Marco de Canaveses

S.Caetano, Vinho Verde, Portogallo

“Sa volare solo chi osa farlo” . L. Sepulveda

L’oro verde del Portogallo.

Il Vinho Verde è un vino portoghese prevalentemente bianco, ma anche rosato e rosso (quest’ultimo è presente in quantità minore in Portogallo e di solito piace poco fuori confine per la sua struttura debole dovuta al basso contenuto in alcol, al contrario invece dell’alto consumo a livello locale nelle caratteristiche ciotole di ceramiche) che sta riscuotendo un’enorme popolarità. Perché? Il Vinho Verde è un lusso alla portata di tutti, che ammalia per la sua delicatezza, eleganza, e soprattutto per la sua versatilità perché adatto a tutti i tipi di piatti e palati, da quelli più semplici a quelli più esigenti. Altro e indiscutibile X factor del Vinho Verde è la sua frizzantezza, derivante in origine dal carbonio naturale dell’uva ed ultimamente procurata da molti vignaiuoli con l’aggiunta di una lieve dose di anidride carbonica per venire incontro al gusto dei consumatori specie quelli americani!

Il Vinho Verde è una Denominazione di Origine Protetta, ed è tipico delle sinuose alture del Nord del Portogallo che trasuda vino dagli albori della viticoltura. Forse si chiama così per il colore verde dei suoi vigneti e delle sue valli ,  per quello delle uve acerbe da cui è fatto perché raccolte in anticipo, o perché va bevuto giovane. Il Vinho Verde è fresco, erbaceo, ma leggermente sapido e con un sentore di frutta finale che stupisce, come la vita che ti regala sempre qualcosa di magnifico quando meno te lo aspetti. Ed è quello che accade a me con il mio blog sul vino e viaggi www.WeLoveItaly.eu che mi dà la possibilità di condividere le mie esperienze emozionali attraverso il racconto di persone e storie di successo che è misurato non in soldi guadagnati, ma in obiettivi raggiunti. Come ogni sommelier adoro andare in giro alla ricerca di nettari prelibati. Viaggiare poi è una droga da cui non tento neppure di disintossicarmi, non perché così si stacca dalla routine, o perché fa tendenza, o ci si va con qualcuno di speciale. Nulla di tutto questo. Viaggiare mi apre il cuore, non smetto mai di imparare, mi fa vedere le cose e la gente da una prospettiva diversa, controllo meglio i problemi, me stessa e avverto una pace interiore e con l’universo immensa. Miglioro ogni volta che faccio la valigia e poi la ripongo nell’armadio di casa mia, che sia la Sicilia, dove sono nata, o la Toscana dove vivo ormai felicemente da sei anni.

 

Andrè Amaral, cantina Quinta de Torre. Niente è per caso!

Per pura coincidenza o destino non lo so,  Andrè Amaral , responsabile di ‘Quinta de Torre’, una delle più prestigiose cantine di Vinho Verde del Portogallo, naviga sul mio sito www.WeLoveItaly.eu. Lo scorso Agosto due miei articoli dedicati a Lisbona e Faro lo incuriosiscono e  mi contatta  via social.   

Il Portogallo non me lo tolgo proprio di dosso, mi attiva una strana dipendenza. A Pasqua del  2017 atterro a  Lisbona , una moderna capitale che non appena sfiori con lo sguardo, la fai tua e non la lasci più per il suo patrimonio artistico culturale, il suo charme, l’azzurro del suo oceano e delle sue ceramiche, il calore del suo popolo . A Lisbona ci si perde tra i suoi vicoli irti e ciottolati. Lì si respira un passato glorioso fatto di esplorazioni e conquiste, cantate nelle languide musiche del  fado , la cui malinconia o saudade la senti nell’aria e pare manifestarsi al primo chiarore di luna annidandosi tra i tavoli delle piccole taverne sempre a festa  . Un’estate fa sono  a Sud , ad Algarve, nella splendida Faro. Faro è una deliziosa cittadina lusitana che ipnotizza con le sue falesie grandi e immobili come giganti, che acceca lo sguardo con le sue interminabili distese di sabbia dorata e le sue acque azzurre cristalline. Avere tra i miei follower un noto produttore di vino come Andrè Amaral mi lusinga, e il successivo Settembre, tra messaggi e video chiamate varie, ci faccio amicizia  e mi confessa che leggere i miei post gli fa venire voglia di andare in vacanza e di bere qualcosa di introvabile. Mi viene spontaneo confessargli che c’è una sorta di richiamo irresistibile verso il Portogallo, perché forse è così simile alla mia isola per il suo fascino decadente e misterioso.  

Food Life Style rivista ristoranti stellati
Food Life Style di Carmela Loragno, rivista ristoranti stellati

Andrè segue assiduamente il mio diario di bordo virtuale di questo mio girovagare per posti, e personaggi straordinari che ti entrano nell’anima. Duranti questi contatti via etere, tra me ed Andrè scatta una certa sintonia professionale, che presto si traduce in una collaborazione che ci porta a realizzare il desiderio comune di valicare i nostri confini territoriali: io da reporter del vino  in Portogallo, e lui da esportatore del suo Vinho Verde nel nostro Bel Paese! C’è molto entusiasmo, ma non è sufficiente, perché per la riuscita dei nostri intenti ci sono delle variabili esterne tutt’altro che trascurabili da considerare. Per prima cosa è abbastanza complicato avere dei risultati positivi in un settore competitivo come quello della vendita del vino in l’Italia, a cui basta il suo e per il quale oltre tutto è già famosa in tutto il globo. Con Andrè poi non ci conosciamo personalmente e ci separano chilometri di distanza. Non occorre solo che il suo vino sia eccellente, che il suo packaging sia curato, e che il suo sito web aziendale sia impeccabile sotto ogni punto di vista. Per sfondare necessita studiare qualcosa di strategico, e capire anzitutto se rispetto all’Italia:   

  • il Vinho Verde può essere adatto al nostro mercato;
  • si può impostare un piano di marketing efficace creando relazioni on line e off line ;
  • si possono fare eventi nell’immediato in presenza del winemaker portoghese in questione per dare visibilità al suo prodotto.

Vi spiego come tutto si è piano piano sbrogliato come il bozzolo di una matassa e come sboccia una fiducia e  stima tale da portare Andrè a  finanziare il mio soggiorno presso ‘Quinta de Torre’! Le  moderne tecnologie sono indispensabili, e nel frattempo io e Andrè ci diamo da fare senza sperare che la ruota giri da sola.  Ancora una volta il mio intuito non si sbaglia  e mi rendo conto che si fa sul serio quando Andrè mi spedisce a Pisa, con mia meraviglia, il primo di una serie di campioni dei suoi vini etichettati “San Caetano” , chiamati così  in onore di una cappella del suo wine relais che lo protegge come Dio fa con i suoi fedeli. Mi innamoro inevitabilmente di ognuna delle sei bottiglie di quell’oro verde! Se voglio fare l’inviata all’estero per toccare con mano ciò che stuzzica le mie papille gustative, ho davanti un’impresa quasi pioneristica da affrontare: lanciare i vini portoghesi in Italia, che certamente non ama molto i forestieri in campo enoico! In realtà c’è un algoritmo che potrebbe funzionare! In due regioni vocate per lo più ai rossi come Toscana e la vicina Puglia, in cui i bianchi non sono molti e quelli esistenti di un certo spessore sono piuttosto costosi, i vini  “San Caetano” potrebbero essere un’ottima alternativa! I vini  “San Caetano” potrebbero infatti fare gola ai ristoratori delle coste tirreniche e adriatiche, i quali avrebbero delle bollicine esotiche di alto livello per i loro clienti, che non hanno nulla da invidiare a un Riesling o a uno Chablis, a fronte però  di una spesa decisamente più contenuta (al momento attuale il Vinho Verde è accessibile, perché in passato l’economia del Portogallo ha sofferto della recessione globale, quindi il costo dei terreni e del lavoro è relativamente basso ).  

  

Il Vinho Verde in Toscana.

Per scendere in campo non posso combattere da sola! Mi avvalgo di tre solidi alleati a cui faccio avere l’arma potente dei vini ‘San Caetano’  per vincere la battaglia !

