Saint Gilibert's Well
In the year 515, St. Gilibert passed through Monsigliolo on a pilgrimage to Rome. The local road was renamed Viale Vannucio Faralli. Just after the village of Monsigliolo, there is a plaque that records this event. According to tradition, he wanted to thank the peasant farmers of Monsigliolo for their hospitality, so he stopped at a well, right outside the town, and changed the water drawn from the well into wine.
He continued on his pilgrimage.
1500 years later, I travel this same road on the way to my home on a farm in Lombriciano. One day, I left a bottle of water at this site to see if it too would turn into wine. I was hoping for a Cabernet Franc, perhaps from the Leuta Winery in Cortona.
Sadly, after two days, nothing happened. I realized that I was neither a saint nor on a pilgrimage. In fact, the only pilgrimage I've done on this road is to the outlet mall in Valdichiana.
Dead Man's Gate
One of my favorite restaurants in Cortona is Trattoria Dardano. Across the street from this restaurant is Palazzo Mancini located at Via Dardano, 15. To the left of their doorway is an example of a "Dead Man's Gate". This doorway had only one function, to allow coffins to exit through. The door was then quickly shut so the dead had no chance of re-entering the home. The Etruscans believed that death exited with the dead man and could only come back through the same doorway.
There is another "Dead Man's Gate' in Cortona at Via Roma, 25, though this doorway is bricked over leaving no chance of the dead to get in. Thank god for the people currently living there.
Now if they could only come up with a similar solution for the dreaded Tuscan mosquitoes.
As you can see, the doorway for the coffin was very narrow. Coffins today could never fit through this passage, making me think that our coffins are unnecessarily big or the Etruscans were just much slimmer.
I'll be thinking of that next time I'm at Dardano eating a generous portion of Pappardelle al Cinghiale.