Wolfgang Reitzle

Villa Santo Stefano, Lucca

“Chi non ama le donne, il vino e il canto è solo un matto non un santo”.
A. Schopenhauer

Villa Santo Stefano, Lucca

L’ esplosiva e poliedrica Claudia Marinelli , responsabile della società di comunicazione e marketing ‘Darwin & Food’,  mi invita alla ‘Festa del Loto, un evento indimenticabile per conoscere le migliori etichette di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’, una cantina quasi surreale per beltà, che sta nascosta , ma ancora per poco,  tra le magnifiche e dolci colline lucchesi a Pieve di Santo Stefano. 

Mattina del 6 Luglio, 2020. Un sole cocente e un po’ di smarrimento in macchina per delle stradine strette e irte non mi fermano per raggiungere ‘Villa Santo Stefano’, e non finirò mai di ringraziare Claudia per l’opportunità di scoprire un tesoro inestimabile per persone, paesaggi e vini di grande eleganza con un’ ottimo rapporto qualità prezzo che esprimono al meglio  la bellezza, la cultura, l’arte e la tradizione enogastronomica della Toscana. Arrivata a destinazione lo staff di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’ ci accoglie con un sorriso enorme e ci fa accomodare all’ interno della sala degustazione, dove, persi e ammaliati dalla raffinatezza degli interni e dell’apparecchiatura, stiamo fermi e immobili ad ascoltare la storia della tenuta attraverso le parole dell’ ingegnere tedesco Wolfgang Reitzle, che ne è proprietario e fondatore  insieme alla moglie, la giornalista e presentatrice alemanna Nina Ruge.

Wolfgang Reitzle
Wolfgang Reitzle

Wolfgang Reitzle , un sogno diventato realtà

Wolfgang Reitzle è un signore alto , distinto , di una classe innata, che dà il benvenuto a me ed altri giornalisti e blogger nel suo regno, felice  di parlare  di come nel tempo è riuscito a trasformare la sua passione per il vino in un lavoro, che adesso  si è  materializzato in  ‘Villa Santo Stefano’, un’ azienda agricola a metà tra  sogno e realtà.

Wolfgang Reitzle, ex dirigente della BMW e poi CEO della Ford, ci spiega che tutto è nato quasi per caso. Sin da piccolo Wolfgang Reitzle si reca frequentemente  in Toscana  per le vacanze  con la sua famiglia e da allora il desiderio di viverci è forte, a tal punto che poi , nel corso della sua vita e  carriera lavorativa , decide di trovarsi un angolo di paradiso nella regione più amata d’Italia. Wolfgang Reitzle  vuole creare così un posto dove coltivare la vite e produrre nettari divini  fatti di vitigni locali come Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Colorino, Canaiolo e Vermentino, insieme ad altri alloctoni quali Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon ed Alicante. L’ occasione è il 2001 quando Wolfgang Reitzle acquista  la “Villa Bertolli”, situata in Lucchesia, assieme ad alcuni oliveti e ad un vigneto di circa un ettaro. A seguito della cessione, da parte della famiglia Bertolli, dell’omonimo marchio a Unilever, i signori Reitzle e Ruge ribattezzano la villa in onore della pittoresca ‘Pieve del IX secolo’ che si trova nelle immediate vicinanze. Così nasce ‘Villa Santo Stefano’.

Wolfgang Reitzle ci confessa che non è facile mettere in piedi un’impresa agricola di tale portata e da straniero in Italia, perché ci sono molti problemi burocratici e logistici da risolvere, non ultimo l’interrogativo se fare tutto ciò è da pazzi o da pionieri! Da grande uomo di affari qual è Wolfgang Reitzle riesce nel suo intento e dal 2005 a oggi l’avventura continua con successo  grazie anche al supporto dei suoi affetti e dei suoi fidati collaboratori nelle figure del manager direzionale Alessandro Garzi, dell’enologo Alessio Farnesi , dell’agronomo Antonio Spurio, e  della responsabile marketing Petra Pforr. Al momento l’azienda rileva, nei suoi 11 ettari di terreno, circa 30.000 bottiglie tra vino rosso e bianco (esportati per il 20% in Versilia e il restante tra Svizzera e Germania), nonché 2500 litri di olio extravergine di oliva. La filosofia che guida la ‘Società Agricola Villa Santo Stefano’ è la ricerca della perfezione nel fare vino ed olio sfruttando al massimo tutte le potenzialità di questo fazzoletto di terra benedetto da Dio.

I vini di 'Villa Santo Stefano'Le migliori etichette di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’ per ‘Darwin & Food’

 

I Vini di Villa Santo Stefano

I vini di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’ sono particolari, biologici, strutturati i rossi e leggiadri i bianchi, ed assaggiare un calice di vino lucchese è un’esperienza speciale che ancora una volta conferma la ricchezza e la varietà enoica della Toscana senza passare per forza attraverso nomi blasonati!

