A Tavola con il Nobile – Bravio Delle Botti
Day 3 – Montepulciano
The morning of day 3, after another lavish breakfast and a fun chat with Roberto, the owner of La Terrazza in Montepulciano, we were given some free time to wonder around town.
I decided to visit a few artisan shops as well as some food places, just to get few memories to bring home!
I also decide to visit the Museo Civico of Montepulciano.
The Civic Museum has been housed since 1957 in Palazzo Neri Orselli, one of the rare examples in Montepulciano that preserves the memory of the civil architecture of the fourteenth century in Siena.
The museum brings together numerous collections, the most important of which is the private collection of 188 paintings of the primicerium Francesco Crociani, together with works ranging from the 13th to the 16th centuries.
The Civic Museum of Montepulciano is made original by the wide time span and the variety of works on display: it starts from Etruscan tombs to the Pinacoteca with its medieval paintings.
I am sure that the Civic Museum will enchant you with the beauty of the works of art that have found the best possible location here.
A Tavola con il Nobile: round 2
Just before noon I met again with my fellow judges and we started round 2 of A Tavola con Il Nobile!
As the day before, we made our way through the narrow streets of Montepulciano to the 4 remaining contrade.
We started with Contrada Colazzi
Then proceeded to Contrada Cagnano
And off to Contrada Talosa
finishing with Sandonato
We were lucky, because the location of the last contrada was in the gorgeous gardens of the Fortress, so after so much food and wine, we managed to have a little time to relax in the shades of the beautiful trees and gather our thoughts and opinions on the food, the wine and the all event in general.
As I explained in my previous posts, A Tavola con Il nobile is an event which runs at the same time as the Bravio delle Botti.
But what is the Bravio delle Botti?
The last Sunday of August takes place in Montepulciano the traditional “Bravio delle Botti”, a historical re-enactment of a challenge between the eight city districts (the contrade), which in the past competed with horses and today with barrels. The barrels, weighing about 80 kg each, are pushed and rolled by two athletes called “pushers”, for each contrada, along the uphill path of about 1800 meters that winds through the evocative streets of the historical center of the city until up to the finish line, located on the square of the Duomo in Piazza Grande.
The race is traditionally preceded by a fascinating historical procession composed of over three hundred figures moving along the same path, offering flag games and images of other times.
The word “Bravìo” derives from the vulgar “Bravium” and indicates the prize assigned to the winning contrada, consisting of a painted cloth bearing the iconographic image of the patron saint of Montepulciano, San Giovanni Decollato, in whose honor the event is held. Until ‘600 the “bravium” was to be of scarlet cloth of the “value of at least thirty gold florins”, as reported in the Municipal Statute of 1372.
In modern times the cloth of the Bravìo delle Botti maintains the tradition of the prize destined to the winning contrada of the race, and is jealously guarded in the respective contrade’s seats together with the cloths previously won. Every year the cloth is painted by an artist on the basis of a specific theme, to which the edition of the event is dedicated.
The recent history of “Bravìo” began in 1974 when a parish priest, Don Marcello Del Balio, had the original idea of transforming the ancient horse race in the barrels race. The idea, certainly brilliant, could not be more apt, given the international reputation and the quality of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The barrels are an important element for the economy of Montepulciano, because they are fundamental for the aging of Vino Nobile.
After a meeting with all the other judges and the organisers, we handed over our score cards and made out way to the Teatro Poliziano, where the Presentation of the Cloth will take place as well as the presentation of the contrada who won A Tavola con il nobile!
None of us, judges, had any idea of who the winner had been!
So after the presentation of the beautiful hand painted cloth and of the costumes of for the parade, it was finally the time to find out who the winner was.
A Tavola con il Nobile: and the winner is….
I have to say that the anticipation you could feel running through the theater, jam packed with the people of Montepulciano, was worthy of a night at the Oscars!
And finally Bruno Gambacorta, organizer of A Tavola con Il Nobile, pronounced the winner!
The winning contrada of the A Tavola con Il Nobile 2017 was the Contrada di Voltaia, with the “Cappello del Pastore” , a dish of pasta stuffed with pecorino cheese and pears, on broad bean sauce with pumpkin flowers, seasoned rigatino and pecorino wafer.
And it was also my favourite for sure!
After a huge applause (and a few people who of course were not happy with the results, as it always happens in this kind of events), it was time for celebrations!
So we were taken back to the headquarters of Contrada Voltaia where, together with all the judges and organisers of the cooking challenge, we were treated to a wonderful celebration meal, washed down with a lot more Nobile of Montepulciano!
And the celebrations were not finished!
We then headed back to Piazza Grande for some more shows and where some of us got interviewed by the National TVs about the contest, about Montepulciano and about the Bravio Delle Botti!
Needless to say, it was another late night!
And then it was time to finally wrap it up!
I would like to thank AIFB, the city of Montepulciano, the Consorzio del Vino Nobile and everyone else involved in this wonderful event!
It was one of the most exciting and interesting experiences I have ever had in my entire life!
I will carry always with me the memories of one of the best blog tours ever!
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