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

Mozzarella and Pomodoro - vintage Fiat 500 and the tower of 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.


July afternoon at the Sesti winery

Happy hour with Elisa Sesti and my Tuscan native

lavender and cypress trees at Castello di Argiano

Playground Sesti style at Castello di Argiano

Castello di Argiano's many shady nooks

The church and part of the garden at Castello di Argiano

View towards villa Argiano from the Sesti winery

Olive grove with a view towards villa Argiano



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 their relatively high elevation guarantees for a refreshing wind even in the midst of summer. 

Also, 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. 

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