So distracted was I by other things I forgot to note the name of this piazza. Don't know why I really worried because it is the Piazza di Montefiascone!
It's really nice lobbing into a place you're not familiar with and having a friend there to guide you around.
Thus it was that we met fellow VTer Christine who gave us some insight into Montefiascone and quite a bit of insight into Italian life.
We spent a lot of our time in a restaurant chatting and had a wonderful few hours.
Volo di Vino is an elegant wine bar/restaurant owned by Simona and Gabriele, a wonderful, friendly couple who treat each guest as a friend. There is a wide choice of quality Italian wines and all the food is cooked on the premises by Simona....the food is typically Sicilian, the menu is small but good and changes regularly. On a warm summer evening there is no better place to be than sitting at a table outside this wine bar looking at the wonderful view of the Lake of Bolsena.
Favorite Dish: All the food is good and home cooked.....menu changes regularly!
There is no 'exciting' night life in Montefiascone. For me an ideal evening is a meal in one of our numerous, good quality restaurants, walk off all that delicious pasta with a stroll up to La Rocca to look out over the lake and maybe see a beautiful sunset, then a walk back down to town for a gelato or frozen yoghurt at the best gelateria in town 'Al Borgo' on via Oreste Borghesi.
Dress Code: Casual dress is acceptable in all restaurants in Montefiascone.
Without a car, Montefiascone is not the easiest place to reach. From Rome you can take a bus from Saxa Rubra bus station, there is a regular service to Viterbo bus station, from where you can take another to Montefiascone. Tickets must be purchased before travelling, without a ticket, the driver will charge you much more than the normal fare, though he will give you a receipt. Last bus leaves Viterbo at 20.10
Train times can be found at www.trenitalia.it but when you arrive at the station it is a 4km uphill walk to the town, unless you are fortunate enough to arrive when there is a bus waiting for you, though chances of this are very rare, and there is no taxi service in town! Your hotel would be able to arrange someone to collect you from the station, but it will usually cost you! Current cost on the train is €6,50
You can also take a train from Roma Ostiense to Viterbo then a bus to Montefiascone.
I consider Montefiascone a safe place to be....I have no fear of walking out alone any time of the day or night and have never heard of any crime here. I did wonder why so many locals seemed to walk around with their faces to the ground, and now I know....watch out for the holes in the paths and roads....was laid up for quite a few days with a badly sprained ankle!!
The nearby castle was abandoned after the 1695 earthquake which sounded its deathknell. Prior to this two lots of the plague had ravaged the town so it was not the place of note it once was.
In the 21st century it has its place on the tourist trail because of the remnants and the wonderful views over Bolsena.
The town of around 13,000 people has the look of a place being lived in, though on the day I was there I was obviously in the wrong place.
This shot shows the road leading up to the hilltop park.
Fondest memory: This ancient town was one of the most important centers for the Etruscan civilisation.
Today, it derives its fame from its strange sounding wine, Est! Est! Est!.
Translated roughly from the Latin it means 'Here it is! Here it is! Here it is!'
The story goes that a foreign nobleman called Johannes Defuk was travelling in Italy with his manservant, Martino.
It was Martino's job to ride one day ahead looking out for the best wines. When he found a 'locale' of quality he would write Est! on the door as an indication for his master, a sort of medieval 'Routiers' guide.
On reaching Montefiascone, Martino was so impressed with one vendor he wrote Est! three times to mark the wine as God given.
Johannes Defuk agreed and legend states he stayed there for the rest of his life until he had drunk himself to death.
This is not a recommendation you try this for yourself but throughout September it's open house in the cantinas of the town. Shame I was there in March.
It is also the moment when the grave of Mr. Defuk has a ceremonial barrel of Est! Est! Est! poured over it in his honour.
Favorite thing: The quilted fields beckoned as I drove towards Montefiascone from Bolsena. The fertile soil left by the volcano made for agriculture, the snow defining the fence lines. The only problem was finding a place to stop and snap a picture so, in the end, I opted for the Italian solution - pull up anywhere, put your hazard lights on and go about your business. Hey, it works.