by Melinda Gallo

Un matrimonio a Greve in Chianti

I haven't been to a matrimonio (wedding) with a ricevimento (reception) in a long time. Last year a friend got married at the comune (town hall) in Florence and then had a rinfresco (a party with drinks and appetizers) afterwards, but it was small and lasted only until about 8pm. So today I was excited to go to Greve in Chianti to attend our friend's matrimonio in the comune. Quickly after the ceremony, we were driving up a dirt road to the Castello di Verrazzano for the ricevimento.

Living in Florence :: Un matrimonio a Greve in Chianti

After parking the car, we walked through the iron gates of the proprietà (estate) to the covered terrazza (terrace) that looked out onto the countryside. We enjoyed the view of the valley, which is shown in the picture, while we had our aperitivo (aperitif) with the other guests. I knew a few people, but I ended up talking to the only two other straniere (foreign girls) there. One was from Brazil and the other one from Puerto Rico.

We were taken on a visita guidata (guided tour) of the cantina (wine cellar) before dinner. A man took us through the cantina and explained how they made their own vin santo (holy wine), Chianti, and even aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar). We were able to see the large wooden botti (wine casks) where the Chianti ages for at least one year. There was a small chalkboard on the front of the botte that said what type of wine and year it was.

We asked what he thought the annata (vintage) this year for Chianti would be because there seems to be a lot of speculation based on the weather we've been having. He said, "Finché non è arrivata l'uva, non si può sapere. (Until the grapes arrive, we can't know.)"

When the tour was over, we walked down the hillside to a large dining room with bay windows. After we were seated at our table where we didn't know anyone, we took our plates to the buffet table to select our antipasti (appetizers). We introduced ourselves to the people at our table and talked mostly about the food and wine.

The camerieri (waiters) picked up our plates and then served us two primi (pasta dishes) of which one was ribollita. For our secondi (main dishes), they put plates of arista (chine of pork) and bistecca alla fiorentina on the table for us to enjoy. We finished almost everything we were given.

Between the primi and secondi, there was a group of men who went around to each table and picked one unsuspecting person to drink an entire glass of wine alla goccia (as a shot). They'd sing a song after they filled the person's glass up, "Bevilo tutto, tutto, tutto. Bevilo tutto, tutto, tutto. (Drink it all up. Drink it all up.)" When the person finished drinking, they'd sing, "L'ha bevuto tutto e non gli ha fatto male. L'acqua fa male e vino fa cantare. (He drank it all and it didn't hurt him. Water is not good for you and wine makes you sing.)"

During the dinner, there was an animatore (MC) and a cantante (singer) from Sicily who sang popular songs in English. I couldn't believe how perfect his pronunciation was when he sang in English. I've heard a few Italians sing in English who accentuate letters in words, like the "h" in "happy," more than is done by a native speaker. Not only did he not do that, but if I didn't look at him and just listen to him sing, I could've sworn that the cantante was a native English-speaker.

It was almost midnight by the time we had the torta degli sposi (wedding cake). We were probably the first ones to leave at around 1am right after we ate some cantuccini (biscotti) and vin santo that the camerieri plopped down on our table. We kissed the people we already knew and a few that we met goodbye and gave our best wishes to the nuovi sposi (newlyweds). We left the majority of people dancing and singing in front of the makeshift stage where the cantante was performing.

On the road down from the proprietà, we were greeted by a small pack of cinghiali (wild boars) that were crossing the dirt road. I had heard that there were a lot of cinghiali running freely in Tuscany, but I had never seen any before. They were much smaller and less wild than I had imagined them.

As we drove away under the starlit sky, I was wondering if we'd be able to go back another time for a visit. I truly enjoyed the Castello di Verrazzano because it is in a beautiful corner of Tuscany to enjoy wonderful wine and tasty food.

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