Montepulciano, Italy: The Twilight Saga: New Moon & Etruscan Tomb Destination

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Today is another exciting day.  We are off to Montepulciano, where scenes of Twilight Saga (New Moon) was filmed.  We almost missed our ride at the meeting place at Piazza de la Republica in front of Cafe Paszkowski. We didn’t see our group and guide from inside the Cafe Paszkowski where we were waiting and taking shelter from the rain.  There were people having breakfast in separate tables but none looked like they were part of our tour group and no tour guide with a banner or signage was in sight either.  Later, I found out that the people eating in that restaurant was indeed our tour group and the nonchalant driver/tour guide was more busy nursing his espresso than gathering his tour members or looking for any “lost sheep”  or “nawawalang tupa”, exactly how I was feeling at that exact moment.  If I hadn’t gone around asking people, I wouldn’t have known that that was our tour group.  It isn’t good to be pissed off so early in the morning.  I was pissed off because this was an expensive wine-tasting activity in Montalcino and sightseeing in Montepulciano which we had booked with Adventure Bellissini when we were still in Manila, and it was falling short of my expectations.

After a long van ride, our small group of eight people finally arrived in Montepulciano, Italy.  I decided that I will not let the inefficiency of the driver/tour guide earlier ruin my day.

Montepulciano is a medieval, Renaissance walled, hill town located in southern Tuscany not too far from Siena, about 1.5 hours from our home-base in Florence.  It is chiefly known not only for its churches and palazzos but also for its “Vino Nobile” wines which attracts many tourists to this quaint little town perched on a limestone ridge located about 600 meters above sea level.  When our van arrived, we parked at the edge of town and walked towards the centre as this town was closed to vehicles.

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Largely a walking town, time just passes so fast inside Montepulciano because wherever you go, this town looks frozen in time as if you too are walking and living in the Renaissance period.

We came upon Cantina Gattavecchi, a restaurant known for its historic wine cellar whose owner happened to be friends with our tour guide and granted us access to check out their famous Etruscan tomb which found another purpose in life today as a wine cellar housing their famous wines.

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Cantina Gattavecchi is an old family name in Montepulciano dedicated to producing great wines.  It also provides guided tours of this historical cantina and its famous Etruscan tombs located underneath its belly.

(Me inside the cold and eerie Etruscan tomb with the huge wine vats on the side preserving the wines naturally under Cantina Gattavecchi.  Notice the photo on the right with stairs made of stone with an orb. Zoom in on the photo to get a closer look of the orb located on the uppermost portion of the stairs.  Below is a magnified photo of the orb.)

Slowly I walked down several flights of steps with the group towards the Etruscan tomb underneath the cantina’s belly.  The bottom was very dark, cold and excruciatingly eerie.  Suddenly, I felt my hair stand at the back of my head and felt cold air brush the back of my neck causing me to look back at the stairs from which I came down.  Without warning I quickly took a photo of the stairs that I had just used and took a look at the photo I took.  And there it was… an orb.

Sometimes explained (by many) as dust, pollen or particle or just a trick of light caught using flash photography, an orb in ghost photography lingo is also believed (by many) as a vehicle to travel by disembodied spirits or beings that has not moved on into the light.  It can be circular or oblong in shape and may or may not have a tail when it is in motion.  In a place like this tomb, I am not surprised to see this for once upon a time, ancient people were buried here.  And today, in this modern day and age, Etruscan tombs like this has found another purpose as a wine cellar because of its naturally, cool temperature.

 

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Magnification of an orb on travel with hazy tail caught on camera by the Author. It is actually a magnified portion of the same photo taken of the stairs (See photo of stairs above)

After that eerie experience, I could not stay too long in darkness as my senses were already playing tricks on me.  Let there be light! And true enough, I raced in just a few steps going up the stairs  just to get back up and out to the outdoors.

We continued to go around the town and finally found the exact area where the portion of the film The Twilight Saga: New Moon was filmed.  In the movie, Volterra is the Tuscan city referred to as the ancient Italian city where the Volturi dwells.  But in actuality, the scene where the city  was seen celebrating  St. Marcus Day where people were wearing red cloaks was actually filmed in Montepulciano and not in Volterra.

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This is a signage of a shop-owner located on the corner showing and proving to curious customers like me and excitedly claiming that this exact corner is indeed the location where St. Marcus Day was celebrated in the New Moon movie and “not in Volterra”.

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After sight-seeing in Montepulciano, it is time to board our van again and head to our next Italian destination of the day.  Next time, join me for another exciting and fun wine-tasting activity in the town of Montalcino.

Arrivederci!!!

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