It was still super foggy when we woke up this morning, so after breakfast and some discussion, we decided to continue slowly on our route to Milan instead of visit the castles this morning. One of the largest appeals of the castles are the amazing views from so high up. We would be looking at clouds, so we decided it wasn’t worth it.
Jeremy got online to see if we could find any vineyards that we could visit that were along our route. One of the top rated ones that he looked up was just a little out of the way, so we decided to try it. Our host was super helpful in determining the different routes to take and why.
The landscape here is gorgeous. We opt’d to stay off the Autostrade and drive through some towns until we got to the roads taking us into the countryside to the vineyard. There was still a bit of fog or smog layering, but the views were beautiful none the less. These first few are of the towers of San Marino through our sunroof as we headed out.
When Jeremy made the hotel reservations for our stay in San Marino we could not find anything in town, which is why we ended up down at the bottom of the hill below town. As we were leaving the hotel this morning, there were all these guys in racing paraphernalia so we figured there must be some sort of event going on around there. Little did we know our route out of town took us directly next to the track and all the parking and traffic (pedestrian and car) that you can imagine. And being Italy, there is barely one lane to use for miles and miles and miles…
We finally made it past that snarl of crazy and meandered our way through the countryside to find the Tenuta Neri Vineyard. And while the roads were paved and you can see electrical wires lining them, it still felt like something out of the distant past.
As we drove up the tree lined drive to Tenuta Neri, we realized these are working vineyards and olive oil groves. A woman peeked out in her work boots and jeans as we arrived and we asked her about wine tasting. Her name was Valeria and her english was spotty, but we were able to communicate. She is third generation to work the land and produce the wine and olive oil. We tried a white wine and a Sangiovese and decided to get a bottle of the Sangiovese. Valeria also mentioned they had just produced this years crop of olive oil, so we tried and bought some of that. Again, AMAZING.
We walked around the grounds and were treated to spectacular views of the rolling hills where there were olive groves and grape vines sprinkled throughout. It was a warm fall day and we got to see workers coming and going as they worked the land. A dog and kitten wandered around as production continued. The fog was still settling into the land in the distance, not quite giving us a crystal clear view, but rather that peek into autumn heading towards winter. The church bell rang off in the distance and again, you felt transported back in time.
And of course a photo of the lovely Valeria who assisted us.
Now is for the long boring part – we drove. And drove. And drove. It was about five hours up to Milan, there was fog blanketing everything and much of the drive was similar to what we saw coming out of Milan. We finally made it to our hotel right by the airport, returned our rental car, grabbed a quick bite to eat while playing connect four and then proceeded to figure out how to pack for the journey home. Figured we should leave you with some awesome bug splats from our long drive…
And now, we try to get some sleep before we have to rise at 4am to catch our flight.