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Published: October 4th 2012
It was a real early call to make our way from the hotel by cab to the Dark Rome tour meeting place at Piazza d' Popolo. We were all really excited about this tour, the scenery, the wine, and of course a little shopping in a new location. The bus was full with 50 happy individuals that were also excited about the upcoming day!
I was hoping the day would be good, but not 20 minutes into our trip, the girl in front of my row, got sick. She was sick on and off most of the trip, and I am sure she wasn’t too pleased about this. Neither was the bus driver that had to clean up the mess. Our first stop was for coffee about an hour outside of the Roma city limits just for such a wonderful chore. We only had a 2 hour drive north, but if seemed like forever.
The bus made it up the hills in the Tuscan region, and stopped in the little town of Montepulciano. We had a guided tour of this little town that hosted several movie scenes in the past few years. For us young movie buffs, one of
the "Twilight" movies had scenes in this town. Then for the older movie buffs, there had been scenes from "Under the Tuscan Sun" shot in the town and area. We went into the local church and I lit a candle for all my family back home! The town was beautiful, with magnificent views and quaint little shops. Gia, Francesca & I wanted to stop and shop, but we were told that the next town we stopped at, Pianza, would allow us time for shopping and gelato.
Back in the bus, we drove through more winding roads. We were heading to the St. Angelo Abbey to hear the monks sing. We arrived 5 minutes before they started. I didn't know exactly what to expect. The quick little video will show you the church bells. The other video was too big to load that would have shown you how good the acoustics are for this medium size church with only 4 monks singing their prayers. Monte Bella!
Again, back in the bus, we drove to our lunch and tasting! At the vineyard of Monteculina, we were welcomed by the owner with several tables spread in the wine cellar for our
bus load of hungry and thirsty guests. Gia and Ricco sat in one area, while Francesca and I sat in another area of the group of tables. Time to make new friends, right? As soon as the wine was poured the conversation became very lively and everyone started sharing stories about life and wine! Gia & Ricco met some people from New York, Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Francesca and I met new friends from Ohio and New Foundland. We all shared fun stories, had great laughs and made new friends for the day! The food was from the region (bread salad, beans & tomatoes on bread bruschetta, slices of salami & prosciutto, picorelli cheese and for our main dish, noodles with tomato sauce). Then we had biscotti, blueberry tarts and dessert wine. Most of the folks ate their biscotti before the dessert wine arrived. A few nights prior, I had introduced Gia & Ricco to the experience so they were prepared to dip their biscotti into the wine upon its arrival. We had a good lunch but not enough food to soak up all the yummy vino that I consumed. So I needed to take a walk and find some pictures
of grape on the vine for my blog! Phew, that fresh air really did help. I didn’t want to be stupid on the bus ride home.
Back on the bus, we drove 45 minutes towards Roma to the little town of Pianza. We had one hour to shop, get gifts, taste gelato and find the toilet. We all found a few things to purchase for our gift list. Plus, one or two items for ourselves. Well, you know there would be at least one time or two that a restroom break would be needed. This is the first time on my numerous visits to Europe that I ever saw and used a "stand up" toilet. Let me just say it was a little tricky but I was able to stay above ground and not get all wet! Yippee, Victory! The wine soaked touristas all met back at the bus on time and we headed back to Roma without incident.
Most of use slept on the bus back to Roma. We pulled into our same pick up area just north of the Piazza d' Popolo. After some shopping and dinner selections from our very experienced guide, Violet, we went
towards the piazza to find a meal. We found a great little pizzeria down the alley by the main piazza. We were all pleased with our food and of course another sampling of vino!
There was a taxi stand in the piazza, so we found the next available taxi and made our way back to the hotel. We had to have a night cap of one of the bottles we purchased on our last excursion in Roma. You can’t take too much wine home, so we may as well drink it! This was the first time we didn't finish the bottle. Not because the wine was bad, but because we were all tired and needed some rest before our next adventure. Day 12 will be the Vatican Museum, more walking and of course more vino!
Enjoy our pictures!
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