Fun Facts about Tuscany – Cantucci & Vin Santo
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The word “Montecarlo” immediately reminds us of the Principality of Monaco, but we shouldn’t forget its Italian homonym: Montecarlo of Lucca. The French jewel was given its name by the Prince Carlo III, the founder of the casino, but take notice: it was the emperor Carlo IV of Bohemia who gave the name to the Tuscan diamond.
A prince versus an emperor… it’s your call!
Montecarlo is situated in the heart of medieval Tuscany, where the states of Lucca Pisa and Firenze meet.
Originally it was a village named “Vivinaria”, an ancient property of the Dukes of Tuscia (Duchy of Lucca). In 1331 the village was destroyed by the Florentines and the jurisdiction of Lucca decided to rebuild it on the summit of the hill covered by oak trees, cerri as they were called at the time. Later on, oak trees were replaced with the fortress that gives its name to the “Rocca of Cerruglio”. The fortified fortress played a strategic role in the wars among Lucca, Pisa and Firenze.
The Theater of the Rassicurati seems to be hiding in the main street of the village, due to its anonymous facade that cannot be distinguished from the other buildings. The first sources about the theatrical tradition of Montecarlo can be traced back to 1639, but we have to wait until 1702 to gain new information. Indeed, in 1702 the Accademia degli Assicurati, an association of wealthy people, was assembled with the purpose of providing to the city performances represented by local actors. At first the Academy was based in an open space near Porta Nuova and in the unfortunate case of rain they could shelter in the basements. Around 1750, the Academy gained a property and made it a theatre. That theatre, built by a Florentine architect, was a miniature reproduction of the features of the Italian theatre.
The renown Italian poet Giuseppe Ungaretti fought to defend it from destruction and even the famous Giacomo Puccini visited it with his sister after 1871. In 1992 the Academy disbanded, and they gifted the property to the municipality. Despite having fallen in disuse for many years, the theatre was never destroyed by the inhabitants and in the period between 1968 and 1973 it was renovated. It has 150 seats in the orchestra and two orders of box seats, and last but not least it is completely made of wood. Nowadays, the Theatre of the Rassicurati is operational with a regular season that goes from October to May, and it can be visited thanks to the Office of touristic information.
Miniature city, miniature theatre and miniature DOC wine.
Montecarlo boasts an ancient tradition in the field of viticulture and it is the smallest area in the whole Tuscany that produces wine of controlled origin. In this little jewel-town, history and wine intermingle… just think about the etymology of its name: “Vivinaia” that means “through the road of wine”, a road that ran through the entire hill of Montecarlo. This shows the important role that vineyards play for this area and indeed this particular kind of wine has always been important and precious.
The first document that witnesses the presence of wine in Montecarlo
can be traced back to 846, but the wine that we all nowadays know was firstly produced in 1800, thanks to the winemaker Giulio Magnani who went to France to do some research. A journey that literally bore fruit and led to the production of Montecarlo Bianco, a wine in which Italian and French vineyards intermingle, an exclusive characteristic of Montecarlo DOC. On august 13 1969 the President of the Republic issued a decree that conferred to the Montecarlo Bianco the recognition of controlled origin. Lately, on October 1 1985 its metaphorical brother Montecarlo Rosso also became a DOC!
In a Tuscany ruled by red wine,
Montecarlo raises a white glass.
A perfect place to enjoy the taste of wine
surrounded by incredible Tuscan landscapes.