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Starting in Tuscany, we visit the wine regions around Montepulciano before crossing into Umbria and finishing in Assisi. As you explore, gaze up. Series: Rick Steves' Europe Assisi and Italian Country Charm In the Italian countryside, Rick connects with rustic, traditional culture: enjoying an agriturismo (farmhouse inn), seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made, and hiking down into deep and ancient wine cellars. How many months? The vineyards here produce some of the very best wines in the world. Thoughtful travel causes us to consider things differently — from the art of fine living to the teaching of a medieval saint. This is the land of two beloved local wines: Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. Francis was a big deal even in his own age. So, to enjoy Assisi at its peaceful best, see it early or see it late. Until the 1960s, neighboring farmers brought their grain here. He went to the Vatican in Rome, asked for the pope's blessing to continue his work, and got it. And along the way, pilgrims would stop here for a drink. In fact, he was made a saint within a few years of his death. And its fine 13th-century bell tower soars above the crowds of the main square. Fri, 10/23 at 5:00 pm on Austin PBS Create. Tuscany is one of those regions where it just makes sense to sleep outside the city. Enrico: Baby Vino Nobile. Florentine Delights and Tuscan Side Trips, ©2021 Rick Steves' Europe, Inc. | Rick: So it says "famiglia Gori" — It opens us up not only to our world — but to new ways of appreciating it. Rick Steves' Europe Preview: Assisi and Italian Country Charm Check your local public television station for this new Rick Steves’ Europe episode! Joining a vintner, we descend a long staircase. It's a classic Tuscan table: Simplicity, a sense of harmony, and no rush…enjoyed with an elegant and welcoming noble family. In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | KPBS Skip to Main Content The ancient Romans went to great lengths to make this first-century b.c. In a land torn by war, Francis promoted peace. The upper basilica, built a bit later than the lower, is considered the first Gothic church in Italy. Rick: You love your son like the wine! Terms of Service | Privacy, Montepulciano, Italy: Tuscan Vino and Views. Rick: With some good wine. Finally you wind up in the shop, where you're welcome to taste a few wines (with some local cheese); tastings are free for travelers with my guidebooks. Rick Steves' Europe. He brushes on a coat of garlic and vinegar with a sprig of rosemary, sprinkles it with pepper, and finally cakes it in salt. A 13th-century historian wrote, "No more exquisite monument to the Lord has been built." We're visiting the noble farm of the Zanda family, where Nicola raises a couple hundred pigs. Rick: A lot of work! In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | GBH Rick: Oh, so more than two years. He retreated to this hermitage for the solitude. Roberto: Yeah. Same! Here Giotto shows a nearly naked Francis — the rich kid tossing his fancy clothes to his father — befuddling high society by trading a life of luxury for one of simplicity. He ends in Assisi — the hometown of St. Francis — … After a life of earthly simplicity, he enjoys glory in heaven. Rick: You like this? Signora Gori rents a few rooms in her centuries-old farmhouse. Travel with Rick on this video guide to Assisi, Italy and find out what to do on your next trip. The son, Nicoló, runs the show now — mixing traditional techniques with the latest technology in a very competitive field. As a young man, Francis was living in a way that attracted followers. Francis kneels in front of Lady Obedience, Chastity is in her tower of purity, flanked by two angels, and Lady Poverty is in her patched wedding dress. Roberto: Basically. With farmhouse B&Bs as our springboard, we'll enjoy Italian culture, from village intimacy to the grand and saintly. Nicola: 200 meters, but a lot of work. In the Italian countryside, we'll see how prosciutto and pecorino are made, and hike down into ancient wine cellars. Assisi and Italian Country Charm In the Italian countryside, Rick watches prosciutto and pecorino cheese being made. And it was here, in 1209, that he established the Franciscan Order. …mills like these are a tough fit in our fast-paced world. The nave shows 28 scenes from the life of St. Francis — a mix of documented history and folk legend. And when it's finished how long — how old will the wine be? Travel with Rick on this video guide to hill towns in Italy including Civita di Bagnoregio, Orvieto, Cortona, and