Tour Day 7
The ride out of Florence takes us through the Tuscan countryside into Umbria. This is the romantic Italian landscape of the imagination: cypress trees, olive groves, rustic farmhouses. We pass the walled, mountaintop town of Orvieto, beckoning to be explored another time. We leave the highway, and head deeper into the Italian countryside. Our bus driver expertly negotiates hairpin turns on the edge of the mountain as we climb higher toward the Agriturismo Poggio della Volara in Montecchio.
Poggio della Volara is a fine example of the agritourism movement in Italy. Marco greets us when we arrive at the vineyard. He and his wife Gaiva invite visitors to stay in their guest apartments, and sample life on a working vineyard in the Italian countryside. We have come for lunch and a winetasting.
The mountaintop view is spectacular. We are surrounded by fifty acres of grape vines, olive trees, and pastures. A feeling of tranquility descends over the group as we explore the site. Two long tables are set for lunch on the terrace outside the large, rustic farmhouse. Beautiful still-life arrangements of wine jugs, pots, and cacti accent the setting.
Marco’s passion for winemaking comes through as he explains the cultivation of grapes. He educates the group on the process of pressing olives for oil. We learn to carefully read the labels on grocery store olive oils, and not waste money on low end products that have little nutritional value.
We have worked up a thirst, and finally it is time to taste wine. Gaiva has created a most amazing spread of food to complement the wine, laying the feast out on a huge table: four types of pizza, several cheeses, delicious squash fritters, egg salad wrapped in lettuce and served on a giant aloe vera leaf, meats, and grilled bread, all prepared with their superior olive oil. Now this is the best day yet!
We sample a crisp white wine, and a fruity red. The region is known for Orvieto Classico wine, and Marco’s is outstanding. For dessert, we have jam crostata, espresso, and biscotti with a tasty dessert wine. Yum, yum. We purchase several bottles of wine to drink in Rome, but we regret not being able to take any olive oil home in our carry-on bags. We board the bus to resume our trip to Rome with full stomachs. We drink in our last look at Umbria.
“Now this is the best day yet!”