Imagine that the world is ending. Where would you be? Would you be where you are now or in a place that sings beauty and bleeds culture? Perhaps you’d rather spend your final days surrounded by the ones that love you just as equally as you love them.
Lawrence DiVittorio is a freelance interior designer who is ready and able to venture to any destination his heart desires. Lawrence had visited places such as the Greek Islands and Paris, but neither compared to the land where his family comes from, Italy.
Before the pandemic, Lawrence visited his roots at least four times a year. He admitted that he preferred being a solo traveler and claimed it gave him a better taste of Italian culture. He could force himself to learn the language by speaking with locals, whom he noted seemed appreciative of his efforts. Lawrence called the culture inspiring and said, “To get the sense of the country, you need to absorb the culture.”
Five or six years ago, Lawrence became motivated to push himself and became fascinated by the culture. Lawrence started studying Italian culture, learning about Italy and the land’s wine and culture.
Following the pandemic, Lawrence visited with his brother Tommy for a ten-day trip that turned into a 3-week trip. Still wanting to lean into the culture, the two stayed at a hotel where few Americans go, called Hotel Paris; it’s also Lawrence’s favorite place to stay.
The pair’s first adventure began with the bus from Florence to Tuscany. From there, they tried as many vineyards as possible, but their favorite vineyard is Lornano, located in Monteriggioni, Tuscany.
Lawrence’s voice escalated to excitement when he started talking about wine. Our conversation focused mainly on a wine that had an aftertaste that lasted for around an hour, the Chianti Classico Gran Selezione. Lawrence noted that the wine comprises 100% Sangiovese grapes only grow in a specially designated area. He even mentioned how the government needs to approve the wine, and when it passes the set tests, it will have an official black rooster label.
When talking about how the wine is processed, we dove deep. He said the amount of grape skin getting put into the barrel for processing dictates how dark and how the coloring will appear. Lawrence also said that what the wine ferments with makes all the difference in how it tastes once the process is done. For Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, his favorite vineyard’s process is single press. They put the grapes into a Steel barrel, then an oak one, and finally, they bottle it to ferment.
Lawrence also recalled an organic vineyard that stood out to him, called Il Molino di Grace in Panzano, Tuscany. He said that all of the grapes from that vineyard get handpicked, adding that the grapes don’t get damaged from the machine and that it contains zero sulfur and preservatives. He recommended single-pressed wine to the masses.
Lawrence also mentioned a vineyard in San Gimignano, Italy: Tenuta Torciano. He said that this specific place has more of a variety of everyday wines. The wine is dryer and sits in an oak barrel for longer than other wines he has tried.
He usually matches his lone glass of wine with a milder cheese; however, the vegetarian admitted that the wine would also be good with meat.
As the wine lesson came to a close, Lawrence was asked what stood out most about his experience in Italy. “I fell in love with Italy about thirteen years ago. I felt at home and connected with the culture immediately. I like the person I am when I’m there. I stop and smell the roses; everything is real, thoughtful, perfect, and meaningful,” He said.