hour to wind round and round the ascent of that mountain to reach the town on the top. As you do so, it is interesting how the air becomes yet clearer still, and the surroundings greener and more forested than ever – this is after all the terrain of the wild boar and the various huntsmen who annually go in their pursuit.
Upon our eventual arrival in this tiny town, the spirit and feel of the hunt was very much in the air. The town has an altogether more “gamey” feel to it. Take away the sun and you might have been in Scotland, its old stone cottages and streets looking somewhat hardened by the elements. In fact I half expected to find stags heads and hunting rifles at every turn. Instead I found a atypical Tuscan town metamorphosed into an altogether more robust version of its normal romanticised cliche.
Here the green shutters of the lower towns had been painted a muddy shade of brown; from here the views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside were so much lower down in altitude that they had become misty with distance. But despite the very beautiful results of old town against winning views, the town lacked soul. It’s streets were empty – we didn’t see a soul – almost as though the whole population had heard of an oncoming disaster, something of which we remained blissfully unaware, that is at least until we had lunch at the Trattoria del Pettirosso whereupon a disaster really did unfold – a gastronomic catastrophe of chewy badly cut ill cooked steak tagliata and a vino rosso so foully fizzy that the thousands of local wine growers around the town must have had a moments reflex of stomach-churned disgust.
Still, there was no denying the abundance of verdant countryside between Monteverdi and the sea, and as we descended back to ground level, we had the opportunity to wander amongst olive groves and vineyards full of the plumpest sweet grapes, taking the opportunity to sneakily taste one or two – for any day now these will be picked and harvested to make their way into a hopefully far superior wine than the horror which had ensued at lunch.
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