Lately, I’ve received a few letters asking about my research on the setting for my new book THESE TANGLED VINES. I mentioned in the author’s note that I made a research trip to Tuscany for a week of winery tours with our good friends Natalie and Darrell. (Have I mentioned I love my job? :)). We met up in Florence to sightsee for a few days before we took a train to Montepulciano, where we stayed in an “agriturismo” which is a combination of the Italian words agricoltura (agriculture) and turismo (tourism). An agriturismo is a working farm that also receives guests. Here’s the website for Azienda Agraria Nobile, our home base for the week. I highly recommend it if you ever plan to visit Tuscany. Our hosts were wonderful and provided fabulous shuttle service to and from Montepulciano and delicious breakfasts every day.
The location was positively dreamy, at the base of the hilltop town of Montepulciano where I chose to set the novel. We arrived at night when it was dark and foggy, and we couldn’t see much of anything, but when we woke the next morning and opened the windows, we were stunned and awestruck by the view of Montepulciano, high up on the hill just above us. I gave that same experience to Fiona in the novel.
Here is a picture of me in front of our guest suite, which was the inspiration for the guest suite where Lillian stays with her husband Freddie while spending the summer in Italy. Those stone steps are the ones she climbs with Anton after their delicious dinners at the villa. If you visit the Azienda Agraria Nobile website, you’ll also see a picture of the swimming pool where I set a few scenes in the book.
As for Maurizio Wines (the fictional winery in the novel), it was based on a compilation of a few different wineries we visited. Below are some pictures from our wine tours, but first… our first few days in Florence.