A Ottobre il primo è Andrea Baldeschi , Toscano puro sangue e grande degustatore Ais Toscana, che nel suo ristorante “Nautilus” a Tirrenia organizza delle cene a base di baccalà più elaborate di quelle fatte da me nel mio terrazzo con i miei amici. Come tutti i commensali anche Andrea  rimane piacevolmente stupito dal sapore avvolgente di quei vini bianchi portoghesi, che esaltano il gusto di ogni tipo di piatto leggero di terra o di mare che sia. Andrea cede al fascino di quel vino straniero al punto che per Maggio ha in mente di farne una degustazione al “Palace Hotel”,  un cinque stelle molto rinomato a  Livorno . A Dicembre il secondo è Orazio Sinigallia, un eclettico distributore di vini che, conosciuto fortuitamente a Bari nella sua bottega di vini georgiani in anfora, diventa promoter dei vini di Andrè in Puglia. Per merito di Orazio, il terzo è la strabiliante Carmela Loragno, direttrice di  Food Life Style’, un’illustre rivista stellata sulla gastronomia italiana per la quale a Natale mi commissiona una pagina tutta dedicata al Vinho Verde e ai vini di ‘San Caetano’ . Questi avvenimenti picareschi coinvolgono Andrè, che , dopo una lunga e giusta attesa, mi vuole avere come sua ospite a ‘Quinta de Torre’ per farmi sperimentare con mano la bellezza di quei luoghi lontani e per farmi vedere cosa ha combinato Bacco da quelle parti. Non ci sono più voli diretti ed economici da Pisa per il Portogallo né tanto meno date compatibili che ci vadano bene per impegni vari da parte di entrambi. Quando non c’è una soluzione cambio completamente direzione. Senza una ragione plausibile invece di rodermi dentro, pianifico il mio Capodanno dalla mia amica Lory a Bruxelles e poi perché non volare comodamente  dal centro dell’Europa verso Marco de Canaveses e starci per esempio tre giorni?  L’anno nuovo del 2020 è un sogno diventato realtà.

Bruxelles 2020
Bruxelles 2020

Capodanno 2020, Bruxelles

Esattamente come due anni fa in occasione del mio compleanno, al mio arrivo Lory mi fa perlustrare  Bruxelles in lungo e in largo.  Prima tappa il ‘Quartiere del Parlamento’  all’interno del ‘Parc Leopold’, dove con la sua solarità Lory si occupa dell’accoglienza al pubblico.

Si tratta di un complesso di edifici postmoderni in vetro e acciaio senza fronzoli, ove l’Unione Europea tiene le riunioni di comitato. Una struttura asciutta e minimale a parte la sovrastante cupola detta ‘Le Caprice de Dieux’ , un’enorme sfera a forma di emiciclo che è sede della camera parlamentare degli eurodeputati. Senza pagare nulla ed obbligo alcuno di prenotazione dopo facciamo un salto al ‘Planetarium’,  una sezione dedicata alla didattica, per far comprendere al viaggiatore come funziona l’ U.E. Un gruppo di hostess ci mostrano tre modelli architettonici dei quartier generali di  Bruxelles, Strasburgo e Lussemburgo e sintetizzano quali sono i  compiti più importanti del Parlamento del Consiglio Europeo , del Consiglio  e della Commissione Europea. La fama istituzionale di Bruxelles non deve ingannare, oltre ad essere frequentata assiduamente da politici e giornalisti, essa è da sempre una delle destinazioni turistiche più amate del Vecchio Continente. Passeggiando per l’urbe l’atmosfera è allegra e pittoresca dal suo simbolo il ‘Manneken-Pis’ a la  ‘Grand Place’, che riflette negli ori dei palazzi laterali le luci degli addobbi natalizi che la rendono ancora più baroccheggiante. Rivedere Lory poi è una sensazione indescrivibile, come il festeggiare a mezzanotte l’ultimo dell’anno ballando tra i cafè di Bruxelles fino all’alba, l’ultima insieme prima della mia partenza per il Portogallo.

 

Aeroporto Sà Carneiro Porto
Aeroporto Sà Carneiro Porto

3 Gennaio

Porto, Tre Gennaio 2020, otto del mattino. Andrè mi aspetta fuori dall’ Aeroporto Internazionale  “Francisco Sá Carneiro” . Appena lo intravedo mi fa un cenno, si avvicina e il suo sorriso smagliante scioglie l’imbarazzo dell’incontrarsi per la prima volta. Andrè carica me e il mio bagaglio nella sua macchina e ci dirigiamo verso Marco de Canaveses, un delizioso borgo a pochi chilometri da Porto attraversato dal fiume Tâmega. Ci troviamo nella feconda valle del Douro e proprio qui, dove la natura esplode in tutto il suo rigoglio dall’entroterra all’Oceano Atlantico, nasce il Vinho Verde, vitigni autoctoni che si abbarbicano dappertutto dai palazzi nobiliari alle piccole case di villaggi sperduti. Un cielo grigio con i suoi nuvoloni, che non rende giustizia all’unicità di quei paesaggi portoghesi,  una lunga ora di viaggio tra strade sinuose e larghe, e la  mia stanchezza non distraggono la mia attenzione dal racconto di Andrè della sua vita, della sua  azienda, e  del suo vino. Durante il tragitto Andrè mi svela nel dettaglio i segreti del Vinho Verde .

Ascoltare Andrè è come seguire la linea del tempo del Portogallo. Il Vinho Verde cresce solo nella regione del Minho, approdo ambito di antichi popoli a partire dal 100 AC, quando Fenici e Cartaginesi vi introducono, tra le altre cose, i primi vitigni che curati da Greci e Romani, cadono in abbandono durante il periodo dei Mori, e si risollevano grazie al generoso contributo dei monasteri e della corona portoghese nel Medioevo. Tra il XII ed il XIII secolo il Portogallo è protagonista di una crescente espansione demografica ed economica specie nel commercio agricolo a cui si associa un rapido sviluppo della moneta metallica. Tutto questo trasforma il vino in una fonte essenziale delle entrate, al punto che esso entra a far parte delle abitudini alimentari della popolazione della regione del Minho. Andrè sottolinea orgogliosamente che rispetto al porto, suo fratello liquoroso, il  Vinho Verde è più antico perché, secondo alcuni fonti scritte, se ne registrerebbe già l’esistenza nell’ 870 d.C nel convento di  ‘Alpendurada’ di Marco de Canaveses , anche se in entrambi i casi la prima documentazione della loro esportazione da parte degli Inglese in Europa è attestata alla fine del XIX secolo. Andrè mi confessa che non si stanca mai di vagare per il Minho, perché, ricco di storia, arte, cultura e panorami mozzafiato, è una delle zone più boscose del Portogallo caratterizzata da una vegetazione abbondante e verdeggiante, è. Ad un tratto Andrè si ferma e dal finestrino del veicolo mi fa guardare fuori ed entra nel vivo della sua novella raccontandomi altre cose interessanti sul Vinho Verde . Mi dice che il Minho possiede un terroir distintivo dato dal connubio tra alcuni fattori irritrovabili per la viticultura e la memoria del sapere umano tramandato da secoli di generazione in generazione, che dà alla luce vini dallo stile inimitabile e dall’ equilibrio quasi perfetto. Prosegue asserendo che  il Minho è un fazzoletto di suoli prevalentemente granitici, a tratti scistosi, calcarei e sabbiosi, che da Nord Ovest, bagnato dall’Oceano Atlantico, si apre a ventaglio verso Nord Est lungo la Galizia spagnola con vallate immense e lunghe e abbondanti corsi d’acqua, che rigenerano e rinfrescano le montagne  garanti di una barriera naturale contro i venti più dannosi. Andrè tiene a precisare che aspetti senza eguali quali una tipografia irregolare, che influenza un clima di tipo continentale, un tasso medio annuo di precipitazioni di 1200 mm (concentrate in inverno e primavera), e altitudini che sfiorano circa i 700 m, si riflettono superbamente nelle diverse tipologie di uve delle nove subregioni del Vinho Verde che sono Amarante, Monção, Melgaço, Lima, Basto, Cávado, Ave, Baião, Sousa e Paiva.  Andrè definisce la coltivazione della vite nella regione del Vinho Verde di tipo “eroica”, per la presenza di pendii molto scoscesi, e perché essendo i livelli di fertilità del Minho naturalmente bassi, esso è stato reso produttivo grazie ad una serie prolungata di interventi  quali terrazzamenti concimati con sostanze organiche. Andrè si sente pure risollevato che negli ultimi anni la qualità del Vinho Verde è migliorata notevolmente, ciò è dovuto in parte a una migliore formazione e ad un rinnovato trasporto tra i winemaker di oggi. Dove la vite per esempio una volta cresceva alta tra gli alberi e in pergole (questo per liberare il terreno sottostante per altre coltivazioni di cereali, frutta e ortaggi), attualmente molti dei vigneti invece sono formati lungo moderne righe cablate, in modo che le uve sono più esposte alla luce del sole e alla brezza, e quindi il vino è più maturo e più sano. Andrè mette in evidenza anche l’esistenza di una legislazione nazionale che ha contribuito, tra alti e bassi, a sigillare l’autenticità e il valore dei vitigni del Vinho Verde. A sentirlo sicuramente sono stati fatti passi da gigante. Si riprende la via e Andrè conclude rammentandomi che nel 1926 vengono fuori le linee guida per la produzione e la commercializzazione del Vinho Verde con la definizione dei suoi limiti geografici, e nel 1984 esso viene riconosciuto come D.O.C. sotto la supervisione di una ‘Commissione della Viticoltura della Regione del Vinho Verde’. Un progresso tutto in salita quello del Vinho Verde che registra adesso questi numeri nel Minho:

