Thursday, August 12, 2010

A New Job

I recently sent my resume to one of the popular bike tour companies in Florence, and was hired to lead their Chianti Tours. I’m already noticing that everyone knows everyone in this business and I am beginning to know them too. As an independent tour guide, I can work for any or all of them, it just takes careful booking. After spending 5 days training on the course of their Chianti Tour, I will take the helm on Monday.

The tour I will be leading for I Bike Italy follows a specific course which takes us along sprawling vineyards, olive groves, cypress trees and medieval hilltop towns surrounded by an undulating Tuscan landscape. Our destination in San Casciano, is Fattoria Le Corti , a prominent producer of 3 Sangiovese wines, 2 of which are Chianti Classico. The fattoria also produces olive oil, using modern milling equipment.

After cycling through bucolic Tuscan backroads with our guests, we arrive at the fattoria to tour the cantina and orciaia (wine and olive cellars) to learn the techniques of their wine and olive oil production, aging, storing and bottling. In addition to guiding the cycling part, I am studying and learning how to conduct the wine and olive oil tours. It is a great opportunity for me to learn more about 2 products that are basic to Tuscany’s culture, economy and everyday conversation.

We then enjoy a Tuscan lunch at the cantina, accompanied by a wine and olive oil tasting. After refueling, we get back on the bikes and head back to the start point while enjoying exciting panoramas of Florence in the distance.

I am lucky to be doing work that allows me to bring people together, make them marvel, and to be a part of the memory of their vacation in Florence, by engaging them in my greatest passions, cycling and the Italian culture. In comparison to the many years I worked on Wall Street, this is such a delicious contrast. I loved both jobs but in a different ways.
Cycling under the Tuscan sun, vineyards, wine, olive oil....great company...everyone smiling and marveling. It doesn't get better than this.

Today was my father’s birthday. He would have been 82 years old. As I rode through the magical Tuscan landscape, I thought of him and wondered what he would have thought of my destiny in Italy. A chill went through me as I felt him smiling down on me.