To say that things move slowly in Tuscany would be a colossal understatement. However, thanks to that nearly imperceivable plodding pace, Toscana remains true to her simple beauty—year after year after year. However, beneath the timeless and serenely rolling landscape, change does in fact arrive in its own way—piano, piano (slowly, slowly)—Tuscan style.
For years, we have enjoyed the meadows around our little Italian hideaway. In fact, we’ve celebrated their soothing, healing qualities through daily walks, a heartfelt documentary, and even an annual hay rolling ceremony, called Bocce Bale. But good things often come to an end—even in the “land of slow change.” Heavy machinery has forced its way onto the once-gentle, quiet fields. They fire their blustery diesel engines, signaling a close to our peaceful meadow-walk days. We feel sad and strangely “rushed.” How many walks can we get in before the meadow grasses are no longer ours to wade through?
But there’s good news in this story of change and disruption. Rather than shopping malls and parking lots, which typically signify “progress,” we find those grassy meadows are being transformed into another beautiful Tuscan alternative—vineyards, glorious vineyards. The Florentine hills and the Chianti traditions remain stubbornly ensconsed.
The “developers?” None other than the Marchesi Antinori Srl—an Italian wine company that can trace its history back to 1385. They’re one of the largest wine producers in all of Italy, with significant innovations that were actually instrumental in the development of the “Super Tuscan” revolution of the 1970s. We can rest assured that they certainly know what they’re doing as the fields are plowed under for their latest expansion. 600+ years is a testament to their commitment in the region. They have already cultivated acres into restored vineyards around Villa Poggiolo just down the hill. The vineyards are definitely works of art. The company takes pride in what they do. In fact, they’ve been a major part of the revitalization of this entire area, bringing many hectares back from ruins—reclaiming and redefining the beauty and splendor of the eras past.
So, we watch with great interest and anticipation as they turn our precious meadow grass under, making way for a development of a different kind—something even better. We practice letting go of the past to embrace the future. Being in Tuscany, home of delicious Sangiovese wine, makes that practice much more palatable (pun intended). Still, we’re already starting to feel tugs of nostalgia for our beloved annual Bocce Bale competition. Perhaps we need to launch ourselves into a new era as well. Rather than rolling hay, maybe we’ll help the Antinori group out a bit. Who knows? It may very well be that grape stomping is in our future.