  • rappresenta 15% della produzione totale di vino di tutto il Portogallo;
  • occupa una superfice vitata di 21,000 ettari;
  • Ci sono 19,000 produttori;
  • Esistono 68 varietà di ‘Minho IGT’  e 47 varietà di ‘Vinho Verde D.O.C’.;
  • L’87 % della produzione di riguarda il bianco, il 7% riguarda il rosso, e il 6 % il rosé;
  • Circa 80 milioni di litri di vino prodotti all’anno e più di 100 paesi per le esportazioni (USA, Germania, Francia, Brasile, Canada, Svizzera, Regno Unito, Angola, Belgio, Lussemburgo, Olanda, Polonia, Giappone, Danimarca).

Stiamo quasi per arrivare percorrendo i paesaggi da favola del Minho (la sua demarcazione risale al 1756), che formano la cosiddetta ‘Strada del Vinho Verde’.  La ‘Strada del Vinho Verde’ è un ambiente grandioso, con vigneti terrazzati , e masserie imbiancate a calce arroccate in cima alle colline, tra le quali si scorgono villaggi fiabeschi quali Guimarães, Braga, Amarante, Barcelos, Viana do Castelo, Ponte de Lima, Ponte da Barca e Arcos de Valdevez. Il cancello della cantina di ‘Quinta de Torre’ si apre e quando lo oltrepasso capisco che qualunque traguardo dipende esclusivamente dalla nostra volontà e dal nostro atteggiamento. Il Portogallo è un refrain costante nella mia mente, come la  bossa nova , e in maniera quasi automatica a furia di sintonizzarmi su quelle frequenze per una sorta quasi di legge universale finalmente, mi spingo come wine blogger oltre le alpi per scoprire da dove provengono quei vini che sorseggiati mi emozionano ! Andrè mi accoglie a ‘Quinta de Torre’ facendomi sentire come a casa. Mi presenta alla mamma, ai suoi figli, e ai suoi dipendenti e per tutto il resto della mattinata esploriamo il suo regno in cui sono stata catapultata quasi per magia. C’è da recuperare un po’ di forze perché è ora di pranzo. Dopo avere nutrito dei buffi lama e delle pecore di angora,  io e  Andrè ci spostiamo  nella vicina locanda ‘Tapada do Xandoca’ per deliziarci di prelibatezze portoghesi quali: vongole stufate e pesce grigliato all’ aglio e olio d’oliva che fanno finire tutto il pane in tavola . Intanto Andrè mi spiega che  in origine ‘Quinta de Torre’ è una vecchia casa padronale acquistata in famiglia nel 1995 da Josè Manuel Mendes, che restaurata e ammodernata, diventa quella che è oggi, cioè un’azienda agricola a conduzione familiare di circa venticinque ettari, di cui dodici di vigna. Per smaltire il lauto pasto torniamo a passeggiare all’interno della sua tenuta che mi appare in tutto il suo splendore: filari infiniti, giardini, cascate d’acqua, alberi secolari di limoni e mirtilli, un mini zoo popolato da alpaca, canguri, lepri della Patagonia, pony, anatre selvatiche, tartarughe, pesci e altri animali rari che sembrano quasi bearsi della semplicità della loro esistenza. Andrè descrive ‘Quinta de Torre’ come fosse un quadro, essa è incastonata come un gioiello prezioso nell’ Amarante , con le sue viti immerse nel verde, che cercando il sole,  si arrampicano sugli arbusti o pergolati e abbelliscono i campi costellati dagli espigueiros , i tipici granai in pietra e legno costruiti su una base sopraelevata per essiccazione dei cereali. Il discorso si fa sempre più tecnico e preciso. L’ Amarante ha quei presupposti pedoclimatici specifici che la rende l’ambiente ideale per i principali vitigni autoctoni con cui si fanno i vini nella sua cantina ‘Quinta de Torre’: Alvarinho , Loureiro (contraddistinti da note tropicali e da una certa complessità se invecchiati in botti di rovere), Azal, Arinto e Avesso  (noti per  la loro spiccata acidità e ministerialità) per i bianchi, ed Espadeiro e Vinhão per i rossi. Queste sono dunque le uve base e anche il nome dei sette diversi tipi di vino firmati ‘San Caetano’ ,  che lasciano il segno per il loro carattere vivace, delicato e invitante. Con una produzione di 50,000 bottiglie annue,  ‘Quinta de Torre’ , premiata ogni anno in concorsi nazionali e internazionali,  dà alla luce un Vinho Verde  unico al mondo, che rivela rispetto per la vigna, per la tradizione e  per l’innovazione. I vini ‘San Caetano’  , monovitigno o cuvée , sono il risultato della raccolta di uve selezionate a mano durante la vendemmia, che,  una volta riposte in cassette da 20kg, vengono fatte affinare in serbatoi d’acciaio per garantirne il brio. Le vinificazioni avvengono secondo moderne tecniche che includono un sistema informatizzato per il monitoraggio della fermentazione, linea di imbottigliamento e un rigoroso laboratorio di analisi. I vini ‘San Caetano’ sono la migliore espressione del Vinho Verde, e devono il loro Woh  factor non solo alla generosa operosità di chi da sempre rende fertile e florido questo pezzo di Portogallo, ma anche ad un’attenta operazione di marketing e di comunicazione dirette a migliorare sempre più la distribuzione commerciale sia su territorio nazionale che internazionale. Tra una chiacchiera e l’altra non ci accorgiamo che cala la sera con la sua luna bianca e il suo manto di stelle, e per quanto piacevole la compagnia siamo vittime di  Morfeo che ci reclama! Rimontiamo nel suo fuoristrada direzione Porto dove mi attende il mio ‘Métier  Boutique hotel’, che con il suo charme e le sue comodità allieta il mio sonno fino alla sveglia dell’indomani.  

Porto
Porto

4 Gennaio

4 Gennaio. Il tenue sfarzo del ‘Métier  Boutique hotel’ mi coccola dal bianco candido delle lenzuola e degli asciugamani profumati alla ricca colazione della hall. I banconi del bar sono pieni di ogni delizia: spremuta di arance, dolci appena sfornati, burro, marmellate di more, miele e frutta.