Una delle caratteristiche più distintive dei vini di  ‘Villa Santo Stefano’ è la sapiente mescolanza di vitigni autoctoni con varietà di origine francese, oltre un terroir da manuale fatto di peculiarità pedoclimatiche esclusive. Queste ultime sono i terreni misti e prevalentemente argillosi, una temperatura mite tutto l’anno e una combinazione di vicinanza al mare e montagna che conferisce a questi vini il loro sapore distinto, come ho modo di provare nella degustazione dei seguenti vini:

  • ‘Gioia 2018 e 2019’ : IGT Toscano, è un vino bianco 100 % Vermentino, che cresce spontaneo dalla Lucchesia alla Liguria e che proviene da un vitigno adiacente l’azienda esposto a Sud vicino alle spiagge della Versilia distanti circa 20 km , un microclima straordinario che si riflette nell’aroma fragrante del vino stesso. La selezione e la raccolta delle uve , è eseguita scrupolosamente a mano, e dopo la diraspatura e pigiatura, le uve subiscono una leggera macerazione di qualche ora prima di essere vinificate in bianco. La fermentazione dura dai 15 ai 20 giorni e si avvale delle tecnologie più innovative, il processo avviene infatti in vasche di acciaio a temperatura controllata tra i 15° e i 16°. Questo vino bianco, nelle due diverse annate, possiede un bouquet armonico e fruttato, una buona acidità e un tocco di mineralità che si avverte nel finale;
  • ‘Luna 2019’ : 50% Merlot e 50% Sangiovese è un rosé sobrio, che va bene su tutte le portate di mare e di carni bianche ed è perfetto anche per un aperitivo; ha un colore rosa provenzale, al naso è pulito con profumi che ricordano la pesca bianca e la buccia di mela rossa;
  • ‘Volo 2019’ : IGT Toscano 40% Petit Verdot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon e 20% Alicante, è un vino che si presenta con un colore rosso intenso e con sfumature violacee frutto della sua giovane età. Al naso è floreale, con note di prugne, more e ciliegie, con un finale delicato di cipria. Al palato si esprime frizzante, con un buon tannino ed un’ acidità equilibrata  che lo fanno diventare di gradevole beva;
  • ‘Sereno 2016, 2017 e 2018’ : è una ‘DOC Colline Lucchesi’ fatto da  80% di Sangiovese e 20% tra Ciliegiolo e da altri vitigni del posto. Si tratta di un vino dal colore rosso rubino con riflessi porpora, al naso  note di violetta, frutti rossi e spezie. Al palato è morbido con un finale gradevole di frutta;
  • ‘Loto 2015, 2017 e 2018’ : è il vino più pregiato di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’ fatto di  50% Cabernet Sauvignon,  40% Merlot e 10% Petit Verdot . Per ogni vite vengono selezionati non più di quattro grappoli, per garantire il massimo della resa da ogni pianta. Nel 2015 è stato installato un impianto computerizzato ad alta tecnologia utilizzato per garantire un processo di fermentazione e vinificazione ottimale. Di norma, il processo di fermentazione dura 12 giorni. L’affinamento dura, a seconda della tipologia di uva e dell’annata, dai 12 ai 18 mesi ed avviene in pregiate barrique francesi, in una barriccaia a temperatura (15°C) e umidità (83%) controllate. Il tipo di legno utilizzato per le barrique viene selezionato a seconda della tipologia di uva. Al termine dell’affinamento viene composta la cuvée e viene quindi imbottigliato il vino, che dovrà attendere almeno altri 6 mesi prima di essere distribuito. Questo è un vino di spessore, di corpo, che si presenta con un colore che può arrivare al rosso rubino intenso ed ha sentori di frutti di bosco, tabacco e vaniglia.
Claudia Marinelli , Darwin & Food

Tra una chiacchiera e l’altra il tempo vola ed è ora di pranzare nello splendido giardino di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’, dove ci sono tavoli superbamente imbanditi, sparsi tra fontane zampillanti di acqua e alberi abbracciati da boccioli di rosa.

Il nostro pergolato ci protegge un po’ dalla calura estiva che finisce di darci fastidio non appena lo chef Riccardo Santini del Vignaccio ci annuncia il menù della festa: una panzanella di pomodoro e cipolle all’aceto balsamico, una torta lunigiana  d’Erbi di bietole spinaci e rapini, uno sformato di fagiolini e formaggio di Scoppolato di Pedona, faraona, zuppa di porro e patate e a finire un sorbetto al melone per pulire la bocca.

Barriccaia di ‘Villa Santo Stefano’

‘Villa Santo Stefano’ è un borgo incantato che ti strega non appena varchi il cancello all’entrata, dove perdersi e rilassarsi tra lusso e  vini pregiati che danno il meglio riposando a lungo, pronti così per essere stappati e consumati a celebrare un momento speciale, che è sempre quello che vivi e non quello che aspetti!

Enjoy it 

Stefania

Podere Marcampo

Podere Marcampo, Volterra

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.”
Paulo Coelho

Podere Marcampo, Volterra, Tuscany

Six years ago two things happened to change my life. First of all I fell in love with Tuscany and then I became a sommelier. These were the starting points allowing me to discover the hidden delights of the Pisa wine country, a charming sun kissed land, stretching from the hills to the sea, blessed by God, as beautiful as unexpected!

Wine runs deep in the veins of Tuscany, being woven into the cultural identity of this central Italian paradise. Pisa wines are synonymous with excellence thanks to the efforts of many skilled professionals.‘Podere Marcampo’ is one of the most important wineries in the area being representative of Pisa and its province.  ‘Pisa Hills is not only a ‘DOC label’ but also a ‘wine road’ playing an increasingly important role in wine production in Tuscany and it is a wine area that is on the rise only recently starting to get the recognition that is deserves. ‘Pisa Hills meanders through the hills of the valley of the Era River and the lower part of the Arno Valley crossing a territory with traditions dating back to the time of the Etruscans. If you head towards this entrancing place you will be greeted by an environment almost untouched by modernity ranging from picturesque scenery of mesmerising color set amongst the trees to places where wine and oil are still cultivated and produced in the traditional way. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is an organic biodynamic wine estate which reflects all the beauty and wine production potential of the ‘Pisa Hills’ area.

Claudia del Duca

I sipped the elegant ‘Podere Marcampo’ wines for the first time at ‘Terre di Toscana’, a wine exhibition which took place at the ‘Luna Hotel’ in Viarreggio. I really liked these wines and Claudia Del Duca, the owner of ‘Podere Marcampo’, described them with reverence.