San Gimignano and find out what to do on your next trip. "Rick Steves' Europe" Assisi and Italian Country Charm (TV Episode 2016) cast and crew credits, including actors, actresses, directors, writers and more. A visit to Assisi shows that Francis' message of universal love has a broad and timeless appeal. And in Tuscany, the correct way to enjoy a steak is…rare. We'll end in Assisi — the hometown of St. Francis — which retains its spiritual aura to this day. It's cohesive — an artistic and theological work of genius. While the town center may be congested, just a few steps away you'll find pockets of serenity. Being a wine-producing capital, Montepulciano is built upon a honeycomb of wine cellars. Roberto: Always with good wine. This FAQ is empty. Watch Rick Steves' Europe - Season 9, Episode 6 - Assisi and Italian Country Charm: Nicola: Oh, I love it. He taught by example. Title: They also serve hearty pastas and salads, other meaty plates, and a fine house wine. Thanks for joining us. The crenellations along the roof were never intended to hide soldiers — they just symbolize power. And grandma passes down the requisite skills to the latest generation. 10,000 liter. This is the actual chapel that Francis and his first followers rebuilt. In the Italian countryside, we'll see how prosciutto and pecorino are made, and hike down into ancient wine cellars. Can you give me a little tour? The basilica rises where, in 1226, St. Francis was buried (with the outcasts he had stood by) outside of his town on the "Hill of the Damned" — now called the "Hill of Paradise." Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Assisi and Italian Country Charm Season 9 Episode 6 | 25m | Video has closed captioning. Francis loved nature as well as humanity. But it seems most visitors are here for the story of St. Francis. A short and scenic drive south takes us through some of Italy's finest wine country. Holy relics were the "ruby slippers" of medieval Europe. Francis strove to be Christ-like. And it survives to this day — with a handful of Franciscan friars living out his mission. (12 Nov 2016). The prosciutto and pecorino cheese provides a fine starting course — beautifully matched with the family's wine. Add to favorites: Description In the Italian countryside, Rick connects with rustic, traditional culture: enjoying an agriturismo (farmhouse inn), seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made, and hiking down into deep and ancient wine cellars. Many thoughtful people entered monasteries and lived lives of quiet prayer and solitude in retreats like this. Rick: You love the wine like your son? Like pilgrims, we'll explore its stony center before trekking to its awe-inspiring basilica, built on the tomb of the beloved saint. Below, you'll see five of Francis' closest followers — clearly just simple folk. Sure. Making cheese this way is labor-intensive and takes lots of patience. Get a sneak peek of the new version of this page. As in many European old town centers, it's pedestrian-friendly and almost traffic-free. In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | SDPB And overlooking it all is the hill town of Montepulciano. It's very big barrel. (You won't be asked how you like your steak.) Hi, I'm Rick Steves back with more of the best of Europe. In the Italian countryside, Rick connects with rustic, traditional culture: enjoying an agriturismo (farmhouse inn), seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made, and hiking down into deep and ancient wine cellars. Weight and price is agreed upon at the table. These pigs are a rare breed brought back from the edge of extinction by people who care about traditional agriculture…people who really love their ham. The arcades that line the square approaching the church are where medieval pilgrims were housed and fed. I'm Rick Steves. A grandiose church built around St. Francis' humble chapel, towers above the buildings of Santa Maria degli Angeli — the modern part of Assisi in the flat valley below the hill town — which marks the spot where Francis lived, worked, and died. He lived without worldly goods and loved all of creation. Rick: So this is "baby" Nobile di Montepulciano. You eat it, Nicola? The basilica is frescoed from top to bottom with scenes by the leading artists of the day: Cimabue, Giotto, Simone Martini, and Pietro Lorenzetti. Giulio and Chiara run a fun-loving but tight ship — posing with slabs of red meat yet embracing more than two decades of trattoria tradition. Nicola artfully cures every part of the pig. As is typical of agriturismos — as working farms renting rooms are called here — the furnishings are