Mi ricarico con un caffè nero bollente e sono pronta per un nuovo capitolo di un libro senza fine. Andrè viene a prendermi e via a ‘Quinta de Torre’. Appena giungiamo lì si entra nel laboratorio e nella barricaia di Andrè, che lavora senza sosta per garantire l’alto standard dei suoi vini. Davanti le vasche d’acciaio sigillate con le sigle delle varie annate, comprendo che trasformare l’uva in vino è un miracolo, essendo tutto ciò non solo fonte di rendita ma soprattutto di felicità. Ci sono spazi molto grandi e moderni, pieni di attrezzature all’avanguardia per conferire pregio al bene finale. La sala degustazione che si affaccia sui poggi di Marco de Canaveses è tutta a vetri, e nelle grandi vetrate si riflettono le sagome dell’erba che si confondono con il grigio di una fitta nebbiolina improvvisa che disturba la visuale. Un tavolo cerimoniale e una credenza antica piena di medaglie e riconoscimenti vari fanno bella mostra attorno a una vecchia Bedford. Terminata la visita il sole torna a splendere e nel primo pomeriggio Andrè mi accompagna nel centro storico di Porto, il leggendario quartiere della ‘Ribiera’ situato sulle sponde del fiume Duro che incanta qualsiasi visitatore con le sue casine dipinte e le sue facciate decorate, sorvegliate da gabbiani che si librano leggeri nell’aria a qualsiasi ora del giorno. I pescatori e i commercianti ambulanti ti sorridono e si lasciano osservare nel loro affaccendarsi quotidiano. Mi è familiare questa zona e mi perdo tra i labirinti delle sue viuzze strette per poi rilassarmi al ‘Cafe do Cais’ , un loft bar molto chic della  ‘Ribiera’ da cui mi godo la vista di  ‘Vila Nova de Gaia’. La temperatura diventa quasi estiva e mi dirigo verso l’altra parte della città. Salgo nel vecchio tram linea 1 che mi consegna letteralmente alle onde di un oceano blu cobalto. Entro al ‘Praia dos Ingleses’ un chiosco vista mare e ci resto fino al tramonto. Si fanno le sette e risalgo verso la stazione di ‘Sao Bento’, la cui entrata principale è rivestita da oltre ventimila ‘Azulejos’, le tradizionali piastrelle turchine che raffigurano i principali momenti storici del Portogallo e dei suoi mezzi di trasporto. Lì trovo Andrè che mi fa salire nella sua peugeout. Non c’è molto traffico e dopo aver parcheggiato Andrè e io ci  accomodiamo al ‘Royal 4’ , un delizioso posticino per gustarsi il meglio della cucina portoghese. Una cameriera simpatica e sorridente ci serve dei crostini con burro e formaggio, seguiti da un risotto ai gamberi fumanti e per finire del pane fritto con zucchero e gelato alla vaniglia. Non mi accorgo neppure che è ora di andare via, il locale sta per chiudere! Salutiamo ed eccoci al mio hotel dove a malincuore è l’ultima volta che sto con Andrè! Non è un addio ma solo un arrivederci! Appena rientro in stanza faccio fatica ad addormentarmi, penso a tutto quello che di incantevole sto vivendo. Non ho voglia di  riposare ma devo farlo l’indomani si torna a Pisa!

Portogallo
Portogallo

5 Gennaio

Un tassista mi viene a prelevare in albergo per condurmi all’aeroporto ed è inevitabile sentirmi come la protagonista di un romanzo inedito. Il mio pensiero non va su quello che è stato in Portogallo ma su quello che ancora sarà, perché ritornerò per inebriarmi da nord a sud del suo clima mite, del suo litorale dorato, delle sue sconfinate pianure, dei suoi tesori e dei suoi vini nobili che stanno uscendo a poco a poco dall’ombra grazie agli ultimi sforzi governativi per rilanciare un’economia fino a qualche decennio fa in bilico.

Riprendo la mia quotidianità aprendo la porta del mio appartamento a Pisa, nella mia comfort zone che mi sta subito stretta e di conseguenza la mia mente è al prossimo obiettivo. Non mi fermo mai, e questa non è sempre una bella caratteristica, perché non mi fa godere il cammino che è più importante della meta, ma fa parte del mio modo di essere. Sistemo i souvenir e mi metto sul divano per fare il punto della situazione e per orchestrare tra Febbraio e Marzo la giusta musica per animare le notti toscane con il Vinho Verde con l’estate che non è molto lontana. La lista delle serate predisposte a dare il benvenuto ai vini  ‘San Caetano’ di ‘Quinta de Torre’ è folta ma a bloccarla è il Covid-19.

Andrà tutto bene!

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! 

Arrighi Winery

Arrighi Winery

 the most important thing is not what you find at the end of a race, but what you feel inside while running”  
A. Arrighi 

Elba 

What’s your idea about Tuscany? Yes of course, Rolling Hillsides, Sunflowers, Cypresses and Beautiful Towns, but there’s much more! Where? Go towards the “Tuscan Archipelago” islands: Giglio, Capraia, Montecristo, Pianosa, Giannutri, Gorgona and above all Elba, where I stayed for a weekend to escape into another word as Napoleon Bonaparte did! Why did Napoleon choose this Gem  for his exile in 1814–15? Have an holiday in Elba  and then you’ll see it or you’ll live there forever! 

Elba Island is a Hidden Pearl of the Tyrrhenian Sea, where, according to a legend, Venus, the Goddess of Beauty and Love, lost her necklace, giving birth to the  “Tuscan Archipelago”. Elba is located 6.2 miles from the coastal town of Piombino, and, with an area of 86 square miles (223 square km), it’s an unspoilt Tuscan Paradise: Clear Blue Waters, Sandy Beaches, Wonderful Landscapes, Mild Climate, and Varied Vegetation of Mediterranean type, with rich Olive Groves and Vineyards. Being a spot off the Beaten Path , Elba is not a Typical Tourist Destination, so you’ll not find Hordes of People or Lines and Crowds like in other Mediterranean Islands, such as in Sicily or in Sardinia. Elba is mostly frequented by Tuscany Residents and, if you want to avoid them too, book a trip in Spring or early Autumn to Enjoy the Silence. Moreover, Elba is a land full of History: remains of the Etruscan, Roman and Medieval Ages testify a Fascinating Past and a rich Wine Cultural Heritage . Elba is well worth being seen for the Flavours of its Cuisine too, which is made from Simple Dishes adn Fantasy. Being an Island, Elba has several Fish Restaurants. Every morning, Fishermen go offshore and fish all day; in the late afternoon, they bring their catch to the Island’ s Restaurants.  If you haven’t visited Elba yet, Yyou Need to – Right Now! This Lovely small Island is destined to be turned into one of your  Must-See Places !  

Elba History

Being inhabited since Pre-Historic Times, Elba was discovered early on to be ripe with Iron-Ore Deposits. Elba attracted a Lot of Ancient People, such as the Etruscans and the Greeks,  who call it  “Aethalia” (which means “Smoky Place”, probably because of the smelting furnaces). Later the Romans, renaming  it “Ilva”,  established a naval base on the Island. 

Over the centuries Elba underwent many other invasions and dominations. In the early Middle Ages, Elba was ruled by Pisa, in 1290 by Genoa, in 1399 by the Dukes of Piombino, and in 1548 by Cosimo I de Medici of Florence. From 1596 until 1709 the Eastern Part of Elba was under the Spanish Empire controll for about 150 years, then the whole territory was conquerred first by Naples, and finally by the French in 1802. When Napoleon I abdicated in 1814, he was exiled to Elba, where he landed on May 4. Since then, Elba was recognized as an Independent Principality with Napoleon as its King until February 26, 1815, on which day he returned to France for the Hundred Days. Napoleon left his Mark with his Noble Residences in Portoferraio, Elba’s chief town : “Palazzina dei Mulini” and  the “Villa di San Martino”, both of which are now Museums open to the public. Thereafter, Elba was restored to Tuscan,with which it passed to Unified Italy in 1860.  

Elba
Elba

1st day ,23th July. Top Elban Winemaker Antonio Arrighi.

I’ve been living in Pisa since six years, and Elba, being so close to my adopted city, is one of those places I’ve always promised to  myself  I’d get to next time around! In the middle of my summer holiday my curiosity was piqued, as my Tuscan friends always craved about Elba, having a house or going sailing there! Before going to Sicily and always longing for Sunshine, Salt Air, Blue Sea, Exclusive Wine and Food, I decided to allow myself  a quick three-day getaway in this beautiful Tuscan Island!  

During my stay in Elba, I was fascinated  by the Lush Natural Beauty of the Island, by its Crystal Sea, and by its People Sweetness. Though I am hardly in a position yet to recommend ‘the Best’ of Anything, I experienced enough to suggest an enjoyable Two-Day Itinerary, which  will give you a glimpse of the Treasures that Elba has to offer. To begin with I can tell you that most of the Island is very panoramic, helped by the fact that there are no ugly buildings to be found (strict building regulations have been enforced since a lot of time ). Moreover, in recent years Elba has become a magnet for Visitors from all Over the World thanks to its Fine Weather from April to October. Elba, is surprisingly easy to reach as well! I took a train from Pisa to Piombino Marittima (about 40 minutes), then a short walk  to the ferry and I was in Elba in 45 minutes! You can also drive directly to the Port in Piombino,  and pay about 10 euro a day to park (you can bring your car on the ferry, but it might be cheaper to rent one on the Island). “Toremar” and “Moby” ferry passenger to and from Elba every day and tickets at the port office are around 32 euro roundtrip for the one-hour ride.

