Lessons from Casanova

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Thursday started on the hammock…

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And ended on the hammock…

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There was a nap on the hammock in between too!

Just looking out to the countryside is amazing, still. It does not get old, it does not dull, it does not become less appealing, it is just beautiful.

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Since we are in Chianti, we are surrounded by farms and vineyards and we decided to go for some tastings. As we left a vineyard, I got behind the wheel. We were debating going home or not (when I say home, of course I mean the apartment in Tuscany which I now want to make my home). I made a right instead to drive through the hills more and noticed a farm called Casanova. I’m in Italy, I’m in love with everything and everyone and it is named Casanova so I turned in (In Italy, Casanova just means “new house,” by the way).

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Here, we found a great story…

This farm was beautiful! It was home to many animals, plants and flowers. We sat for a tasting.

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The Owner of this place was a big time business man. He had a big job with big responsibilities and big stress for decades.

He decided that he didn’t want that life anymore and bought this land in Tuscany which had not been functioning or cared for in over 100 years. I can’t imagine that because this place was beautiful.

The woman’s name was LaVinia and as she was telling us this story you could tell she was also passionate about it. As she spoke of the Owner, she said, “when you are passionate about what you do, it’s no problem to start work at 5am and work until 12 or 1am.”

We started the tasting with the balsamic and oh my gosh! I bought some of it so everyone at home can enjoy it on a salad with me while I talk about my trip. It was so delicious. They had one that was aged 30 years and so sweet that they used it as a topping for ice cream. I have never tasted balsamic like that before.

The olive oil and vino followed suit. It was probably the best olive oil I’ve had. Then, she brought out creams. They grow lavender here on the farm and offered oils and lotions. The smell of lavender was wonderful. I use lavender when I have trouble sleeping. Interestingly, sleep has not been an issue in Italy, I just haven’t done it enough because I’m moving around so much.

Anyway, as we talked, we mentioned that there are no to-go cups for coffee. So, we can’t have coffee as we walk around. LaVinia’s answer to it was this:
“We just stay there and enjoy at a table or stand at the counter. We stay to make friends.”
It really is amazing how we speed everything up in America and we miss the opportunities and time that they work hard to protect in Italy. She goes on to say, “If I go away, I don’t enjoy it. It’s like wine.” I really enjoy my cappuccino time and now that she mentioned it, that is where I have met and talked with people the most. It is a big difference from getting coffee in America. I go to Dunkin Donuts in the morning, go through the drive through and avoid as many people as possible. Also, I get the largest cup available so I don’t have to go back. The difference is remarkable, especially since I enjoy sitting and having coffee so much more than I realized.

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After our tasting, the Owner came out and talked to us. It was clear how passionate he was and I loved it. We talked about how much we love Italy and they brought us the most wonderful Tiramisu.

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He talked about life in Italy and jobs and issues. I told him I could learn Italian and work for him. He said, “Sure. You get an Italian man and you will learn it.” I wondered if one of my family members told him to say that but he went on to say that he had to travel for a few months for his job and didn’t know English. His boss told him it was his problem and to figure it out. So, he got a girlfriend there who spoke English and the interaction is what taught him. That does make sense actually because I was learning a lot more Italian when I was with the family here.

The last thing I want to say about this winery is about the Owner. I loved his story so the more he talked, I had to take notes (all I had was a napkin).

20140525-104609.jpgHe said he is hosting dinners and tastings in New York City and I asked if he did any that were open to the public. He said no and explained that the people who visit his winery in Tuscany know of the wine and can buy it and book him to come in for tastings or events. It contains the production to some extent which he preferred. There is no greed or pressure to grow. He was just satisfied with his life and loved it. His response to me was this:

“I don’t need to buy a Ferrari, I am happy with my car.”

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