Nine weeks in Italy in 2021
In the year of 2021, I have already stayed 9 weeks in Italy.
Force of personal determination brought me to Piemonte on April 6, 2021 in the middle of Italy’s Covid lock down. I was vaccinated and wanted to be there in solidarity with Italy, and with Italians as a show of force, that “we will return “ as tourists and as Americans.
I do not regret one minute of the time I spent in Piemonte, and the Veneto where I stayed to pursue wine studies, which I hoped would assist me in becoming an Italian wine Ambassador, a title offered through the Vinitaly Accademy program.
When I first arrived in April, Italy was under quarantine restrictions. Ristorante were closed, museums were closed and April rains occasionally sprinkled. There was no choice but to cook each night.
I found joy in speaking with the food vendors in Dogliani weekly market, chatting away while purchasing delicate first growth artichokes to add to canaroli, a classic choice to prepare for spring.
There was not much opened but there was so much to do. I visited Roberto in Roddino whose panificio uses single grain enkir to produce his organic breads and grissini, and toured the mill in the Hills of the Langhe where they ground the grain.
I tasted Barolo from local producers, and often was personal escorted by the wine maker. Hotels allowed me to visit their new renovations, and I hiked and cycled the hills of the Langhe between Roddino to Monforte d Alba, La Mora to Barolo, marveling at the first buds of Nebbiolo.
I was able to visit thirty wines during the 6 weeks between April and May, ending this journey in the Veneto, witnessing Piazza San Marco completely empty, a site I will always remember.
After a two month visit to US, in July, I returned to Italy again for three weeks, this time on a gran tour. I escorted clients through Firenze, Lucca, Bocelli concert, Santa Margherita, flew to Bari Puglia and visited, Lecce, Ostuni and Otranto, Matera, Positano, Capri, and Roma. Though all regions in Italy were considered white, requiring the minimal amount of restrictions, we heard no English.
Hopefully, will return to Italy late fall, and will be able to report that in the Covid year of 2021, I was able to spend one quarter of the year in Italy.