Porto Ferraio
Porto Ferraio

Approaching Elba, I was amazed at how massive and densely forested it was. After disembarking in pastel-hued Portoferrario, Elba’s largest city  founded by Cosimo I  de’ Medici in 1548, I headed down the red pedestrian pathway towards the town with a  tour of Napoleon’s Residences above mentioned. I took lots of photos strolling around the cobbled streets of the cute Portoferrario, both in the City Center and in the Old Town. I kept walking taking a hike to the “Medicean Ramparts”, which the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo l built as a defence against the Turkish attacks, and to the “Fort Falcone” , where I enjoyed  breathtaking panoramic views. “Fort Falcone” has an area of 2360 square metres, and along with “Fort Stella” and the “Linguella Tower”, is one of the three “backbones” of the defence system of the town of “Cosmopoli” , which is how Cosimo l named Portoferraio. The day was really sultry, so I had to rest drinking a cold Cola in one of  the many beach cafes which dotted the little port . 

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi

My Cola ice cubes turned into water, while I was waiting for  the best part of my Trip: Antonio Arrighi. Antonio is a Multitalented Wine Entrepreneur , who welcomed me in Elba for my interview with him. Antonio picked me up at the bar with his car to reach Porto Azzurro, which is the second most important inhabited center of the Island. It was a fortune Antonio drove me to this quaint hamlet , where I spent the rest of my long weekend, as I preferred not to use any mean of transport to go around Elba. This was not only just because of my not  brilliant driving skill, but also because it was not needed as my nice and very well-equipped “Belmare Hotel” was at my fingertips and easily available to me. By the way, for excellent “pilots” and for longer holiday periods in Elba, there are motorbikes (which are the best solutions for exlporing the whole Island and navigating through the traffic, which can be very heavy in July and August!) and cars to rent  at decent rates everywhere . After I unpacked my bags in Porto Azzurro, Antonio and me had our lunch at “Sopravento” Restaurant to speak about how to arrange my time with him for my post about his incredible Winery in Elba . First  my attention was captured by our succulent seafood dishes: “scialatelli” (a type of thick and short fettuccine or linguine-like pasta made in Campania) with lobsters, and a wide range of starters and crudités paired with his Fruity White Wine “Eraora”, made from Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni (Riesling and Pinot Blanc) grapes. Then, as he started to talk about himself, I was asborbed in his Life Story definitely!

Antonio Arrighi
My interview with Antonio Arrighi 

Antonio Arrighi was born in the room number 13 of my “Belmare Hotel” in Porto Azzurro, which belonged to his father, what a happy coincidenceAntonio was raised in a family of experienced hoteliers and restaurateurs with a long tradition of  hospitality in Elba. In 1960, when tourism was booming in Elba, the  Arrighi Family started the hotel business, and in 1970 run a farm for its hotel clients producing different types of meat (pork, rabbit, etc), flowers, peaches and grapes. As a child Antonio was always involved behind the scenes.  In 1980 Antonio became  a Sommelier (he is still being part of the Elba Delegation of “AIS Toscana”) not only to take care of  his vineyards, but also for making excellent Wine! In 1995 a great opportunity knocked on his door , when Antonio undertook an ambitious project in collaboration with the Tuscan Region and with Paolo Storchi, Senior Researcher at CREA (Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural) of Arezzo. It was about understanding which International Grape Varieties along with the local ones could grow in Elba. The answer for  this question was:  Syrah, Sagrantino and Tempranillo for Red Wines and Incrocio Manzoni, Chardonnay , and Viognier for White Wines. Antonio went on with planting these selected International Grape Varieties in his land, being drought and diseas resistant, they complied with high quality standards and delivered consistent results time after time. Since 2000 onwards Antonio was fully dedicated to his Winemaking Passion, which turned into his main activity helped by his supportive and close family. Antonio is very proud of his partner Giada, his two daughters Giulia and Ilaria and his son Matteo, and they represent a point of reference not only for himslef but also for the family business future. Antonio had his cold limoncello and went away for his job tasks and I went back to my hotel to sleep a little bit. Late in the evening after my little nap, I wandered through the narrow streets of Porto Azzurro, along “Via Solferino”, “Via dei Martiri” and “Via XXV Aprile”, which were coloured by the balcony flower pots,  by the souvenirs shops and by the moon which had risen over the harbour. I admired  the main square called “Piazza Matteotti”, this is  a magnificent  meeting point for the locals and the heart of social life in Elba. I relaxed ther having a delicous “apericena” in the  nice “Bar Corinto” with a tasty Seafood Sandwich and a wonderful Spritz ! From “Piazza Matteotti” I continued down the main streets of the harbor “Via Vitaliani” and “Banchina 4 Novembre” , looking  all around and noticing how much Beauty was in every corner of this old fishing town.  Nothing was left to chance, like a terrific Brazilian pub “All’ Arco Antico” , where I had my last drink, a sparkling local White Wine. I was a little bit tipsy to remember its name, sorry! 

Belmare Hotel, Porto Azzurro
Belmare Hotel, Porto Azzurro

2nd Day. Arrighi Winery and Wine Tradition in Elba: Vinification in Amphora

Being Sicilian, I am used to waking up in a Mediterranean Islet with a Delicious Breakfast and a Black Hot Coffee! My morning buffet with fresh bread, marmellade and my Espresso at my cheerful “Belmare Hotel” in Porto Azzurro stirred up my homeland memories!

I set outside on the terrace looking out to see the first light of the day, while the sea-gulls were playing with the wind and  the  fishermen where spreading their nets. I was embraced by a warm  and Mediterranean Atmosphere, and  soon after , as the heat was closing in on me, I took a refreshing dip  in a small cove near Porto Azzurro city center. Nothing better than this, it set me up perfectly  for the upcoming Wonder of my Your in Elba, my visit to “Arrighi Winery”

Porto Azzurro
Porto Azzurro 

At about eleven o’ clock Antonio collected me from the hotel to see his estate in “Piano al Monte”, an area in the eastern hills of Porto Azzurro, within the Tuscan Archipelago National Park . We arrived at his Winery after only a  few minutes drive, then Antonio and I rode on a Quad to go around  his Amphitheatre of Grapevines and his Trekking Wine Paths in “Piano al Monte”. While we rode  he talked about his tremendous existence! From what he said it’s clair that Antonio is very fond of his Family and of his “Arrighi Winery”, whose secret ingredients are Passion, Tradition, and Innovation. With a production of about 40,000 bottles per year Antonio‘s property extends over 12 hectares, of which 7 are vineyards with 300 olive trees. The Goal of Antonio‘s Enterprise is to produce Wine from its Own Grapes and to experiment with New Ones, which are best suited to the Elba  Terroir, an Island which is made from Iron (Elba has always been a font of Iron Ore, and while extraction ended in 1960, it’s  still the richest source in Italy for Iron), Clay, Sea, Sun and Mild Climate all the year long (the average annual temperature is around 17° C with relatively limited precipitation, generally concentrated in autumn and winter). Elba is full of Wineries and Vineyards , which occupy different terrains from distinct geological formations, and because of these varied soils Elban Wines flourish with unique organoleptic characteristiscs.

Arrighi Winery
Arrighi Winery

Antonio pointed out that Elba’s Geography was very interesting, as it was the largest remaining portion of land that once connected the Italian Peninsula to Corsica. Elba boasts a wide variety of Terrains and Landscapes with High Mountains, Valleys, and Small Costal Plains. A third of the surface area is above 200m, and the Highest Point, “Monte Capanne”, is 1019 meters above sea lavel. Elba can be separated into distinct growing areas with varying soils, which is why such a vast array of grapes are grown on the Island, each one suited to its distinctive Terroir. The West part of Elba is quite Mountainous, while the Central one has Sandy and Clay Sedimentary Soils. It’s here that most of the Beaches and Flatter Plains lie. In the East part, there are two Mountain Chains separated by a plain called the “Mola Plain”,  which stretches for about 2 km until the beach resort  “Lido di Capoliveri”. This area is largely cultivated;  in fact along the main road that crosses the plain you can meet various stalls where you can buy fruits and vegetables. The area of “Mola” takes its name from its gulf, a natural and shining  bay, which is always crowded with coloured fishing boats.

