In the coming weeks, the Grape Encounters’ “ON THE AIR” light will shine brightly inside one of the Abruzzo Region of Italy’s most significant historical properties; a site that was very nearly lost to several centuries of deterioration and natural disasters. While the restoration of the magnificent Sorricchio Palace of Atri is mostly complete, on any given day, you will find at least one room filled with scaffolding… and if you look very carefully, you might catch a glimpse of a fit and agile woman lying on her back 20 feet or so above, meticulously restoring frescoes on the ceiling and walls that have nearly lost all definition to hundreds of years of neglect.
Apart from her distinctive locks of radiant red curls, she easily blends into her workspace. Her once-white coveralls are now their own unique canvas of random splotches of paint that mimic the protective tarps that are draped throughout the room. This extraordinary artist is Marianna Di Vittorio. While her talent as a fine-art painter is exceptional, perhaps even more inspiring is how effortlessly she reincarnates frescoes that were sentenced to death long ago. On weekdays, Marianna works as quietly as a mouse while concentrating on her daunting task. On weekends, that silence is balanced by the joyful noise she makes while wearing a choir robe in lieu of painters’ pants.
But the story gets even better because Marianna is also a wine expert who regularly appears at wine-centric events wearing the revered uniform of a certified Sommelier, complete with the distinguished purple sash that identifies her as a source of extensive wine wisdom. Frankly, it would be hard to find anyone more deeply devoted to sharing their knowledge of both ancient wine and art so enthusiastically.
While Marianna seems to know everything imaginable about art and wine, her mastery of English leaves something to be desired! Of course, that’s understandable. In her region of Italy, English is not widely spoken. In fact, there are many villages where you would need help finding a single person who speaks the language. But we weren’t about to let a language barrier stop us from sharing this remarkable woman’s incomparable talent. Accordingly, we called upon one of the area’s finest translators, Marta. No last name, just Marta. And Marta just happens to work for Vinum Hadrianum, so her close relationship with Marianna added a great deal of additional sparkle to this already delightful Grape Encounter! Of course, hearing is believing, so sit back and immerse yourself in this engaging conversation with magnificent Marianna!
This edition of Grape Encounters has been brought to you by Total Wine & More. Absolutely nobody makes excellent wines, spirits, and beer from around the globe more accessible and affordable than Total Wine & More. Whether you’re an expert, a sommelier in training, or just a wine-loving consumer that could do without all the jargon, Total Wine & More speaks your language. Find what you love. Love what you find at Total Wine & More, or visit Total Wine.com. And please, be 21!
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