#18 – Our Italian Vacation: if you could invite anyone to a wine bar, who would you invite?

cat Baby More on the title later.

Still day 2. Lesson #5: always good to stop at the local tourist office- in Alba they were very helpful and had free wi-fi. (See post #16 for more travel advice for the novice). Below are photos of Alba:

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Then on to the village of Barolo, namesake of the famous wine. In June 2014, part of this region was designated a UNESCO heritage site due to the historical and cultural significance of the area- the wine making tradition foremost. According to UNESCO: “vine pollen has been found in the area dating from the 5th century BC, when Piedmont [the region] was a place of contact and trade between the Etruscans and the Celts”.

Now back to our touristing. The main thing to do in Barolo is walk around the village streets and visit an enoteca or a winery. See pics below of the village.

Barola3 Barola4   DPPa_1081    passageway2 Barola1

Walking around of course will increase your appetite, whereupon you will need to immediately seek out food to keep going. Luckily, even the most basic eatery in Italy will have an appealing array of food, even for a small bite. No need to order any fancy wines, as the house wines in Italy far exceed in quality what you would pay for a good wine back in the US. See pic below. However- not sure about the one cured meat that seemed to be a piece of lard (????)

Barolo2

Next we visited the Barolo wine museum, housed in the Castello Falletti, named for the family that owned the castle from the 1500s to the mid 1850s.

Now I have to tell you, this exhibit was not what I expected. I would have loved to see some old tools and implements used in wine making. But since it was billed as a cultural history of wine making, the tools (apparently previously housed in a castle exhibit) were gone.

Ok. But still.

What was left- actually newly created in 2010- was a bizarre series of mostly dark rooms with exhibits and passageways going from one floor of the castle to the next. To better explain- the highlight to me- well….see picture below.

AdamEve

Yes, that appears to be Adam and Eve (lifesized), with grape leaves strategically placed. No fig leafs here.

And now back to the title of this entry. Remember when someone asked you, at least one time in your life, if you could invite anyone throughout history to a dinner party, who would you invite? So this part of the exhibit seems to be a take on this idea, with figures from various religions hanging out at the wine bar- i.e. Jesus next to Ganesh–all having fun, drinking wine (with Aphrodite at the far left).

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In case you wanted a close up:

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So. You can walk out of here annoyed that you spent 9 (approx.) euros to see this. Or you can look at it like we did: the whole Italian economy is struggling to survive, and tourism is what keeps it afloat. So a donation towards that cause- and the lovely town of Barolo- seems to us worth it.

Also, there is a terrace you can access from the castle. Here is the view.

viewFrom-CastleBarola

A link to information about Barolo wine: http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-barolo.

 

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#17 – Our Italian Vacation- Day 2- B & B in Alba

cat Baby Wow! What a time we had getting here last night (see previous blog entry #16). So this morning breakfast was waiting for us, whenever we were ready, in the chapel. The chapel? So it seems that landowners with substantial properties a distance from town built chapels for their own use and probably for that of their employees. The original statues were still in place, and it was a beautiful and peaceful environment to sit and relax before beginning our day. Lots of food, including meats, cheeses, croissants, chocolate cake, fruits, and of course great coffee.

Here is the outside of the chapel.

Chapel

And the interior…

ChapelInterior1

the food…(note: those are hazelnuts, a local product- not chickpeas).

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The statues…

statues

Artwork on the walls ranged from old family photos to pages of a graphic novel.

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Sweeping views of vineyards from the outside.

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flowers

Even though this B & B was a former 18th century mansion, it was oddly constructed with farm buildings connected to the main house. A second group of rooms were next to the chapel, and connected to a private house. So there is no grand entrance to the main house, and most of the rooms seemed to be off the courtyard area.

courtyard

Nevertheless it was a wonderful place to stay for the time we were there! And the farm outbuildings were lovely with texture.

farmoutbuilding

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I can’t seem to get beyond breakfast today- but after all, we are on vacation.

Link to the B & B above:

http://www.cascinabaresane.it