Antonio ArrighiArrighi Winery’s Philosophy

Antonio reminded me that the origin of Elban Viticulture was very Old, and this sector together with Farming, Fishing and Iron and Granite Mining Activities made up  a significant portion of the economy before Tourism’s environmental and social affected the Island.  Antonio‘ s best quality is Creativity. He has the Imagination to create in his Mind a Wine and later he knows how to  realise it in his Winery. That’s because as Antonio says: ” Winemaking is an Art  as well as a Science, and having the ability to think outside the Box and to Improvise, when needed, are Critical Skills to be successful”. Antonio is intuitive and perceptive enough to be able to understand Elba ‘s  Terroir and coax out its Maximum Potential, so that his Wines reflect their Origin and have their Own Personality. As Antonio‘s aim  is to produce Wine from his Own Grapes and to experiment with the New ones, which suit better the Island Terroir,  it has led him to develop two lines of Wine Production:

Arrighi Wines
Arrighi Wines

Listening to Antonio tall about his Passion for Elba makes you wish to return again and again. I absolutely believe it , especially after tasting his labels in his Winery with other Wine Lovers , all there aiming to grap Elba‘s Spirit. Besides Antonios  Aleatico Winegar “Ace di Ale” , his liquors “Limoncino” / “Arancino”, and his Olive Oil, here my Top 9 Reasons for your Next Travel to Porto Azzurro

  • “Ilagiù Elba White D.O.C.”it’s a mineral and fruity Wine, which is made from 80% Procanico and a small amount of Biancone, Ansonica ; its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature  ; 
  • “Era Ora White  IGT”: it’s a round and dry White Wine with good acidity, which is made from Chardonnay and Incrocio Manzoni; its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature , and part of this Wine has been aged in French oak barriques ;
  • “Mattanto D.O.C.” :  it’s made from 100% Ansonica (5000 plants per hectare ), and its  flavour is dry, full and soft, and it’s one of the most important label. Its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature ; 
  • “V.I.P. Viognier White I.G.T. “: it’s one my favourite one! It’s a mineral and fruity White Wine, which is made from 100% Viognier (6000 plants per hectare); its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature with  3 months of bottles aging; 
  • “Hermia Vinum in Amphora White I.G.T.” : it’s a particular White Wine made from 100% Viognier , which is elegant and light due to a Natural Winemaking with Terracotta Amphorae made by “Artenova” from Impruneta (800 litres )-with a 20% of the grapes skins and a 6 months bottles aging, . Its name recalls a “Hermia”, an ancient slave, who was a cellar master for a Roman Villa found in “San Giovanni”, an Elban village near Portoferrario
  • “Valerius White I.G.T. “: it’s a great White Wine made from 100% Ansonica (6000 plants per hectare) with Vinifcation in Terracotta Amphora (220 litres)-with its grape skins and 3 months bottles aging. It’s a very soft , harmonious and persistent White Wine with a good sapidity; 
  • “Isola in Rosa Rosé I.G.T. “: it’s a delicate Rosé Wine made from 100% Syrah (5000 plants per hectare), which brings to mind thoughts of Southern France with its pale coral hue; it’s aged 4 months in bottles; 
  • “Centopercento Elba Red D.O.C.” : it’s a full-body and fruity Red Wine made from 80 % Sangiovese and 20% Syrah (5000 plants per hectare); Its fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks at controlled temperature with 6/8 days maceration and aging in bottles for 6 months; 
  • “Tresse Anfora Red I.G.T.” : it’s a spicy and rich Wine made from Sangioveto, Syrah, and Sagrantino. It’s the only Wine from 2016 (all the other Tasting Wines are from 2018), because before this date it was vinificated in oak barriques. In 2018 thanks to the help of “Arrighi Winery”‘s Enologist Laura Zuddas, Antonio vinificated the “Tresse” in Terracotta Amphorae, like the old Romans did! Antonio likes this kind of vinification, because Terracotta is a simple and natural material comparable to wood, which allows Wines to breath without releasing any flavors to them. That’s why “Tresse” is a full-bodied Wine that passionately embraces the palate preserving refinement, revealing itself chromatically with the illusion of a berry syrup, and so touching the glass and softly marking it;
  • “Siloso Elba Aleatico Passito Red D.O.C.G. “ : This straw Wine is the first to have gained recognition in the smaller Italian islands. What makes this Wine a product so valuable? This wonderful raisin Wine is made exclusively from 100 % Aleatico grapes  and its intense ruby red colour, and its  cherries aroma is the perfect pairing with sweets like the traditional Elban “schiaccia ubriaca”, a round and soft Christmas cake with the peculiarity of having red wine in the dough. 
Antonio Arrighi & Professor Attilio Scienza

Sometimes you just start to wonder if you actually want to recommend a place, because it will become even more popular and lose some of its authentic charms. However, “Arrighi Winery”‘ is just too good not no be mentioned! The Wines were as fabulous as their reasonables prices. Besides providing very Good Quality Wines, Antonio was highly professional in helping me and all the other guests  with the organisation and customization of the Wine Tasting. Each of us was very satisified with all. Antonio is such a gorgeous Person and you can just feel the Passion that he puts behind his work. His stories about the Wines and the different tastings were just brilliant.  Please, make yourself comfortable, relax, and breathe normally, that’s not all! Antonio is undoubtedly facing another exceptional challenge to which I dedicate a short comment here below!  

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi made Wine how Greek did 2500 years ago in Chio Island

Arrighi’s experiment with Old Greek Wine in Chio Island 

Antonio could already glimpse the Enormous Potential offered by Elba as a Wine-Making Region, whose Wine Heritage dates back to Greek  (10th Century B.C.), Etruscan (6th Century B.C.), and Roman (5th Century B.C.) period. All these Ancient Settlers left their indelible signs on Winemaking in the Island, like for example the  Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae, an old technique that Antonio displayed with scientific rigor in his Winery. All  this is already causing quite a stir! There are traces of a Glorious Past in Wine Production and Trading in two recent discoveries in Elba (2013) : five large Terracotta Amphorae (1500 litres each) in  a Roman Villa in an area called  “Le Grotte” , and other ones  found on board of Roman Shipwrecks around the Island.
 
There is no evidence relating to Elban Viticulture during Middle Age, but it’s documented that Elban Wine had a good reputation and a trading for fair price in Tuscany. At the end of the 18th and for all the 19th Century the Elban Viticulture enjoyed remarkable development, thanks also to Napoleon’ s attention to Wine-Growing and to the Wines, as he was Emperor of Elba in 1814. Between 1850 and 1860, following several disasters (mildew; vine louse), the Wine Production dropped dramatically in Elba, but in 1878 it recovered again, when it produced about 20 times more as the current production, and after that it went down again. At that time Elba landscape was marked by Vineyards Terraces, covering the hillsides as high as 400 m above sea level. By the way, from the ’60s there was a Continuos Decrease in Number of Vineyards in Elba due to the increase of Tourism and Urbanization.  Today Vineyards cover about 300 ectars of the Island, and only about 125 of them are on the official D.O.C. Register. Now most of the previous Terracings are either covered in Wild Bushes and Trees, or Buildings have been put in their place, and people tend to prefer Growing Vines where the ground is flat and where picking the grapes can be done with modern machinery. It’s only in recent years that Wines from Elba have gone up in Quality, thanks to the commitiment of a handful of Well Organised Wineries and local Organizations,  whose only aim is to obtain  High Quality Products
 
Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae
Vinification in Terracotta Amphorae

Antonio has always been a Visionaire. In 2018 he organized the  “Elba Aleatico Day “ , a Wine and Oil Exhibition supported by the “AIS of Elba” and by the “Ministry of Agriculture”. Professor Attilio Scienza, an Agronomist at Milano University, was assigned as  Rapporteur in order to  speak about his Wine Knowledge and Experience to the attendees. After the Event Antonio and Professor  Scienza made friendship and whipped into shape a Great experiment: to make Wine how Greek did in Chio Island 2500 years ago! This Ancient Greek Wine had to be a full bodied, sweet and high alcohol Wine able to undertake long journeys on the sea, and then to be diluited with water during the banquets and celebrations . Antonio fulfilled Professor Scienza‘s desire to plow himself in this direction in Elba , after several failed attempts in other small islands in  Southern Italy. In collaboration with Pisa University and Professor  Scienza , Antonio revealed the Secret of this Old Greek Wine with his personal innovations!  First of all Antonio reproduced this Ancient Technique using Ansonica grapes, which are similar to the Old Chio ones. Then, he pulled down Ansonica grapes, held in Sardinian Wicker Baskets, into the Sea Water of Porto Azzurro down to approximately 7 meters for 5 days. After Antonio took Ansonica grapes out of the Sea Water, these  grapes were dehydrated,  dried on mats and finally vinified in Terracotta Amphorae. For this Wine is allowed some maceration between the Skins and Must. What are the most important aspects of all this ?

