That next morning, hopping on the sage green road bikes, we took off once again toward the vineyards we had visited the day before. Something about a morning sunrise shows you a new beauty and understanding of your surroundings. With no cars on the road, giving us the ability to take everything in, it was hard not to notice the grapes were a shade warmer, the leaves a hint more lime green, and the dried corn, when peeled back, exposed a Tuscan gold color radiating from the kernels. The air was warm and humid, setting the scene for another perfect day. Knowing that we had to leave so soon, we savored every moment, every smell, every view we got to see, knowing it might be awhile before we were back, or even get to experience something as special as this. Once we started our ride back, the locals had woken up and began their day as any other. Corn, lettuce and their other vegetables from their gardens were being harvested while it was still cool. Trucks of produce plugged along, picking up their harvest from the various plots of land along the way.
Back at the castle and packed up for our next journey, we strolled down to breakfast which was to be served on the patio overlooking the Po River. Fresh homemade jams, honey (including the bees buzzing around us that made it), pastries and breads were served immediately upon our arrival at our table. Again, waiters in tuxedos came to serve us, with beautiful white china and silver pieces, unlike any “casual” breakfast I had ever eaten. To accompany the variety of pastries, they poured freshly squeezed orange juice and decorative cappuccinos, then topped off breakfast with an omelet, fresh mozzarella and another stunning platter of culatello. The eggs they used from their chickens were so fresh that the yolk was a bright golden orange, unlike anything we had seen or tasted; so fluffy and fresh, a refreshing surprise from our usual store-bought eggs. We sat and enjoyed every last drop and crumb we could, accepting more juice and coffee, trying to prolong the inevitable.
Not wanting the fairy tale that was Antica Corte to end, we almost mournfully said goodbye to our gracious host Giovanni who reappeared after our breakfast, thanking him a thousand times over for everything he had done. As we pulled away out of the courtyard, dust kicking up in our rear-view mirror, peacocks prancing to get out of the way, the feeling of knowing we had just experienced something incredible came over us. The owners had written in their booklet that their passions stemmed from, “Amore per la cosa buone,” or “the love of the good things.” It wasn’t only the good things we fell in love with. It was the attention to detail and the genuine hope that it was good enough for us, and the whole elegant simplicity that was Antica Corte that we fell in love with. It was the most amazing one-of-a-kind experience that gave us so much more than lifelong memories.
© Rachel Davidson and Wine, Dine and Wander, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rachel Davidson and Wine, Dine and Wander with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.