Monday morning we bid farewell to Annalisa and Primo Franco and started driving along what is known as the Strada Del Prosecco, the wine route. The small winding road runs along the foothills of the Treviso province, through gently rolling hills, passing some of the loveliest vineyards we have seen yet. We made many stops to photograph the beauty of the area.
Our first planned sightseeing excursion was the Abbey of Follina, what Primo considered a not to be missed sight. The Abbey of Santa Maria in Follina dates to the 12th Century. The beautiful old stone structure was quiet and peaceful, and still in use today. There was one woman inside the church praying when we arrived, but otherwise we walked through the buildings undisturbed.
From the Abbey we continued along the wine route towards Conegliano with its castle and Wine Academy. The road leading up to the castle on the highest point of the city was so narrow that going through the city wall we had to pull in the side mirrors on the Audi to pass through the archway. After surviving the drive to the top we discovered that the castle was closed, and many of the shops and restaurants as well because it was Monday. We made a quick tour of the old town area and then continued on our southward trek, as this was our day to travel the most miles.
From Congeliano we hopped onto the autostrade and made good time towards Firenze. We are staying in the small town of Fiesole/Caldine just north of Florence. This is another property we found on VRBO.
Andrea sent us detailed directions from Fiesole, and without them we never would have found the 200 year old house hidden in the olive grove. The small, mostly gravel road took us back up into the hills from Caldine. Andrea, a concert pianist, greeted us and gave us a tour of the farm his grandfather bought in the 1920s. The house we are staying in was one of the original farm houses and Andrea’s studio, complete with three Steinway grand pianos, was originally part of the stables.
After settling in, we made our way to the local Co-Op for groceries and cooked ourselves a dinner of pasta with pesto. We toasted the Prosecco country with the Nino Franco bottle of Prosecco given to us by Annalisa and Primo upon our departure.