What Spring brings to Italian agriculture, holidays and town life.
Spring is in the air. You can feel it here in Tuscany and smell it. The daffodils are popping up their yellow heads all over the place and the almond trees are covered with tiny white flowers. At Tuscan Enterprises we are getting last minute requests for Easter and the April weeks, and on the farm at Casamonti, our first wine and Cinta Senese tastings are starting and you can tell that our guests have springtime and the sun on their minds. The dreariness of winter is finally behind us.
This is a very busy period for those working in tourism because all the last-minute arrangements are being done in the Villas, farmhouses and “agriturismi” – washing and cleaning of the covers for the beds and sofas, checking the kitchen inventories and replacing broken equipment with nice shiny new things. It is a really positive moment for all renters who look forward to the start of the season.
The farming estates are also busy after such a long winter with all the snow and rain that hit Italy this year. The final pruning and tying of the vines is now being completed – fertilization of the vineyards and olive groves is under way, and soon the first tilling of the vineyards and olive trees will take place. Gardens are being seeded and plants put in vases and in the flower beds.
There is a lot of activity going on also in the wine cellars because this is one of the periods during the year when wines are filtered and moved from the large steel containers into the wooden casks and barriques for aging. Blends of different wines are also being selected and will be ready to bottle soon, once the next moon wanes. The moon is important because it affects wine just as it affects tides, and bottling of wines is generally done during the days of the dying moon.
The gardens are also planted when the moon is waning. That way the plants will stay still and adapt to their new soil until the moon waxes down to nothing and then they will start to grow just as the moon starts its new cycle. The moon is very important to all those who work in agriculture and its cycles are followed carefully.
Spring also brings new life to the forests and you can see all the new budding vegetation if you take a walk through them. The grass is suddenly greener and everyone is generally in a more optimistic mood. The only thing we all gripe about is the daylight savings time with our clocks put forward an hour. But the complaining is not due to our loss of an hour of sleep and that we have to readapt our circadian cycles to the new time, but because those who raise and breed animals have to slowly retrain them to accepting that everything in their lives is happening an hour later. This is not so easy when you have cows or sheep or goats that are used to being milked at a specific time and you have to coax them into accepting that it has to be done an hour later. It takes a good month to get them adapted to the new cycle.
All in all, spring is one of the best times to visit the Chianti Classico region, Tuscany, and in Italy in general. The weather is still mild so you don’t have the cold of winter to fight against any longer and the heavy heat of summer is not yet pressing on you. I think it is one of the most enjoyable times to be here – far from the “madding crowds” so to speak and ideal for walking around and visiting all the little towns that Italy is so famous for. To me, this is the time to come if you want a leisurely holiday, so I hope to see a lot of interesting people from different lands visiting this fabulous country of ours.