Photo blog, tag: Italy  

The doors of Urbino

Door in Urbino #1

Tags: Italy, Marche, pictures

Harvest time in Andezeno

This weekend, hills and valleys around Turin seem to be blossoming with food and wine: wherever you turn your head there's a food festival, a wine-tasting event, a polenta party, and we are not even in bagna cauda/chestnuts season! Having too many choices usually leads to not taking a decision: today the main options were a wine event in Andezeno, in the hills near Chieri, or a food festival in my own town, Settimo Torinese. The sky was gloomy and rain was expected, so we drove away from Settimo, hoping to find better weather. Near Chieri I took a wrong turn, or so I thought, until I found myself driving past the Balbiano Winery: it looks like a navigation error plus a driving error can balance each other out...

In this part of Piedmont, Freisa is the main wine. Dark, tannic and full-bodied, Freisa is something I have been missing during the past nine years abroad, since it is seldom found outside Italy (well, at least in the restaurants and spirits shops I used to patronize).

The finished item: bottles of Bonarda Vivace at the Balbiano Cellar in Andezeno

At the Balbiano winery, we explored a museum of country life, then a cellar with a selection of wines (a heaven of Freisa, Bonarda, Malvasia), then tasted grape juice must (one of the few non-alcoholic drinks you can have in a winery!). The lady behind the wine-tasting bar was explaining how a certain type of Freisa wine was aged, and that, together with the selection of wines, was beginning to make my mouth water, when a call arrived: for those who felt like exploring the vineyard, a shuttle bus was ready. That Freisa would have to wait a bit longer...

Freshly-picked grapes at the Balbiano Vineyard in Andezeno, Piedmont (Italy)

At the vineyard, near the town of Marentino, we were part of a group of twenty-ish visitors who were allowed to roam the vineyard with shears and baskets to harvest grapes.

Back at the cellar, the Freisa I previously had to miss was there, waiting for me (and for many other visitors). The Freisa di Chieri Riserva Barbarossa, that was that wine's name, turned out to be great. So great, in fact, that I bought a bottle of it, despite being a skinflin

Tags: foods and drinks, Italy, pictures

In Maglione, even road signs are artistic

A road sign in Maglione (TO), Italy
A series of road signs in Maglione, a small hilltown in Piedmont, Italy. The rest of the town is quite artistic as well.

Tags: Italy, pictures

A nutria (Coypu) in Settimo

A nutria in Settimo Torinese, ItalyA nutria (Myocastor coypus), also known as coypu, in the Po River Park in Settimo Torinese, Italy.

Yes, that was an unexpected encounter, in case you are wondering.

Settimo is not exactly known as a town that pays attention to fauna: the town had a steel factory and a chemicals factory near its centre (and several other factories just out of it), and I did not expect to find such a large rodent here. This castorino (little beaver) appears to be living in a lake in the Po River park, together with at least other five specimen. Maybe there are more, but it is not always easy to tell the difference between a castorino and a pantegana (a large country rat), unless you happen to see their teeth: the nutria has unusual orange teeth.

Tags: animals, Italy, pictures, Settimo Torinese


Resting near the Lake Rosset, near Nivolet Mount, Italy
Resting on the way to Col Rosset (Rosset Mount), near the Nivolet Mount, at the border between Piedmont and the Aosta Valley, in Italy.

Tags: Italy, pictures

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