Day 331: Vineyards of PiedmontJanuary 11, 2018 in Italy ⋅
Our wedding anniversary today! Out fairly early to pick up a rental car from the south of Turin, then drove southwards into the hills. These areas are some of the world's oldest known wine-growing areas, and have been cultivated since at least 500 BC.
We drove around a bit through a few different areas, but aside from vineyards and modern farmhouses there wasn't much to see. Found an old stone tower so we clambered up a muddy hill to check it out; nice view but we both got quite muddy shoes! Very sticky, claggy mud.
Drove into one of the towns and managed to find an open cafe where we had some pizza slices for lunch - very tasty as always. Briefly visited the outside of a 13th century castle that was built by the local wine-maker baron to protect his crops. Closed for the winter of course!
This area is home to some well known varieties of wine including Barbera, Barolo, Asti-Spumanti, and San Barrosco. But given the season, all the vines were brown and barren - nothing had started growing yet obviously.
Final stop was the town of Barolo where literally everything was closed and there wasn't another soul in sight. I can imagine during the summer months it's a super popular spot on the European wine-tasting circuit, but for us on a cold winter's afternoon there was basically nothing to see.
Disappointed, we drove back to Turin via the Palazzina del Stupigini - one of the royal villas constructed by the rulers of Turin on the outskirts of the city for their hunting trips. It was part of the WHS we'd be visiting tomorrow, so we stopped and filmed, though again it was closed and we couldn't see much from a distance.
Dropped the car off again after a bit of difficulty filling up - the car rental place had given me a 3/4 tank and just said "fill it back to that point". So I put 10 euros in and the needle didn't move. Another 20 euros and it went from just under half to completely full. So I probably wasted 10 euros. Frustrating! And the drive wasn't the easiest either - Italians are awful, reckless, aggressive and unpredictable drivers.
Got the tram back home where we stayed for the rest of the day. Nothing special for our anniversary, just some home-cooked pasta and a bottle of spumanti (Italian sparkling). We were both tired and grumpy with each other, particularly after a disappointing WHS and the stress of being in the car all day. Start all over tomorrow I guess!Read more