Day 740: Montepulciano

En route From Cortona to Montepulciano, the Mind’s Eye group’s first stop of the day was at an olive mill.  After the tour, they were served fresh unfiltered cold pressed olive oil on bruschetta.  Bruschetta in the United States is often served with elaborate toppings of chopped tomatoes and basil or prosciutto but this was simple fare – grilled bread rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with sea salt and then drizzled with recently milled unfiltered olive oil.  The group marveled at the delicious spicy taste of the fresh oil, something they were unaccustomed to back home.

Next they visited an Etruscan tomb.  The Etruscans lived in what is now Tuscany from about 800 BC until the Romans assimilated them in the first century BC.  The Etruscans developed many advances now attributed to the Romans, such as the Roman arch.

Since she didn’t speak Italian, Laetitia arranged for a local guide to take her group around Montepulciano.  The tour included several local artisans who spoke no English.  The group especially enjoyed the translated humorous banter of Cesare, a comedian as well as a consummate copper craftsman.

Before dinner, Laetitia stopped at a local wine bar to sample the region’s famous wine, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  The happy hour entertainment was a fine pianist and a tenor named Luciano singing opera areas.  As Laetitia sipped the wine, she sat at the bar watching a lady who was drinking the same wine.  After several glasses, the woman suddenly abandoned her escort and flitted from table to table as she flirted with all the men in the establishment.  Was it the wine or the piano or was it Luciano singing La Donna e Mobile, “the woman is fickle,” from Rigoletto that accounted for her sudden loss of inhibitions?  Laetitia didn’t know, but she turned the incident into the limerick of the day.

Did the tunes played upon the piano
Or the aria sung by Luciano
Or the fine Vino Nobile
Make La Dona e Mobile
Of the lady in Montepulciano?