  •  First: Sea Water dissolves the characteristic wax bloom layer that covers the grapes; in this way grapes maturation becomes faster;
  • Second: Sea Salt is ideal for preserving Wine in a natural and gentle way!

After many centuries Amphora found its place once again in Winemaking with minimal interventions. I cannot scientifically state if history repeats itself, but what I can say with certainty is that the Amphora has returned to the Winemaking front almost after 2000 years and as it seems it came to stay for long! Certainly, the Result of Antonio‘ s Adventure is a Strong and Sapid Wine. Previewing this “Old Greek Wine” at “Arrighi Winery”, before it’s improved year after year and released to retail, makes me feel real Special,  ! 

There is also a documentary film called “Vinum Iinsulae” shot by the Elban register Stefano Muti , which immortalizes  Antonio’s undertaking . This is a 15 minutes trailer, which was awarded at the Marsille’s Film Festival “Aenovideo 2019” . In October 2019 Antonio is going to collect his prize personally at “Luxenbourg Palace” in Paris

Antonio Arrighi
Antonio Arrighi and his son Matteo 

I could not believe what I experienced and how a Strong Passion for the Territory and Wine drove  Antonio to make his dreams come true  becoming an Execellent Winemaker. Antonio cultivates Vineyards with Care and Dedication, and he is enthusiast and resourceful , animated by the desire of producing Wines interpreting the typical characteristics of Vineyards where he  plaid as child. Wine is a Magic World, combining the Patient Work in the Vineyard to the Wise and Careful Pocessing in the Vinery. It connects Past with Future. “Arrighi Winery”‘ is the consequence of a Strong Winemaking Passion that combines Past and Present to affect the consumer transmitting him the deep bond between this Wine Company and Elba.

Barbarossa Beach

After the superb Wine Tasting, I wallowed in a Turquoise Sea at “Barbarossa Beach” on the way  back to my hotel on the last day of my holiday. “Barbarossa” is one of the most beautiful and popular beaches of the of Porto Azzurro. You can get there on foot from Porto Azzurro harbour thanks to a path that runs along the coast, passing under the prison’s walls. Walking along this beautiful scenic path you can arrive at the “Barbarossa Beach” in about 15 minutes. “Barbarossa Beach”  has a sandy shore mixed with multicolored pebbles ranging from red to gray and brown; it has both free access and beach clubs, offering rental services of umbrellas, sunbeds and paddle boats, as well as dressing cabins, shower and lifeguard.

Arrighi Winery
Dinner at “Locanda Cecconi” and my friend Walter Cecchoni, owner of “Scoglio Bianco Hotel” at Viticcio Bay

It was pleasant to stay at the “Barbarossa Beach” till my stomach rambled! I went away to have a shower in my hotel dreaming for my last dinner in the Island. I booked at “Locanda Cecconi” as Antonio suggested! Federico with his mother run this cosy and friendly Restaurant in the heart of Porto Azzurro. I had the Best Grilled Octopus of my Life, which was served on a creamy potato and on home-made bread. My friend Walter joined me for the dessert time, and he entertained me finely with his anecdotes about Elba and about his delightful  “Scoglio Bianco Hotel”, which is situated in the appealing bay of Viticcio.

Arrighi Winery Elba

Thanks Antonio!

Antonio never cease to amaze! When he doesn’t work at his Wineyards, he Jogs early at 5 o’ clock in the morning. In this way he proves his fidelity to have been an excellent Triathlon Runner  in the past, when he also used to cross the Desert or to get lost in Giordania ! Due to lack of time, Antonio cannot travel so much, but being ambassador of his island, he does not have a moment of rest! By the way, he partecipates in the most important trade fairs, visits the Companies of Producers Friends, holds  conferences, and attends University Lectures Halls as a Teacher.

Arrighi's Family
Antonio Arrighi, Giulia Arrighi and the enologist Laura Zuddas

I have Fallen in Love with Elba . I cannot wait to return! Go to Elba if you want a Good  Life, and  let me know if you need my Assistance !

Drinking Good Wine with Good Food in Good Company is One of Life’s most Civilized Pleasures

 

Enjoy it! 

Stefania

thanks to my friend  Kim Harris for editing it!

Terre di Pisa 2019

Terre di Pisa 2019 , Wine Exibition

Terre di Pisa Terre di Vino 2019

Terre di Pisa  Terre di Vino 2019″  , organized by the Comunication Agency “Darwine & Food”, is an important and charming Wine Exbition, which aims to offer learning opportunities about “Pisa Hills Top Wines” for all: industry operators, connoisseurs and Wine Lovers. It is also an important occasion to promote Pisa and its province with its incredible Cultural, Historic, Wine & Food heritage.

On the 27th and 28th May at the “Chamber of Commerce of Pisa”  , 36 Local and talented Winemakers launch their Top Wines made by Sangiovese and  International Grapes in ocassion of this stunning event. They are here gathered to represent “Terre di Pisa Wine Production”, a  beautiful territory  of hills, forests, fields, and olive groves, where Wine History goes back to the Etruscans time. Here grapes grow in an area, which once was covered by the sea, in  soils rich on fossil,  and composed of  sand along the coast and limestone towards the inland. That’s the reason of Fine, Complex and Mineral Wines in Pisa ! Moreover, Pisa Wines Producers boast about the “DOC  Terre di Pisa Wine” designation  created in 2011 and “Terre di Pisa Wine Consortium”  founded in 2018 to classify and protect “Pisa Hills Wines” Here a list of the most important ones: 

Terre di Pisa 2019
Terre di Pisa 2019

Pisa Top Wines Exhibition

There is  a packed program of must-attend events and activities: tastings, seminars, and workshops run  by industry workers and experts such as:

And last  but not least, it’s worth emphasizing the importance of  great speeches of two renowned journalists regarding the history and the future of Sangiovese. Let’s begin with  Daniele Cernilli  , “Doctor Wine Blog” editor. He claims that Salviati Dukes introduce Merlot (1600) in their estate in Migliarino Pisano before  French  in Bordeaux. Then, Antonio Boco, contributor writer to the famous  “Gambero Rosso” Italian Cuisine guide, highlights the economic value generated by  IGT and  DOC  appelations for this terrific corner of Tuscany, whereas quality plays an important role in determining demand. The message is clear! Pisa  is  something over than the famous Leaning Tower and the city centre. It’s a massive treasure  to be discovered by curious travelers from the Wine Tours through the Pisa Hills  to “Massacciuccoli Lake”, from the “Parco di San Rossore” to the sandy Coast and the Apuan Alps. Wine and Tourism could become a driving force of  job creation, economic growth and development.  Howerever, Politicians, Education Institutions, Enterprises and others,  must invest in Workforce Development ,  Skill Formation and Comunication Strategy. 

Giusti e Zanza Winery

Pisa Coast Wines Press Trip

Pisa is certainly a step in the right direction for interest and commitment of private parties, but  it still has a long way to go, beacuse it needs a more efficient public administration. By the way, I just realize how many Wine-Growing Small and Medium-Sized Wine Enterprises are scattered everywhere in thiz land kissed by the sun. They define the key success factors in the process of internationalization and enrichment of  Pisa and its province. I join a Press Visit at the most enchanting Wineries along the Tyrrhenian Coastline to experience ths Pisa Wine Renaissance: 

  • “Torre a Cenaia”, Crespina Lorenzana: it is an oasis  of peace and tranquility. At “Torre a Cenaia” you can live the experience of a millennial Estate, with its 500 hectares of unspoiled Tuscan countryside, where time seems to have stopped. Wine, Craft Beer, Extravirgin Olive Oil, Restaurants, Events and more. A real unconventional Tuscan Experience not far from Pisa and Livorno; 
  • “I Giusti e Zanza”, Fauglia:  it was born in 1996 from the restoration of an Historical Winery in the Fauglia Hills. Wine has been made here since the 16th century. I find their “Bruno” (100 % Syrah)  excellent. “Pierbruno” is a fulll-bodied wine of an intense purple colour. The bouquet features aromatic undertones  cherries, blackberries and blueberries.The mouthfeel is fantastic with its softness and extra fine elegance. When you taste it you’ll be greeted with a punch of flavor that tapers off and then has a spicy peppery note in the aftertaste;
  • “Sator”, Pomaia: the vineyards cover over 11 hectares in three different plots: Campo San Giovanni, Campo al Pino and Cantina. The Red and White grapes varieties are: Ciliegiolo, Sangiovese, Teroldego, Merlot , Cabernet Franc, Vermentino and Fiano. This is a Family-Run Winery, so most likely you’ll find a family member guiding you on the journey into the World of Wine, starting from their vineyards to the Winery before moving on to the tasting of their Wines, which you can choose to buy afterward as well;
  • “Pagani de Marchi”, Casale Marittimo: it dates back to 1996 and it’s very well-known due to a  glorious archaeological discovery, the so called “Tomba del Principe Guerriero” (“The War Lord Tomb “) with his “Tasting Wine Kit”(a funeral banquet outfit) . Therefore this domain stretches back into the antiquity (VI – IV centuries B.C.). Their Wine are made by Sangiovese, Merlot , Cabernet Sauvignon, and Sauvignon Blanc. 
Pisa Wines

If you love Wine, Food and Life , Tuscany waits for You. Book your Holiday in Pisa, and left behind all your Worries. 