Claudia was very friendly, professional and kind, though what impressed me the most about her was her dedication to her work and her love for wine which was shared with her parents Genuino and Ivana. I promised myself to return again to her winery for another memorable experience! I arrived at ‘Podere Marcampo’ on a rainy day in late November in Volterra. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a family farm business which produces both excellent and also rare red and white wines, extra virgin olive oil and grappa. At the front of her estate surrounded by lush and verdant countryside, Claudia welcomed me with a big smile. Looking at this scene where sky and sea converge at the Tuscan horizon in an endless embrace I felt overcome with emotion as we sat down in a small patio near the front of her private residence, where we talked about the history of her family . 

Genuino del Duca

Claudia explained that ‘Podere Marcampo’ was born in 1971 when her father Genuino , having been promoted at work as a policeman, had moved from Abruzzo to Volterra and came up with the idea of transforming his passion for food and wine into a full time job. He wanted to create a new career in food and wine, so that he could resign from his day to day work as a policeman, and worked hard to make this dream come true! In the beginning it was not easy, though having climbed through the ranks at work in 2001 he was able to open a small inn in Saline, a small town near Volterra. By 2003 he had earned enough money to be able to open an exclusive restaurant in the center of Volterra, ‘Enoteca del Duca’ which is still running today! In 2005 he managed to buy ‘Marcampo’ a historic homestead, which had been abandoned though captured his heart as well as sparking his imagination. Genuino restored ‘Marcampo’ shortly afterwards transforming it into what ‘Podere Marcampo’ is today, an extraordinary holiday home as well as a farm and winery surrounded by four hectares of countryside, where to produce his wine he takes care of the best local grapes (Vermentino, Merlot, Sangiovese, Pugnitello and Ciliegiolo). Genuino  had to work hard to make his land suitable for wine growing because of the original salt and clay content of the soil. He had to plant the best rootstocks with roots to a maximum depth of 1 meter and having made sure that his preparation has been the best winemaking is now not so much of a challenge as more of an opportunity. Today, ‘Podere Marcampo’ is a real gem situated within the National Park known as ‘Le Balze’, a magical place where visitors can slow down and unwind. There is an outdoor swimming pool, a sunlit terrace, vineyards, gardens and imposing vistas of the Tuscan countryside encouraging guests to explore this modern wine country retreat, a corner of the world created for relaxation of body and soul with manicured cypress trees, sunflowers, olive groves and vineyards.

 

Podere Marcampo Tour

After a short walk through the vineyards Claudia explained the winemaking process starting with the working of the land to the bottling in the wine cellar and this for me was the best part of the tour.

In the tasting room I sampled high quality wines paired with homemade cured meats and local cheeses. ‘Podere Marcampo’ is completely handworked by Genuino and Claudia and is organic, completely free of any pesticides. A couple of million years ago this area lay at the bottom of the sea so the soil is rich in fossil shells and is characterised by a particular geology of sand, silt, clay and limestone which has been stable for centuries giving a complexity, structure and minerality to these well balanced wines. These are the best award winning labels I tasted:

‘Terrablu’: made from Vermentino and Malvasia the grapes are first processed by the modern technique of maceration in order to preserve all the aromas of the variety followed by four months of fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. On the palate there are notes of lime, almond, green apple and white florals with a unique sense of refreshing acidity, its charm being in its delicate, briny nose and long, fresh palate;

‘Giusto alle Balze’: made from a careful and limited selection of 100% Merlot, vinified in stainless steel vats, then aged in oak barrels for 12 months the wine is then left to settle for another 6 months before bottling. It is my favourite wine because of its soft and sensual texture and approachable style being a velvety red wine that pairs well with the best Tuscan foods. This wine has won the Silver Medal at ‘Mondial du Merlot’ in Lugano and the ‘Concours Mondial Merlot’ in Brussels;

‘Severus’: made from a selection of 100% Sangiovese, vinified in stainless steel vats then aged in oak barrels for 12 months, this wine is then left to settle for another 12 months before bottling. Tasting of clove spice and cherries this wine is like drinking Christmas. It is also savoury providing a wide range of tastes from the very earthy and rustic to the rounded and red fruit;

‘Marcampo’: made from 50% Sangiovese and 50% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and blended after 12 months in oak barrels. The wine is left to settle for another 6 months before being bottled. It is a powerful combination of the sweet, juicy, fruit flavors of Merlot and the rustic, sour-cherry tang of Sangiovese. It reminds me of a duet between a soprano and a bass as you can hear each one distinctly since they sing at different frequencies and the feeling is one of absolute pleasure;

‘Genuino’: made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, these two varieties are vinified separately in stainless steel vats and then blended and bottled after 10 months. ‘Genuino’ is a medium bodied moderately tannic wine with a lovely cherry flavor which impresses with its ruby red, vinous though also fruity and floral, dry and firm taste.

From the start Genuino and Claudia make wines just as they envisage them. Their winemaking takes its course, the grapes being gently guided through a gentle process until they arrive at carefully selected barrels for resting, maturing and evolving. The more I meet the winemakers of Italy, the more I gain an appreciation for what is in my glass. Years of hard work, research and experimentation have gone into tending the vines to create a product that brings so much pleasure and joy to the palate.

Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra
Enoteca del Duca restaurant Volterra

L’Enoteca del Duca. Volterra

After our fantastic wine tasting, Genuino , Claudia and myself made our way down to ‘Enoteca del Duca’ their restaurant in the centre of Volterra. Genuino’s wife, Ivana runs this fine and intimate restaurant which is equipped with a terrific outdoor garden and excellent wine cellar housed in a historic building situated between the ‘acropolis’ and ‘Priori Square’

L ‘Enoteca del Duca’ offers gourmet cuisine and the menu changes according to the season and the availability of ingredients. My lunch there was really wonderful and the service impeccable. I tried their best wines along with the ‘burrata’ and vegetable soufflé as well as their home-made pasta in beef broth and their boar stew. The quality of food was outstanding, the ambience wonderfully inviting and the exquisite wine list to die for. When you go, ask to see their beautiful wine cellar which is packed with many unknown treasures! Genuino’s family form a perfect team when it comes to satisfying food and wine lovers. Claudia also organizes cooking classes at their farm demonstrating how to make fresh pasta or ‘focaccia’ whilst also allowing you to discover the secrets of homemade cake making all under the guidance of a professional Italian chef.

Volterra

It was time to go and I thanked Genuino and Claudia warmly for the wonderful memories they had provided me. They had made me feel at home and now I have yet another good reason to return to Volterra to be able to admire its considerable treasures.

Actually I am familiar with Volterra as three years ago I started working there as an English teacher. At the time it was really challenging having to go to Volterra every day from Pisa, considering that I was also attending a sommelier course in Lucca at the time though everything worked out well in the end and now I am really happy.I had enough time during this period to explore Volterra, a delightful, old hamlet full of history dating back to before 7BC with Etruscan, Roman and Medieval art and culture. The narrow streets are full of old are full of old churches, palaces, secret chapels, intimate restaurants and alabaster shops where you can watch artisans at work. Alabaster has long been a big industry in Volterra. Softer and easier to work than marble, this translucent material was traditionally thinly sliced to provide windows for Italy’s medieval churches. The best way to appreciate Volterra is to walk through its cobbled lanes, enjoying the beautiful ‘Palazzo dei Priori’, the Cathedral, the evocative ruins of the ‘Roman Amphitheater’ and the beautiful park dominated by the ‘Medicean Fortress’ with its ‘Rocca del Mastio’.

Other things to see in Volterra include:

The Alabaster Eco Museum’: Volterra has an ancient alabaster tradition. Art fans can watch sculptors at work and can purchase locally made alabaster in the studio shop;

The Etruscan Museum’: The museum is full of rare artefacts from centuries before Christ. There are decorated pot handles and crafted jewellery, the museum’s extensive collection of urns being a reminder that the Etruscans believed that the afterlife could be fun;

The Volterra City Museum and Art Gallery’: Housed in the ‘Minucci-Solaini Palace’, it contains the famous painting ‘The Deposition’ by Rosso Fiorentino;

• ‘Roman Cistern’: Located at the top of the hill by the ‘Medicean Fortress’, the it can be accessed by a winding iron staircase.

In recent years Volterra has attracted international recognition for its connection with the ‘Twilight’ series of books and movies, part of the second movie ‘New Moon’ being set in Volterra though most of the movie was actually filmed in another Tuscan town. More than 2000 years ago Volterra was a key trading center and one of the most important Etruscan cities and was protected by a wall four miles long, twice the length of the wall that encircles Volterra today. You can still see the mighty Etruscan gate, built from volcanic stone.

Tuscany is a pretty large region, and all of it is stunning. There is so much to see and do that I can’t suggest any particula good guide or website! But even in the short time I spent here, there’s so much to recommend to you I don’t even know where to start! It would be a good idea to enjoy any good wines here,  not just to drink them, but to experience the people, places, and cultures  . Even Bacchus, the god of wine, would envy a road trip through Tuscany’s wine heartlands, marveling at the most spectacular scenery on earth. To taste, drink and dine exceedingly well, this magical land has no peers. For who could resist the sumptuous, extravagantly green, the undulating farm fields that look like a painting, the twisty rural roads, the dreamy sunsets, and the circles of trees perched just so in resplendent tableaus? But it’s not just the culture, the art, the food, the wine, and the landscape. Beauty is in the DNA of Tuscans. The  Tuscans consider themselves the inheritors and stewards of a centuries-long legacy of beauty. Every tree that’s planted, every farmhouse that’s restored, every road that’s re-routed — it’s all carefully considered not only on practical or economic merits, but also on aesthetics. Get lost among  this huge amount of artistic wonders! 

Apulia in my Mind

Bari

“…Ma tutti i sogni nell’alba svaniscon perché,
quando tramonta, la luna li porta con sé,
Ma io continuo a sognare negli occhi tuoi belli,
che sono blu come un cielo trapunto di stelle…”
D. Modugno

Bari

Bari acted as my gateway to Apulia, the beautiful region situated in the heel of the boot of Italy. This Summer I went on holiday to Bari for a week with my parents who were celebrating their wedding anniversary. They first met many years ago in Bari. It was love at first sight and I was their most precious gift.

The Old City known as ‘Bari Vecchia’ is amazing with its narrow stone lined streets of fading pastels and white, wrought iron balconies and above all else the scent of clean white sheets blowing in the light breeze. I did nothing but wander, camera in hand, capturing the best of what makes Bari such a beautiful city. It is much more than just the capital of Apulia, also being a busy, important port with connections to Greece, Albania and Croatia. It is a destination off the beaten track offering many things to do and see. The best way to get to Bari is to fly to ‘Bari Karol Wojtyla International Airport’ (also known as ‘Palese Airport’) which is located about 8km (5 miles) northwest of Bari City Centre. Then you can travel to Bari via many different modes of transport details , and you can choose many different types of accommodation on www.booking.com.  There is no ‘best’ hotel or ‘best’ district though some districts are better than others and you can decide where to stay at your own discretion. I travelled to Bari by car and my B&B was in the City Centre. Everything I could possibly want was close at hand.

