La Foce is the estate of the Origo family located not far from Montepulciano in southern Tuscany. Renowned for its lovely gardens, it is best known as the home of Iris Origo who helped many children (and partisans) escape German persecution during WWII.
Ms. Origo’s War in the Val d’Orcia is her personal diary of the tragedy – and great heroism – of Italians after Mussolini was deposed by the King and the Germans began to subjugate their former allies. This is a riveting account of the day-to-day lives of Tuscan families who were tragically affected by a war no one particularly wanted.
Recently published is A Chill in the Air, which is Iris Origo’s fascinating diary of the events leading up to Italy’s entry into WWII (1939-1940).
While not as compelling as the War in the Val d’Orcia, this recent publication is a disturbing expose on how leaders can commit their citizens to a war that few understand or support. Shortly after Mussolini committed Italy to support Hitler, Iris ceased writing her diary (for a period of about 3 years) and joined others to help Tuscan residents and others cope with the savagery of this horrific war.
On the way to our Tuscan farmhouse just north of the medieval town of Montalcino, we passed the beautiful walled city of Montepulciano. It was here that we camped out for about a week in 2016 touring nearby villages.
Before our lunch reservation at Tuscany Divine – just off the Autostrada near the Chiusi exit – we visited The Labyrinth of Porsenna.
The Labyrinth of Porsenna is off the beaten path but a “must-see” attraction for those that are fascinated by the mysterious Etruscans. Apparently, this made-made cavern was built by a significant Etruscan leader around 600 years B.C. Like many other Etruscan ruins sites in Italy, Christian churches have been erected on their foundations.
After a delightful tour of this haunting place, we lunched at Tuscany Divine. This is a rather unusual but fascinating restaurant. We had six or seven appetizers and a main course of pasta followed by a dessert. All of the products were sourced locally and the meal was delicious. The owner carefully explained each course and the providence of the ingredients. The wine was excellent.
While our final destination was a farmhouse near Montalcino, driving through Tuscany unveils one historical and culinary marvel after another.