I Decided to give Franciacorte a try. It was lovely driving through the vineyards, and although I am one of the lucky ones of this world and have never been hungry, the feeling of comfort and happiness when you see well-tended fields must be an atavic pleasure…. Parking was a bit of a problem, but by scraping the walls of a building……. I took the wrong road first and reached a blocked gate just in time to hear a rousing rendition of Fratelli d’Italia by a local brass band. The first thing I really noticed which I had never seen before was the cheese and salame “da passeggio”, which you nibble while you’re walking, just as if it were an ice cream. Then the first wine tasting – delicious. Interesting conversation too. But of course conversation is always better ….lubricated. I must try it in my lessons next year! I walked round admiring the good exhibits, especially the enormous space occupied by the guy from Lucca, hydrangeas , clematis and roses galore. Through the villa gardens and more wine tasting: this time a rosé which was more orange than rosé and too strong for my liking. Summer rosés should have a similar alcoholic content to a cup of tea, after all that’s what you’re substituting. I sat next to a secret garden in the cool shade wondering how long it would take for the alcohol to wear off! The Villa was decorated with incredible paper flowers, you really had to touch them to be convinced they were not real! there was a mini exhibition of bonsai from a private source, they were incredibly beautiful. After a final walk round (I bought some red flowered strawberries and some mad carnations. (Mad because they have straggly petals and look as if they need a hairdresser) And when it was time to drive home I got a volunteer youngster to accompamy me to my car with a wheelbarrow, Yet another opportunity to chat.