Bari
Old Town

Bari, a Charming City in South Italy

Located on the Adriatic Sea, Bari (population around 300 000) is the second largest city in Southern Italy and has become one of Italy’s main commercial and industrial centres as well being a fascinating historical city in its own right. A large university and a high percentage of young people and migrants makes Bari a lively city as well as it having plenty of attractions for visitors such as lovely beaches, elegant boulevards and a gorgeous nightlife. For those interested in culture, a visit to the opera house, the municipal building or to other monuments and museums in Bari  is worthwhile.

Bari is also the place where various cultures came and went due to various invasions and changing governors, the Greeks, Romans, Goths, Lombards, Byzantines, Normans and Crusaders all leaving evidence of having been there. During the Middle Ages, Bari was ruled by Lords such as the Hohenstaufens and the Sforzas of Milan. Bari later suffered damage during World War II. Today Bari is a well connected coastal city, and as a large port has access to many shipping routes having a varied economy that includes the production of textiles as well as agriculture, in particular the production and export of cherries, tomatoes and artichokes. Bari developed industrially in the second half of the twentieth century and now boasts an important trade fair, the largest in southern Italy.

Old Port
Old Port

Bari, caressed by the wind and overlooking the sea has a magical atmosphere that is part life, history and tradition. I liked walking around Bari, finding new corners to photograph and watching the fishermen go out to sea in their boats. Bari is an inspiring town where you can find anything you want. So what can you do in Bari? Let me tell you:

  • ‘Bari Vecchia’ : I explored the Old Town which is nestled around the harbour on a peninsula to the north and contains many beautiful Romanesque -Pugliese structures and churches whilst the wider residential and business area which developed in the 1820’s spreads out from this point into the mainland. Women will like ‘Via Sparano’ and ‘Via Argiro’ which are the best shopping streets In Bari and in general the whole of the Old Town looks and feels as if you have been transported to some time in the past as passing through the narrow streets you will see sweet grandmas rolling pasta, families having dinners and neighbours talking to each other;
  • ‘The own of Murattiano’ : The ‘new’ town was built in 1813 during the French occupation of Bari by Joachim Murat. The upper class ‘Murat District’ is the modern city centre whilst  ‘Corso Cavour’ or ‘Corso Vittorio Emanuele’ and the streets surrounding them are full of many branded shops, cafes and restaurants. During a guided tour I saw the ‘Basilica of S. Nicholas’ (one of the most beautiful examples of Romanesque architecture in Apulia), the ‘Cathedral of S. Sabino’, the ‘Swabian Castle’, the ‘Fortino di Sant’Antonio Abate’, the ‘Piazza del Ferrarese’, the ‘Piazza Mercantile’ and the ‘Old Port’; 
  • The ‘Nazario Sauro Seafront Promenade’ : Slow down, take a stroll and prepare to absorb the beauty of this ‘Lungomare’. I love the sea so much that I could not get enough of just walking along this picturesque promenade whilst enjoying the sunshine or the light at dusk and the smell of the sea. This endless waterfront begins from the port and runs along the length of the city. The promenade was inaugurated in 1927 and along it you can admire several impressive Liberty style palaces, luxury hotels and the colourful ‘Margherita Theatre‘; 
  • Petruzzelli Theater’: Close to the Old Town, Petruzzelli Theater is the third largest opera house in Italy after ‘La Scala’ in Milan and the ‘San Carlo Theatre’ in Naples. Until the middle of the 20th century there were ten theatres in Bari , which was well known all around Italy for its artistic and vivid life;
  • Spazio Murat’: It’s a modern art space in the ‘Piazza del Ferrarese’, which promotes contemporary art with an emphasis on visual art and on design, the wish of its inventors being to create a space that raises questions and encourages interaction and discussion so making Bari a city of the arts with an international dimension. Each season of culture allows art lovers to explore several exhibitions particularly the ones entitled ‘Made in Puglia’;
  • Via delle Orecchiette’: I stumbled across the Italian ladies who made the streets around ‘Arco Alto’ and ‘Arco Basso’ famous (only a few steps away from the imposing ‘Swabian Castle’) by turning flour and water into ‘orechiette’, the typical Apulian pasta. You can watch them go through the entire process of mixing and rolling the dough to hand forming each ear shaped piece of pasta, then placing these on drying racks, all whilst exchanging gossip and smiling for photos. A portion of orecchiette does not cost much , because it is a very simple rustic meal as well as being a very tasty souvenir to bring home!;
  • Pane & Pomodoro Beach: This is not the most captivating beach in Bari though being only fifteen minutes walk from the city is an ideal option for those who do not want to travel far though want to feel the sand between their toes. The beach was named after a cheap local bread topped with tomato mainly eaten by the less well off during their lunch break by the shore.
via delle Orecchiette

Food & Wine in Bari 

Bari is very proud of its traditional Southern Italian Cooking based on Seafood, Vegetables, Wheat, Olive Oil and Wine. Puglian Food and Wine are perfect for an unforgettable culinary tour which is a huge part of any local travel experience expecially in Italy.

Bari is a Foodie Paradise because it is a region with Plenty of Sun and with Fertile Soil where Foods are Fresh and Flavoursome. Vineyards produce some Excellent Local Wines including Full Bodied Reds like ‘Negroamaro’, ‘Primitivo’ and ‘Nero di Troia’ and refreshing white and rose wines ideal for Summer lunches. In Italy, Food is Life and Life is Food as Food is inextricably linked to the culture both nationally and regionally and Bari takes its Food Very Seriously! You’ll always be fascinated by the Food in Bari as there is so much to eat and drink during every season and the cuisine tends to be both simple and delicious. There are plenty of fantastic dishes to choose from such as ‘tiella riso, patate e cozze’ which is made from cheap ingredients such as rice, potatoes, mussels, onions, garlic, tomatoes and grated Pecorino cheese. Walking along the cobblestoned streets you will notice that families usually eat lunch and dinner with their windows and doors open, filling the air with joy and sometimes inviting curious passers by in for a bite. Here are some places I recommend for local Dishes and Wines to try:

Apulia in my Mind
Sea is Happiness

Beginning your Apulia Road Trip from Bari 

 

Castellana Caves

Castellana Caves’  was known by the locals as ‘Hell’s Gate’, a place where the spirits of the dead were thought to wander. On January 23rd 1938 the speleologist Franco Anelli discovered the existence of numerous caves of Karst formation which had originally been formed by the flow of an underground river. After centuries the effect of the water on the limestone turned the area into an astonishing array of stalactites and stalagmites. The caves are 3km in length and 73m in depth with two possible paths for tourists to follow, a short path of 1km which can be done in an hour or a longer path which is far more interesting. The longer path gives the tourist the chance to appreciate all the beauties of the natural environment and in the two hours it takes to traverse the system you get the chance to appreciate all the beauties of the natural environment. Visitors are encouraged to use their imagination to recognise the shapes of animals and people amongst all the gnarled rocks some of which are floodlit to enhance the wonder of the place.

Alberobello

Alberobello

Alberobello’s  “Trulli” became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. The town of Alberobello is unique for its “Trulli”. They are dry mortarless stone huts built with conical tops . You see “Trulli”  throughout the Itria Valley in Apulia, but the greatest concentration is in Alberobello. The houses are a pleasure on the eye though their nature isn’t clear even today. and their nature isn’t clear even today. Some people say that the houses identify their social class whilst others say that their style serves as a simple embellishment or gives them an esoteric meaning. Plenty of “Trulli” have been converted into guesthouses, so you could try them for a night or two!. Alberobello  is one of the most beautiful towns in Southern Italy and going up onto the panoramic open terraces to admire these roofs for me is something magical, like something out of a fairytale. And don’t forget to stop at ‘La Lira’ , a popular and wonderful ‘rosticceria’  for your lunch . It’s a typical Italian fast food shop which prepares and cooks a variety of dishes, both cold and hot, ranging from roasted meats and pasta through to vegetables and salads. The food is delicious. The owner was so nice and he explained me a lot of things about his culinary specialities. 

Polignano al Mare

Polignano al Mare

‘Polignano al Mare’ is perched on the white cliffs of a rugged coastline, and it’s the birthplace of Domenico Modugno, the author of Nel Blu dipinto di blu”,  the most pupular Italian song . Flying and singing, Modugno flies up happily to the blue sky and when it is already day all his dreams are taken away by the moon. But he keeps on dreaming in the blue eyes of his woman, as blue as a blue starry sky. Stunningly beautiful, there’s plenty to see, eat and drink while strolling around Polignano al Mare, like I did whilst visiting  “Al Buco Preferito Tranquillage” , a lovely restaurant with a breathtaking view. decent prices, great food, excellent service and a good location.

Trani

Trani

‘Trani’ left a deep trace in my heart and in my mind, and  I would love to return, not just once as a tourist, but as if I was visiting old and dear friend. I am not able to define what exactly made me feel connected to this town.  Perhaps it is the simple beauty of the Romanesque ‘Seafront Cathedral’, which dominates the townscape, both by day and night, and the square in front of it which becomes a lively meeting place in the evening.  Maybe it’s the colorful boats in the port or the perfect  lunch I had at ‘Peschef’, a street food restaurant, a street food restaurant, which is the right option for fresh, fast, reasonably priced seafood. The menu is short and centered around local seafood, like tuna and cuttlefish. You can get dishes with fried or raw seafood, all of which are delicious. The restaurant can look crowded at times as it is fairly small thought the line moves fast. The food, the customer service and the view all make for an excellent experience. I sat outside near the water’s edge whilst eating all the different fish dishes that they brought to the table. All the food was fresh and tasty and it is a restaurant I would hlghly recommend visiting.

 

Matera

Matera

Matera is one of the most spectacular places you can visit in Italy or anywhere else in the world for that matter. Until the 1950’s Matera was a source of shame in Italy associated with poverty, malaria and high rates of infant mortality, where people lived in caves with no electricity, running water or sewage. Carlo Levi, the famous Italian writer raised awareness of the desperate conditions people were living in and around half of the 30 000 population moved to new homes in the modern part of the city between 1953 and 1968. When visiting Matera be sure to visit ‘‘Sassi di Matera’ (the Old Caves), where people used to live and the ‘Perrone Bakery’ the place to go in ‘Sassi di Matera’ to buy local breads, treats and gifts to bring home. The bakery is only about 15 minutes walk from the main piazza and although located outside the historic city centre is well worth a visit.

Apulia in my mind

Apulia had just as much impact on me during my holiday and I’m already planning to return next summer. Tourism may be growing though as it is not well known as of yet you will find far fewer visitors here than in other parts of the country so you can navigate the streets without encountering tour groups and also benefit from lower prices. Local people will always have time for you and it is their warmth that will stay with you the most. Apulia is becoming a special destination for those who are open to venturing somewhere a little different in Europe, and many travellers are learning that Apulia is a place that they should visit sooner, rather than later.

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

“With Wine, Poetry, or Virtue, as you choose, but get Drunk!”
Charles Baudelaire

The Federici Winery. Lunigiana in a Glass

There is nothing like the regional products of a territory that can describe its history and culture. The fruits of the earth tell us how  people have shaped the landscape where they live. That is why visiting “Federici Winery” is a special way to discover Lunigiana, a mysterious land sandwiched between the Ligurian coastal towns of “Cinque Terre” and the Tuscan cities of Lucca and Pisa

On the 2nd November I visited the “Federici Winery” in Ortonovo, near the ancient ruins of Luni, the famous Roman port, where Roman merchant ships  used to transport precious Carrara marble along the Tyrrhenian Sea. Luca Federici welcomed me when I arrived at his wine cellar. He was ready to guide me through a tour of his  winery and dedicated his time to share with me the story of his family, his territory and his wines. Luca’s big smile warmed a rainy day, making me realise that if you do what you love, you never work a day in your life! 