rustic, but comfortable. Pasta comes next — and the children prefer theirs bianco — with only olive oil. Born an hour [ago]. They call this a "zero kilometer" meal — everything was produced locally. This time we're celebrating the traditions in Umbria and Tuscany. While the Basilica of St Francis, where he's buried, dominates the town, we'll visit that later. It's brighter, illuminated by 13th-century stained glass — the oldest in Italy, and covered with frescoes by Giotto and his assistants. With his teaching, Francis challenged the decadence of church government. Rick: Yeah! It's memories like these that you take home that really are the very best souvenir. Enrico: Yeah, of course. And here in rural Tuscany, you feel an enthusiasm for tradition. Rick: The connoisseur. To counter your unhappy memories of Assisi, I would like to share my more pleasant experience! For this wine, it's the artful combination of aging in large, medium, and small oak barrels that gets the tannin levels just right. The people of Montepulciano seem to enjoy their red meat as much as their red wine. https://www.pbs.org/video/rick-steves-europe-assisi-and-italian-country-charm The town's main square is an inviting place to relax. Assisi and Italian Country Charm #906. Assisi's main drag leads from the town center toward the basilica, which holds the saint's much-venerated remains. At this farm, walls are stacked with rounds of pecorino, made from the unpasteurized — and therefore tastier — milk of the farm's sheep. The town overflows with Francis fans and a flood of Franciscan knickknacks. Nearby is the vecchio mulino — or old mill. And our farmhouse B&B provides a great springboard for a world of side trips. Rick: All the way back to… And perhaps the most endearing scene in the basilica shows Francis preaching to the birds. In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | KERA Skip to Main Content Inside the chapel, pilgrims remember the very spot where Francis lived, worked, and died, and how — as it turned out — fixing up that little chapel was a metaphor for a Church in need of reform. With its fine art, it still functions as a splendid classroom. The basilica rises in two levels above the tomb. That's good! Above these were the quarters for the hundreds of friars who once lived here. And, like so much of what she serves, the limoncello comes from her farm. The medieval town hall resembles nearby Florence's Palazzo Vecchio — a reminder that about 500 years ago, Montepulciano allied itself with Florence. Immediately, pilgrims came from far and wide, making Assisi a thriving pilgrimage center, which it is to this day. Rick: Three years. Top-grade prosciutto is cured by hanging in a cool room for about a year. We'll learn about — and taste — one of Tuscany's finest wines, and savor Florentine steak, before retracing the steps of St. Francis in Assisi. To be sure we get the most out of our visit, we're joined by my friend and fellow tour guide Roberto Bechi. And, for our last stop, a chance to taste some of the wine as it's aging. In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | WVPB Francis lived in the hill town of Assisi. Today, 800 years later, I find the message of St. Francis still relevant. Roberto: For the expert. But, for these folks, it's well worth the trouble. Hamlets like these originated as communities of farmers who banded together on easily defensible hilltops overlooking their farmland. Thanks for joining us. For centuries this town has celebrated its independent spirit. The hind legs are destined to become fine prosciutto. In this beautiful setting you can almost imagine the much-loved saint preaching to the birds. In the Italian countryside, Rick enjoys an agriturismo, sees prosciutto and pecorino made Rick Steves' Europe | Assisi and Italian Country Charm | Season 9 | Episode 6 | LPB Skip to Main Content Nicola: The ham is waiting about 12 months. Then we'll visit Assisi and its awe-inspiring basilica dedicated to St. Francis. The street ends at the Basilica of St. Francis. Rick: So how old would this wine be here? In 1939, Italy made Francis one of its patron saints, and in 2013, the newly elected pope took his name…the first ever Pope Francis. In the Italian countryside, we'll connect with rustic, traditional culture: enjoying an agriturismo (farmhouse inn), seeing how prosciutto and pecorino cheese are made, and hiking to the bottom of deep and ancient wine cellars. This 13th-century hospice gave pilgrims a place to rest. Farmers brought their grain here much of what she serves, the correct way to enjoy their red as. 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