TWO FOR ONE - ITALIAN FOLK MUSIC & TUSCAN FOOD: SEPTEMBER 13 and 16, 2014



When summer comes to an end one fears the worst in Montalcino. From music festivals and al fresco dining the population moves right into the wine harvest and nights out become suddenly a no go (anybody who has ever spent a day picking grapes will know why).

Thanks god we are not quite there though. A few white wine grapes may already be off the vine, but since Montalcino is Sangiovese co
untry we still have a couple of weeks before things go berserk and a last couple of events before Brunello town's social life falls temporarily asleep. So better make sure you'll be there!

Hotel Rif, the Italian band around singer songwriter Sabrina Turri will take you on a trip through Italian and Mediterranean folk music in one of the most beautiful venues Montalcino has to offer. Restaurant la Pieve is located on the Tuscan town's south-western slopes, so make sure you leave Montalcino a bit early to take in the fabulous sunset on the road that leads via Tavernelle to La Pieve (if you want to do an extra hour of exploring visit lovely Camigliano beforehand). Then take a seat and enjoy dinner at restaurant la Pieve accompanied by the fabulous sound of Hotel Rif.  

Singer Sabrina Turri with Hotel Rif
Sabrina Turri during a concert of Hotel Rif







HOTEL RIF AT LA PIEVE DI MONTALCINO
Saturday 13th and Tuesday 16th of September 2014

Be sure to make a reservation. Price for concert and dinner 35€. Booking: info@lapievedimontalcino.it; +39 0577 81 66 04. 

La Pieve has beautiful rooms too, if you want to stay overnight. In case they are all booked try one of my favorite holiday rentals in the area: Art and Garden in Monte Antico (20 minutes from La Pieve).

Last but not least, check out Hotel Rif's website and their new record Piedirante to get ready for a last great night out in Montalcino this summer. 


12 MONTHS OF BRUNELLO: JULY IN MONTALCINO AND SUNSET AT ARGIANO

July brings sultry mornings and sizzling hot afternoons to most of Italy. Locals who aren't lucky enough to be sunbathing at the sea will try to spend as much time as possible indoors until temperatures get more bearable in the evening. But there is always an exception to the rule: in July 2014 tourists didn't buy Tuscan straw hats for shade but Chinese umbrellas to shield off the rain. That July central Italy received 16 days of rain en lieu of the three days usually expected during the second month of summer. 

Things were even worse in the north and south of the country and winemakers in Tuscany had an awfully busy time with hail and humidity putting their precious crop at risk (for more info on the mad climate's effect on the vines read the Palazzone winery's account of July 2014). Thankfully Italy's Scottish July is a thing of the past now and in future years the month is hopefully back to what it's supposed to be: the driest and hottest in Tuscany.




Always a great sight - winery visit at castello di Argiano (Sesti wine)


Always plenty of fun: wine tasting with Elisa Sesti


Cypress view towards Villa di Argiano from Castello di Argiano


Pine tree playground at Castello di Argiano


Empty glass? a rare sight at Castello di Argiano


July in Tuscany: Lavender time


The church at Castello di Argiano after another day of unusual summer rain


Castello di Argiano: view toward Castello Poggio alle Mura, aka Castello Banfi from Montalcino's Sesti winery

GOOD TO KNOW

Winery visits are a great escape from the heat since you'll spend a lot of time in temperature controlled wine cellars. However if you want to walk the Brunello vineyards too, make sure you book your tasting in the early morning or late afternoon when outdoor temperatures are less cruel. 

Montalcino's town center and Sant'Angelo in Colle will be pleasant locations for a stroll after dinner since it's relatively high elevation guarantees for a refreshing wind even in the midst of summer. 

July is a great month to visit Brunello town for music lovers: 

  • Montalcino Jazz & Wine takes place every year in the middle of July. The fabulous jazz festival is located in the courtyard of Montalcino's medieval fortress. Bring a jacket since it can get cool even after a long hot day. Or warm up with a couple of glasses of Banfi wine (initiator and main sponsor of the festival). 
  • Members of the Concertgebouw Orchestra from Amsterdam used to host Musica Reale, a chamber music festival in the first week of July. Since summer 2014 the event is on hold due to major restoration works at Montalcino's lovely theater. Check the Musica Reale website for future updates on the festival. 
  • Last but not least Camigliano - one of the most beautiful hamlets belonging to the municipality of Montalcino - is home to yet another music festival: Camigliano Blues, hold every year on the last weekend of July or first weekend of August. 


MONTALCINO JAZZ & WINE: PROGRAM 2014

Montalcino Jazz & Wine is in its 17th year and as usual the festival opens up at Castello Banfi, the initiator and main sponsor of the event. After the first two nights in the courtyard of the American Brunello winery, the concerts will take place in Montalcino's medieval fortress in the town center. 




The great Danilo Perez ready to jam it in Montalcino this year



Starting off with two Italian gigs at the Banfi winery, the festival works its way up to 'The Children of the Light', the trio of pianist and Grammy award winner Danilo Perez and closes with British jazz funk band Incognito. 


MONTALCINO JAZZ AND WINE 2014

Courtyard of Castello Banfi (former Castello Poggio alle Mura)
Aspettando il jazz - waiting for Jazz &Wine


July 10

FABIO MARIANI – GIPSY THREE

July 15
DEIDDA BROTHERS plus A. SRIANO e P. BISOGNO


Fortress in Montalcino

July 16
6 IN JAZZ - TRIBUTE To LUCIO BATTISTI

July 17
CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT - DANILO PEREZ TRIO

July 18
THE BAD PLUS

July 19
HERBIE GOINS & MAURO ZAZZARINI BLUES INN

July 20
INCOGNITO

TICKETS MONTALCINO JAZZ & WINE
Ticket prices: 15 Euro (20 Euro for Incognito - the last concert). 
You don't need a reservation for the concerts at the fortress (plenty of space available), but you may want to book to have a table all to yourselves. Drop in at Montalcino's tourist office in piazza Padella, call beforehand +39 0577 849 331 or email info@prolocomontalcino.com

Concerts start at 9.45 pm. Arrive early to have a small bite to eat (prepared by Montalcino's neighborhoods) or fine dine in one of my favorite restaurants. Remember to bring warm clothes, since summer nights can be surprisingly cool and windy up at the fortress. Blankets are available in case you forgot your jumper. Or just warm up with tasting your way through the selection of Banfi wines available all through the concerts; start with their Brut, a fine sparkling wine produced in Northern Italy and finish with their Brunello Poggio alle Mura or Brunello Riserva Poggio all'Oro . 


Flyer of Montalcino Jazz & Wine 2014
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