Federici Family

Federici Family, a Story of vineyards and men

The Federici family, originally from Ortonovo  boast a long tradition of winemaking that has been handed down from father to son. It all started in 1985, when Giulio Federici and his wife Isa, the third generation of the family restored a country property in Lunigiana devoting themselves to cultivating the local grapes and to making quality wines. 

Luca, the oenoligist, and his brother Andrea, the sales and marketing manager, represent the fourth generation of the “Federici family,“. Today together they lead their business with passion, professionalism and with care for their territory. The best result of the Federici family‘s love for what they do is  of course one of my favourite wines, the so called Vermentino: a dry white wine that is sleek, tangy and even a little bit sexy. There are hundreds of white grape types planted throughout Italy,  though the Vermentino for me is really the best  This old variety grows well  here , because  the climate is mild , and because the vines are planted close to the sea. I’m crazy  about the elegance of the Vermentino as well as the , minerality and  saltiness in its finish, and pairing it  with the local cuisine specialities , such as seafood antipasti and pesto sauce, is something you have to experience once in your life! 

Federici Winery
Federici Winery

Federici Winery 

“Federici Winery” owes its name to the sun shining in the ancient Roman port of Luni. The archaeological site is still intact and just a couple of miles from the winery, and commemmorates the thousand year old tradition of winemaking in this area.

“Federici Winery” is located near La Spezia in far eastern Liguria nestling against the Apuan Alps (with peaks reaching almost 7,000ft  only 5 km from the sea) and the river plain of the River Magra. This privileged position  provides an incredible microclimate, where the action of sea and mountain breeze, alternating between day and night, creates optimal  conditions for growing vines and producing wines of excellence. Here the soil in the valley is of an alluvial and sandy  nature with leaner clay on the hills. That is how the Federicis can experiment  different varieties of the Vermentino producing completely different taste profiles in the vineyard, along with other local (Albarola, Sangiovese, Canaiolo, Ciliegiolo) and international grapes (Syrah, Merlot). Harvest usually starts  towards the end of  August and the beginning of September . Grape picking is one of the most important phases of work for the Federicis and is entirely done by hand just like it used to be when the winery was first set up.

Federici Family, from father to son

The “Federici Winery is a key player in the local economy and has the objective to constantly work to enhance the quality of its wines. The winery extends over  around 25 hectares with vineyards in prized locations both on the hillside and on the plain. The winery buys hand-harvested grapes from other small growers in the surrounding countryside paying for qualit, and  keeping alive both tradition and wine culture. The winery produces 200.000 bottles a year, including  whites, reds, rosé, sparkling wines, sweet wines and grappa.

Federici Family
Federici Estate

The Federicis invested a lot of money in the new winery in 2015, which now covers 1600 square metres and it is equipped with  state of the art technology, such as a special isobaric bottling system, which ensures  optimal care in the packaging of the wine . Moreover, the winery follows  bio-architectural principles in order to  reduce  the impact on the environment as well as maximise energy savings. The beautiful underground cellar, where the wines rest for their final refinement, is a perfect example of the  harmony that exists between the buildings and nature. The cellar is situated around a hundred metres below sea level, which helps harness the natural stability of temperature and humidity provided by the  presence of an underground aquifer. All this is further supported by constant control of every stage of the production process thanks to ecological  solutions in the wine cellar such as solar panels, natural ventilation and the use of wood, stone and brick. The Federicis are very proud of their magical reign and passion and patience and experience are key words of their philosophy.  For them viticulture is a family tradition, and their care for the environment, the climate, the vineyards and  their employees produces matchless wines, whose  flavour reflect the beauty of their terroir

Luca Federici

Federici  Wine Tasting 

Wine tasting in “Federici Winery” is an intimate and personal experience. The tasting room  is very  large, decorated with frescos and has two magnificent handmade chandeliers the design of which has been inspired by nature. Luca took me through his line of biological  wines and demonstrated the quality of his best bottles of wine by pouring me a glass of their Vermentino. He  is proud of his wines with good reason and I sipped through his wines with pleasure.  All showed great character and depth as well as a softness you rarely see with natural wines. They seemed stable, substantial and yet so expressively honest. Luca explained how the ideal climate for their white wines exists in the “Colli di Luni DOC Area”: “ During the day there is superb ventilation and optimal  exposure to the sun whilst the evenings are fresh and humid, always with moderate temperatures whether it be winter or summer.

Federici‘s  vineyards are situated within two to three miles of the sea, and here are the three versions of  the their  best wines made from 100 % Vermentino

I learned a lot about Vermentino thanks to Luca. The best Vermentino is medium-bodied, fresh and quite round, with a floral aftertaste, and its freshness is the result of the natural, lively acidity of the grape itself which provides balance as well as a marvellous affinity for pairing with a variety of foods. Vermentino grows not only in Liguria, but also in Sardinia and Tuscany, and in each of these three territories, the vineyards are very close to the sea,  giving the wines a special character that you don’t find in wines from vineyards in a warmer, inland area. Vermentino from a maritime climate tends to display a great minerality or saltiness in the finish. Vermentino is one of the most important varieties in Liguria, along with another white known as “Pigato“.

Federici Wines
Federici Wines

Lunigiana is one of the smallest region in Italy, but its white wines are among the most distinctive, like the other three wines I sipped at the “Federici Winery :

Lunigiana
Lunigiana

If you are a wine lover or a wine expert, Lunigiana could be your perfect upcoming destination.

