Welcome to Montepulciano, another historic hillside Tuscan village with artisan shops and galleries. What sets this charming village apart from the others is the not-so-charming Torture Museum, filled with mediaeval displays of painful hardware. The front entry graphic display cases were grisly enough for me and I chose to pass on the rest of the exhibits, not wanting to risk losing my appetite, which would be my own form of personal torture.
Next stop: Walter Redaelli, located in the Relais Leopoldina Inn, a luxurious inn hosting just a handful of well-heeled guests in four opulent guest suites. The grounds are exquisite and feature an infinity swimming pool perched on a hill overlooking even more heart-stopping views of the Tuscan countryside. Hedges of fragrant lavender and Rosemary combined with bushes of blooming jasmine perfume the air and mingle with the smokiness of the wood fire ovens in the restaurant. I wish I could bottle this air. It’s truly intoxicating.
Our four course menu options were presented on specially printed menus just for us. I was happy to see everyone order something different so I could peruse all options. I settled on a starter of Sea Salad with olio and lemon, which is probably the closest thing to sushi the Italians serve. It was thin sliced pieces of fish, delicately curled around crisp lettuce lightly dressed. Next was my favorite bite of the evening, the ultimate Umami experience – mushroom gnocchi with a shaved truffle sauce. I have never tasted anything so earthy and flavorful. My main course was grilled sea bass with vegetables, a clean, simple dish, beautiful plated and perfectly portioned. My dessert of Cantucci cookie parfait was a crunchy, sweet end to a truly memorable meal.
As we reflected on our beautiful meal on our drive back to La Chiusi we gazed out the windows at the Tuscan countryside admiring a gorgeous sunset to the right while a blazing gold moon rose to the left. When a moon like that hits the sky it is absolutely, positively AMORE!