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  Cornell University

Cornell in Rome

College of Architecture, Art and Planning

On top of the clouds of Montepulciano

Leaving Siena we went on a short bus ride to reach Montepulciano. I had taken a short nap and somehow we had reached a beautiful Tuscan countryside village on a hill rising above a magnificent layer of fog. It was our first day of sunshine, and if I had wished for it on any of the days it definitely would have been for this excursion.

Fighting the chill for a good vantage point from the porch
Photo by Andy Chen

We walked the streets and cut in between buildings were small slivers through which one could see the incredible landscape beyond. We went to a famous cafe on the edge of the hillside and so many of us were in awe.

A group of students huddled around a cafe table looking out towards the view
Photo by Andy Chen

After a few brief stops at the incredible panoramic views we descended into the fog. It was absolutely magical, the air was cold and the mist settled in your lungs with such a presence it was impossible to ignore the fresh air. Rays of sun pierced through the thick fog every now and then to illuminate beautiful scenes of small houses, of a road seemingly heading nowhere, and to the algae ridden rooftops of the abodes below. The roosters started crowing, surprisingly late in the day for them to wake up. Silhouetted in the thick fog was a grand stone church, looming and solid. We entered  quietly to a beautiful mass service and left for Pienza soon after. Given 3 hours of free time, I choose to take a long walk around the small town like so many others. Everywhere around us were hills and hills filled with small fences waiting for the springtime grapevines. The sky was clear and the ground green and golden. Our last stop was in an abbey seemingly in the middle of nowhere, maybe just as an established example of Christian influence even in the tiniest of villages. We stopped to get our last souvenirs in a small store attached to the abbey. Wine and honey and fruit spreads and olive oil, hoping to take a little taste of Tuscany back with us to Rome.

The Tuscan Landscape
Photo by Andy Chen
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