Lunigiana, in north west Tuscany, has a lot to offer. It is a location to be enjoyed all year round, and above all it is easy to get to via flights to either Pisa or Genoa.  The wine region of Lunigiana is very beautiful, with vineyards on rocky  hillsides that  overlook the sea as well as vineyards higher up in the valleys  and small narrow roads that meander up amongst the vineyards.   With such a large number of grape varieties unique to Lunigiana, this can lead to some confusion though doing research before visiting and wine tasting in such a picturesque region is worthwhile. Lunigiana is also dotted with numerous stunning medieval villages and  is a pearl amongst the other international  and aristocratic hamlets  along the zone of the  “Riviera Ligure di Levante”, such as  Portofino, “Cinque Terre”, and the “Gulf of Poets”. Lunigiana lies between the northern Appennines, the “Versilian Plan”, and the “Gulf of la Spezia” and has real rural character as well as castles, Romanesque churches, and  old towns full scenes of rare beauty starting with Luni and Sarzana.

Luni

Luni  the ancient Roman port which gives the name to Lunigiana Luni is surrounded by a valley called “Val di Magra” in the Montemarcello Magra Park”, which extends from inland Liguria up to the Gulf of Poets. Points of interest include the remains of an Roman Amphitheatre (1st century AD) and the Archaeological Museum.

Sarzana, piazza Calandrini
Sarzana, piazza Calandrini

Some are born in Sarzana and love it for life, others choose Sarzana as their place. The latter seems to be the case with the family Bonaparte, who were welcomed there in exile and from  where they left to conquer the world. The Bonaparte family left an important witness to their presence in the form of the “Bonaparte Tower House”, which is located in the first section of the “Via Mazzini”, a few steps away from the ancient church of “Sant’Andrea”. Sarzana is a quiet city, tourists don’t go there much. You might peek into some of the antique shops in the historic centre, or into the terrific  main square “Piazza Matteotti” . There are many restaurants in Sarzana, and all of them are good. It’s like the town is waiting for tourists who seldom come.  Sarzana has two nice castles:  ” Cittadella Fortezza Firmafede”, which is right on the northeast border of the old town, and the “Fortezza di Sarzanello”, which is just north of town. It also has a fine Romanesque/Gothic cathedral, the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral”.

Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life
Federici Wines are perfect for each moment of your Life

Save your appetite my friends . Stay thirsty. Passion and humility create balance in the heart and balance in the glass. Luca knows this and you can see it in his eyes and taste it in his wines.

Alla vostra!
Enjoy it!
Stefania!

 

 

 

 

 

Chamber of Commerce Pisa

 Terre di Pisa Food & Wine Festival 2019

“There is no sincerer Love than the Love of Food”, 
G. B. Shaw

“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019“. Why to come? 

Don’t miss the Outstanding Enogastronomic Event “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, now at its 8th Edition! “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, will take place at the “Leopolda Station” in Pisa from the 18th to the 20th of Ocotber 2019. It becomes a Moment to experience Tuscan Lifestyle! Thanks to a Wine-Gastronomy Tour, You will discover the Flavours of Tradition in Pisa and its Province.“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” provides a Varied Calendar of Activities to enjoy an Unconventional Weekend  with Art, Culture, Top Food & Wine. A Real Pleasure for the Body and for the Spirit!

Chamber of Commerce Pisa
Chamber of Commerce Pisa

“Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019“. What to find? 

After the Succes of Last Year  with 8000 Visitors, “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” confirms  the “Chamber of Commerce of Pisa” Commitment to promote Pisa and its Province together with the collaboration of Professional Associations and Institutions (“ConfCommercio”,CNA”, “CIA”, “Confesercenti Toscano Nord”, “Coldiretti”, “Confagricoltura”, “IPSAR Matteotti” ) . At this Beautiful “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”, a Warm Welcome awaits You! There is  the Best of Pisa and its Province: 

  • 75 Producers; 
  • Wine, Oil and Food Experts; 
  • Restaurants;
  • Pisa University Nutritionists; 
  • Show Cookings; 
  • Oil Tastings; 
  • Wine Tastings 

Free Entrance for an Unforgettable Weekend! What are You waiting for ? Special Guests, Show Cookings, Oil & Wine Tasting!

Free Entrance for You at the “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019”! Get out the Most of it! There is only a 10/15 euro Ticket  for booking the several Show Cookings and Olive & Wine Tastings Off Line or On Line ( www.pisafoodwinefestival.it). Don’t Throw Away your Ticket! From the 18th October to the 3rd of November 2019, Your Ticket gives you the possibility to get a Discount on Entrance to “Pisa’s Old Vessels Musem”, to the “Walkway of the Pisa’s Walls”, and to the Exibition “Futurism” at “Pisa’s Palazzo Blu” . Moreover, You will meet the Special Guest Rubina Rovini, the Pisan Chef, who is known for having competed on the fifth season of “Master Chef Italy”. She is also a Brand Ambassador, and a Food Consultant !

Pisa Food and Wine 2019

Pisa Cuisine. What to eat ? 

Pisan Cuisine is Simple and Delicious. It varies from Fish and Seafood Specialties to Game Dishes. It offers Countless Famous and Traditional Must-Eat Foods. At the “Terre di Pisa Food  & Wine Festival 2019” , You can taste all the Typical Dishes , and  Protected Products, such as “Monte Pisano Olive Oil”, “Pecorino Cheese”,  “Pisan Beef”, “San Miniato Truffle”, and much more. These Traditional Pisan Dishes are deeply rooted in the Pisan  Culture, and Recipes are often passed down between generations and are cherished for their Authentic Origins.

Friday 18th October Menu

Saturday 19th October Menu

Sunday 20th October Menu

Pisa Wines

Enjoy it !