On my most recent trip to Italy, we were driving through Tuscany, a little lost but enjoying ourselves. Suddenly, everything started to look familiar. Out of nowhere I told my friend Chris to take a left. Things looked more familiar and I suggested driving up a small single track road. Chris is good in that he’s always calm, and happy to go with the flow. In his usual way, he didn’t ask why, and just drove up the little road.
My suspicions were correct, that track led to the Castello de Montegufoni. I first came to this amazing hotel with my parents as a kid, and we went again, when I was at university, with my English relatives.
The first time we were there two events stick out in my mind. The first was the sound of beautiful violin music piped through the courtyard you see below. They seemed to have an amazing sound system hidden away somewhere. At some point, we were sat at one of the communal dinners in the hotel’s vineyard and discovered that a man eating with us was the first violinist in one of the famous European philharmonics (I can’t remember which one). It turns out the music we could hear throughout the courtyard was him practicing.
The other memory was waking up in the middle of the night to discover that my parents had joined me on the pullout couch in the living room. Their bedroom was a loft, up above the living room. As it turned out, they’d been sat enjoying a glass of wine at their open window looking at the moon. Suddenly, a winged creature was silhouetted against the glow. A winged creature that soon winged passed my parents and into the rafters. It was a bat.
Oh, three things. The tuck shop had the most amazing multi-ice-cream sandwich/ice cream bar combo. I’ve never found it anywhere else.
On my second trip there, I remember my uncle Mike preparing the biggest mound of chopped garlic I’ve ever seen, amazing gooey cheese, a night of sambucca and limoncello, and my mom feeling bad for my dad as he seemed to be spending all his time on his Blackberry working. As it turned out, he was actually trying to beat the high score I’d set on Brick Breaker.
I’m not sure I told anyone I stumbled upon this place, so this picture may come as a surprise.