Warning: this post is photo-heavy!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was not in a position to be able to write anything yesterday, so I’m back with a bang today.  As well as being cooped up in the apartment for the weekend, we just needed to clear our heads and get out for a while.  Niamh suggested going to La Rosa to check out a cheap department store there.  Turns out it’s closed on Mondays (new opening hours), and so we sat thumb-twiddling looking for things to do next.  

We decided to go travelling!

Terriciola was not too far from La Rosa, and we’d driven past it before on the way to Lari.  Parking was handy enough, and was only about 100m away from the older part of town.  It’s a nice looking place, but given that this is September, and it’s not a major tourist destination, it was as quiet as a mouse.  We found only two food places open – an antipasto and wine store, and a bread baker (panificio).

Once we were finished there, we caught the bug and scoured Google Maps for other places to go.  I spotted Castelalfi, but dropped it in favour of Castelfiorentino.  I happened to note, though, that the route suggested took us through Castelalfi anyway, and we stopped there too.

What I was not prepared for was what Castelalfi was.  I knew it looked to be only a couple of streets, but the carpark was three-quarters full, and the town began with a couple of hotels.

It turns out that Castelalfi is a manufactured resort village.  It may well have been converted from a previously existing town, but most of the buildings are apartments for holidaymakers.  There were a few shops and a couple of eateries (only one of which was open yesterday).  Don’t get me wrong, it was a gorgeous, pristine (not one speck of trash found) place, surrounded by lush countryside, and a wonderful view onto a golf course.  But it just lacked a little character as a result – it isn’t a ‘lived-in’ place.  Oh, if you like swanning by the pool or golfing, then I probably couldn’t recommend a better venue, though!  It is lovely, but what the hell do you do if you have no transport and are stuck in Castelalfi?!  Admire the views, I suppose…

They have a restaurant at the top of the area that looks pretty amazing – but it would want to be for the prices!  Anyway, it was closed.  All-in-all, we saw a sum total of about 9 people in Castelalfi, half of whom were booted and suited for a conference in one of the hotels.

We ended up skipping Castelfiorentino in the end, and instead backtracked to a small hilltop village called Montefoscoli.  It is almost the diametric opposite of Castelalfi.  It is very much a lived-in town, which I suspect gets very little in the way of tourist traffic.  Regardless, it had lovely, if occasionally shabby, clustered buildings and a higgledy-piggledy layout that reminded me of the back end of Amalfi town, or Atrani.  It was their market day, and four stalls were decked out with simple goods.  Niamh and I stopped to grab some sweeties, as we hadn’t had lunch, and were a little on the hungry side.

Down one road, a table was laid out, with half-empty bottles of water, which suggested we missed a mini street-party.  There were also some fab views to be seen from here.  A lovely, gentle place.

Google took us down another back road we hadn’t been on before to get home.  I love it when this happens, and in this case, we saw some amazing scenery, which, it turns out, is only about 20 minutes drive from Volterra!  The pics don’t really do it justice – it’s a case of visiting the place, really.

We chilled for a while at home, before heading out to a place we’d only been to once before: La Vecchia Lira.  The owner is sound, and very enthusiastic.  We both had pasta primi – Niamh had amazing ravioli, while my pici with Chianini beef ragu was pretty good.  For meats, Niamh had sliced steak, with a side of grilled veggies, and I had a really well put-together plate of pork medallions with a vin santo jelly, vin santo sauce, almonds and raspberry pulp, served with perfectly seasoned spinach.  We liked the food enough to each have a tirimasu afterwards!

We went straight home again after that (we eat quite late in Italy, and were finished around 21:15 there).

This morning, I got up slightly earlier and went on a walk.  It was great to clear the cobwebs, but I finished off with the 200 steps at La Docciola, which damn near killed me!

No plans today – except maybe to ask our property manager to phone the furniture place to drag a date for delivery of our stuff out of them.  The service from them (the furniture people, not the property managers) has been a little incompetent.  Hopefully, we get the stuff before more guests arrive on Thursday!

Ciao for now!

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