Updated: Nov 12, 2019
It was a middle of September 2019
week when we visited Bolgheri. It is a central Italian village and hamlet (frazione) of Castagneto Carducci, a municipality (comune) in the province of Livorno, Tuscany. It is only a couple of miles from the sea and the old Aurelia ( one of the most famous Roman roads) is near by.
This area, known as the Maremma, may be Italy’s most densely populated with cinghiale. They take refuge in the thick Mediterranean scrub, called macchia, or in the woods farther inland in Chianti and Montalcino, usually coming out only at night. Omnivorous and stealthy, they are known to like ripe wine grapes—in fact, vintners often lament that boars are true grape connoisseurs, choosing only the best-quality fruit when they raid a vineyard. And of course their looks don’t win them any sympathy: With those prehistoric faces, they’re like mythic beasts come to destroy the village, even though all they really want is to be left alone.
The land around is beautiful, mostly flat with a view in the distance of the colline Metallifere. One thing catches your eyes though, acres and acres of vineyards. Bolgheri became an internationally known region following an event in 1974 arranged by Decanter where a 6-year-old Sassicaia won over an assortment of Bordeaux wines. Prior to this, Bolgheri had been relatively anonymous producers of ordinary white wines and rosés.
The town is truly a small Hamlet, you have to drive through the famous Cypress Avenue, a gorgeous road with high cypresses along the sides made famous by the Italian poet Giosuè Carducci. This is a scenic, straight avenue, about 5 km long, bordered by majestic and ancient cypresses which end in front of the castle of Bolgheri. It connects the old Via Aurelia to the village.
Under a beautiful blue sky, admiring the vineyards ready for the harvest, we drove through the Avenue to reach the entrance of the town.
Proceeding along the avenue and behind the cypresses, you’ll start to see the red bricks of Bolgheri’s castle. The hamlet is located over this elegant castle, so beautiful and finished that it seems to come straight out of a storybook for children.
You can park the car at a near by parking lot and walk through a small road, the smell of the flowers, of the wineyards. The Tower of the castle is there watching over you and the arch is inviting to walk through it.
Just above the entrance you’ll certainly notice the big family coat of arms of the ancient noble Gherardesca family, which has owned the castle of Bolgheri since 1200!
Bolgheri, with its old historical center, the typical houses of stone and bricks, rich food and wine shops, small restaurants and taverns, is really an enchanting village.
The town is very quaint, walking over the old stone roads with little shops selling small crafted objects always reminding of the wine industry. After all, around is the Super Tuscan land.
At “La Bottega di Elena” we sat down to try the local food with cheeses and boar salame and order a glass of the iconic Super Tuscan. a 5 ounce Sassicaia glass goes for over $40.
The little park across the street was like walking in a time machine you could imagine Carducci seating there, dreaming about his poems.
It was sad to leave town , but we had so many visits at the most important wineries in the area, and it will be the topic of our next blogs.
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