This past weekend was full of school events. The first was on Friday. We went to a vineyard in the Chianti region for some wine tasting. The bus ride over was a bit intense for me with sharp turns on narrow streets and Italian techno playing the whole way. When we got there I was a bit motion sick, but the cool country air helped me get over it.
The vineyard was an old fort back in the day. I didn't hear much more than that on the tour because I was way in the back, but I do know that the cellar for the wine used to be a dungeon for prisoners.Here are some grapes - fresh picked and into the hopper. You could see the mushed up grapes go through the tubes and into the winery.
Here's a neat shot of one of the giant Chianti barrels. These things are seriously huge and probably 5 times (at least) as big as the French or American oak barrels. You can't really see it, but in the bottom left corner is a black rooster which is the mark of real Chianti wine.
After the tour we sat down and had wine. It was more of a wine party than a wine tasting. We started with two bottles of a white, of which I can't recall the name. That was served with a light sheep's milk cheese. The second wine was the Chianti Reserva. It was a 2003, super smooth and served with salame toscana - my favorite. The last wine was a cab served with toasted bread with raw garlic rubbed on and drizzled with delicious extra virgin olive oil. Seriously amazing. We finished with "holy wine" which is a liquor-like desert wine served with almond biscotti. At the end of it everyone was pretty tipsy (some more than others) and appropriately the staff passed out order forms. I ended up sharing a liter of olive oil with a friend.
On Saturday I went into the studio to do a painting for my room. I'm excited for the paint to dry so I can cover a bit of my bare walls. After I went to the Galleria Palatina at the Pitti Palace.
Here is an amazing marble sculpture of Caesar. It really is incredible and the more time I spend actually sculpting marble the crazier these things are to me. I just can't imagine doing something this large and this perfect.
After the palace I took a nap to get ready for my first soccer game! Fiorentina Vs. Genoa. It was a "free" trip provided by the school. The game was exactly as I thought an Italian soccer match would be like. A lot of cheering, a lot of singing, a lot of heckling/booing, and tons of excitement.
This is the only picture that came out decent . . . probably because they were warming up and not moving. Fiorentina ended up winning 1-0.
On Sunday, my classmates from my painting class and I caught the bus to Certosa to see some of Pontormo's frescos at a monastery. The bus ride took half an hour and the monastery was at the top of this hill. When we got there however, we found out that they close from 11:30 to 3. We got there at 11:25. So we contemplated going back to Florence and coming back at 3, but decided to just hang out. Not so sure that was the best idea. We hung out in a park, walked around, got lunch and 3 and a half hours later we went back. When we got there we joined a tour.
We entered in the chapel which was decked out with frescos and sculptures. This place wasn't kidding around. After about 25 minutes of the tour though, which was all in Italian, we didn't see any of Pontormo's frescos. On of the guys on the tour could tell we were kind of lost and told us that we missed the first room of the tour where the frescos were. So we ditched the tour, found the frescos and to our disappointment saw that a lot of the paint had chipped off and all we could really see were blobs of color. So we took pictures of it and in 3 minutes (literally) were out of there.
As we were walking back down the hill we saw our bus pass by. It didn't really shock any of us, what with our luck that day. We waited another half an hour for the next bus and whined about our 2-hour-turned-7-hour day. On the happier side though we definitely bonded and at least it was sunny. It was also just nice to be out of the city and breath some fresh air.
Italian word of the day: calcio - soccer