I swear there is no difference between Roberto Benigni and this man Francesco from Ravagni, a boutique olive orchard. Located in Anghiari, a small Tuscan town which the family linage have owned and run since 1421.
So Roberto , oops I mean Francesco is a card. If you can imagine this skinny guy, totally animated , bouncing around with shoulder length frizzy hair in his face explaining the process of making olive oil. His English is not great but he figures a few Italian words thrown in will be fine for the tourists. If not, his acting of the olive pressing process has us in stitches. I mean he is acting out the machine motion with machine sounds. Although, there are no machines as all is done by hand hence the speciality of his oil.
Anyway, it was so interesting and we listen with enthusiasm even though this small area in which the amazing process happens is like a shed. Sticking hot, not that clean as its out of season for pressing olives and a little claustrophobic.
Francesco is now conscious of his poor English and moves us along inviting us to his parents house where his Mamma and Zia have prepared lunch for us and invites us to tasting of his oil olive. " Den youla see how gooda my olive oil tastes a"
All of us load onto the bus as its a short trip up the estate hill, and yes Francesco hops onto his Vespa, leg to the side bearly hanging on whilst calling his Mamma on his mobile to get the pasta on because the tourists are coming. It's hilarious and the bus roars into laughter.
At the top of the hill, their estate is a scene from the Godfather. A beautiful Tuscan villa with shutters, a long table is set under the huge tree with a place for each of us to sit. Plates , glasses , vino and most importantly the samples of Francescos great creations. The 2 family dogs greet us to acknowledge our arrival and share they are new mums nursing their 10 puppies between them. Leonardo the ginger cat is louging in the sun on the warm stone driveway - his not getting up , his a cat , his superior!
Francesco's mamma and Zia bring out the fresh cut bread and the olive oil tasting starts. Again, his passion shines through and his off again in a animated description of what the olive oil will taste like and how it's so special.
Lunch was a traditional Tuscan meal. Delightful and we rolled out of that estate full as an egg. The olive oil? Wait and you will see..........