Enoy it ! 

Stefania

ITB Berlin 2019

ITB  Berlin 2019

Are you attending the ITB Berlin (Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin) , or considering it next year? Here are a few good reasons why you should do it , as well as some insights on How to Get the Most Out  of it.

ITB Berlin is the The World’s Leading Travel Trade Show. On March 6-10 2019  Travel Professionals dealt with  Industry Experts and had the opportunity to meet over 10,000 exhibitors represented in 26 halls ,  1,000 Qualified Top Buyers, and attendees from 187 Countries.  It simply cannot be missed! The ITB Berlin is the World’s Largest Tourism Trade Fair. The companies represented at the fair include Hotels, Tourist Boards, Tour Operators, System Providers, Airlines and Car Rental Companies. ITB began in 1966 as a small event in the framework of an overseas import trade show that developed into a true global success. The original five participating countries and regions grew to over 180, the first 250 trade visitors increased to over 114,000 and the exhibition space expanded from 580 m² to today’s 160,000 m². Lot of time passed since it all began , and in the meanwhile  the Tourism Industry developed into one of the World’s Most Important Economic factors.

My ITB Berlin 2019

For European Enterprises, Travel Experts/Lovers and Bloggers it is a must to be at ITB Berlin 2019 , because It is very important to learn more about competitors and to be updated about Tourism Industry Developments. ITB Berlin 2019 mirrors the Current Trends of the Global Travel Industry, and reminds those working in the sector of great challenges around the world in this field, such as the Digital Transformation.

I was really honoured to partner with ITB Berlin 2019 as an accreditated Networker. It was my very first time , and also an exceptional showcase for my activity as owner of WeLoveItaly.eu (Travel/ Wine Blogging and Italian Courses and Custom Tours in Pisa, Tuscany). I took the advantage to advertise my Travel and Wine Blog and to sell  WeLoveItaly.eu to a Tourism Board too.  ITB Berlin 2019 was more than what I could ever have imagined! ITB  2019 was held at the Messe Berlin, an enormous  building at Messedamm 22, near Charlottenburg and Savigny Platz in Berlin, where I booked a nice hotel for my stay .

As I arrived at the ITB  2019 I got scared , because It was so big. I thought I wasn’t able  to walk all around for so many hours! I was also concerned about maximizing the time available for that colossal event. 

I wanted to see everything, talk to everyone and to experience everything else. Actually, I didn’t get lost , because thanks to  Victoria Ade-Genschow and her  blog The British Berliner with helpful tips for the ITB  , I knew what to expect and what to do before . I had the joy of meeting  Victoria personally at ITB  2019 ,  my Good Angel found time for me. She spoke about her job as a talented and Famous International Lifestyle & Travel blogger , and shared some secrets for good blogging with me. All that was a strong emotion for me sipping White Brasilian Wine  together with other nice people! I was enchanted by Victoria , we made friendship and she was my reference point for anything concerning Travelling, Tourism and Blogging, and she  is still! Victoria was the best part of that incredible adventure.  During the ITB  2019 I build New Relationships with other Professional Travel /Wine Bloggers and Experts in the industry of Cultural and Educational Tourism ,  which was essential to bring in new customers and grow my business. ITB  2019 was also a chance for me  to:Travel and Wine Blog and to sell   to 

  • Exchange Experiences with other Tourism Players;
  • Extend my  Network for my WeLoveItaly.eu;
  • Find cooperation / business partners for my WeLoveItaly.eu
  • Create New, Innovative Business Models.

What made me excited about ITB  2019 was my  Virtual Journey Around the World! In an instant I visited Europe, Asia, Arabia,  America, Australia simply going from one stand to another one,  and suddenly I got the desire to leave for an exotic destination and to never come back ! 

Why not discovering Malaysia, and then Abu Dabi, Mexico, or Paris ? Hanging on at ITB  2019 I organized my “World Trip” geographically and  thematically according to my interests  ! In several exhibition halls, the latest Travel Trends were also presented across Countries and Regions. These include, for example, Medical  or Responsible Tourism, Youth & Adventure or Wellness Travel. At Pavillon 1.2. National Tourism Board Enit launched Italy promoting  Its Food & Wine Heritage being inseparable from the Identity and Culture of our country, but also at the same time making clear that Italy was more than pizza and pasta!  I liked the ITB Berlin space reserved to Travel Technology a lot, because established companies and ambitious startups boosted  their latest innovations, while several forums highlighted important developments from the World of Apps, Mobile Websites, Social Networks and Blogs. I realized how most Travel Businesses were moving rapidly to adapt, integrate or evolve Digital System that controlled nearly aspects of their business operations, from marketing to customer service to distribution. Last but not least, ITB  2019 confirmed, once again, that any form of Real Business could not work properly without the Virtual one, and vice versa. Even in a Digitalised World, It was not possible at  ITB  2019 to replace the confidence-building measure that Face-to-Face Meetings and a Direct Exchange between Business Partners on issues concerning the Travel Global Industry represented.  I enjoyed all the  trade show’s broad range of products and services. Moreover, attending such a big event is like being aware that despite a slowdown in the world economy, Demand within the Travel Industry remains stable, that is people remain eager to travel and the industry is well-equipped to meet the demand.

 

 

Tips for the ITB Berlin 

I Set Clear Goals for my ITB 2019! I Planned my Time and Schedule  in advance , because ITB 2019  was a massive event.

If you want to make your Experience at the ITB Berlin next year a success, then you need to be organized! Here my Tips: 

  • Visit the ITB Berlin  2019 Website and Its App to have and download all the useful info to get around the venue; 
  • Print your  badge before to avoid boring queues; 
  • Register/Complete your ITB Profile
  • Sign up and confirm all your  appointments at ITB Berlin  2019, and  send a reminder email to people about your  meetings;
  • Check out how to get at the ITB Berlin  2019 and the map of the Messe Berlin to move around easily; 
  • Plan your visit but be flexible; ITB Berlin is broken up into sections such as Europe, Asia, America, Arabia, Australia, and you can change your schedule , as you may find that the exhibitor is a little busy at the time you want to go; 
  • Make sure you plan for some rest during the day, because you can get caught up in visiting every exhibitor;  
  • Dress Smart! The official attire is Business Wear, being slightly formal and wearing a suit or at least smart-casual will be the best choice! 
  • Wear comfortable shoes for  working extended hours on your  feet; 
  • Take with you Packed Lunch and  Water in your  bag ; walking and talking is exhausting and you need to keep your energy levels up; 
  • Have  enough Business Card Media Kit to hand , there are so many opportunities to network with agents, tour operators, tourist boards, hotels, airlines, and other influencers just to name a few; aim to have more than you need! 
  • Don’t forget to bring your Phone , a Portable Charger,  a Note Pad or a Small Agenda to write down all the ideas, names, brands and whatever else came to your  mind during  ITB Berlin 2019.

All this was really important to maximize my productivity  as I attended many Halss, Presentations, and Networking Events run  by Experts and Bloggers. At the ITB Berlin 2019 there were also areas where the focus was Industry Job Opportunities,  as well as Shows, Parties,  Concerts and Culinary treats rounds. ITB Berlin 2019 was not  only for me  an exclusive business event where to be, but It also  provided an energetic and entertaining atmosphere each day, and for  sure I  had lots of fun along the way and met amazing people. 

At the end of this incredible Life Experience I went out with some friends at my favorite restaurant  Schwarzes Café in Savigny Platz to remember my “Berliner Zeit” and how Berlin added value to my life! 

“Mir kann keiner” ! 

Bis Bald Schönes Berlin ! 

Enjoy it ! 

Stefania

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