Tag: marina di cecina

The Beach and a Farewell

The Beach and a Farewell

I skipped my walk on Tuesday, so we could head to the beach as early as possible. We didn’t end up leaving too early – sleep had to be caught up on, but thankfully we left early to avoid parking woes.

I know some locals scoff a little at Marina di Cecina, but it’s our nearest beach, has the blue wobbly stuff, and has a promenade right next to it with a goodly amount of amenities. The pebbly sand is dark-grey and a little harsh on the feet, but there are showers and small fountains to wash your feet when you’re done. There are other, whiter beaches around in Rosignano Solvay, Castligioncello and north of Populonia – but we’re not as familiar with these areas, and Niamh and our guest just wanted a quick dip.

I’m not a beach person. I did wear less than I normally would, but I sat back in our rented spot (€25 per day for a parasol, a bed and two chairs, and a key you use to operate the shower on the shoreline), and listened to some tunes, while the ladies paddled about in the water.

We stayed about 2-2.5 hours, and handed the key back.  Apparently, they looked really puzzled when told that we were leaving – they generally expect people to stay all-day.  Personally, I don’t know how folks do that.  I like the sun, but generally I have to be doing something in it, rather than just lying there, toasting.

Coming back from Cecina, you can get some really nice approach shots of Volterra along the way.  I’ve posted some below:

We once again got one of the last spots in the car park and headed to Osteria la Pace, and each had one of their killer bowls of pici with wild boar sauce and black olives.


They hand-make it, and it’s nice and thick.  As it doesn’t contain any eggs, it’s actually a little bready.  The bowl looked smallish, but we were pretty full by the end of it… but not full enough that we couldn’t share one of their amazing Tirimasú!

With full bellies, and roasted bodies, we went back to the apartment to siesta a while, not venturing out again until it was about 20:00.  We were still a little full, and so only managed to have some nice bruschette in Volaterra (mine were hot, with suasage and cheese and were lovely with oil and black pepper added).  It was their own oil, from their farm in Molino d’Era, and was fab.  We took a shot of it, and will be back for some when our current stock has run out.  The last time I tried a Volterran oil I found it a little too herbacious for my liking; almost grassy – but this was tasty!

We went to bed after a small walk around the town, as we had to get up early the next day.

We said goodbye to our guest the next morning, after dropping her off at the airport.  We will miss her – it was fun having her about the place!  We realised, though, that with a guest, we were running short of vessels and utensils in the kitchen, and so a trip to Ikea was in order.  Fortunately, it is right next door to the airport!  Unfortunately, we were there an hour before it opened, and so had to walk about to kill time.  There is a McDonald’s there, which we narrowly avoided!

Two blue Ikea bags were filled, and we also had a box of tableware on the side.  Wondering what we were going to have for dinner, we stopped off in Capannoli on the way back to grab some veggies and other items.  There is a discount/remaindered stock store beside it – and we grabbed a few household items from there too – nice and cheap. 

When we got home, we realised we had enough to carry in the heat, without lugging any of the Ikea stuff, and so dropped the groceries back at the apartment and went to Osteria dei Poeti for soup and pasta.  They gave us a lovely little amuse-bouche to start!

It was getting warm, and I was a little tired, so we spent the afternoon indoors, either sleeping or screen-watching.  Later on, Niamh defrosted the marinated chicken we had left, and rustled up some veggies and rice to go with it.  It was yum!  Fortunately, the Conad in Capannoli had ground ginger (Niamh doesn’t like solid, root ginger) and soy sauce!  We ate it outside and watched the lowering sun kissing the sides of the cumulus on the north-western horizon.


With darkness approaching and the temperature suitably lowering, I made for the car and brought the two full Ikea bags back to the apartment.  I was wringing wet by the time I got home – that was a lot of extra weight to haul.

I took a couple of moody evening shots on the way.


Congratulating myself, I set up our Sky Go server to have a device code, and so unlocked Sky Cinema for us – now we have a huge choice of films!  Yay!  This is a good thing, because the weather for the next few days seems particularly sticky and wet:


I watched Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, and I thought it innovative and enjoyable – give it a go if you like superhero movies and/or animation.

After a good sleep, I got up and did my walk again.  This time, I took a circuitous route to our carpark, so I could pick up the tableware and bring that back to the apartment.  Cue the sweaty mess again… this time, as the weight was higher and less-distributed, leading to the handles of the bag I brought constantly cutting into my skin.  Fun times!

No plans today due to the weather warnings, so I will at last get back to some writing!

See you again soon.

San Gimignano by Night

San Gimignano by Night

Heya all – just a quick update today, as rumour has it we’re off to the beach this morning.

Yesterday, after the breakfast chill, our guest went out to complete her exploring, while Niamh and I did a little shopping for water and milk, got a copy of keys cut for guests and ordered a frame for the artwork we bought a couple of days ago.

Once done, we all met up in Piazza dei Priori for a bit of lunch at Ristorante Etruria. We ate at a leisurely pace, and decided upon whether we’d hang around for a coffee and/or dessert. Instead, we went to L’Incontro for gelato!

Above is eggplant parmagiana (which I tasted – it was amazing), ravioli in with a pork ragú and taglioni with truffle.  All good stuff.  The waiter there recognised us, and he’s a good guy – we got a little glass of spumante each to begin the meal.

The most exciting thing we did between us that afternoon was to buy a keyring for the newly copied keys.  Yep – we vegetated.  

We headed out to San Gimignano at around 18:30.  This town is arguably the nicest-looking small town in Tuscany.  The old centre has been a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It is essentially a medieval movie set.  But would I live there?  Hell, no!  Firstly, I couldn’t affort to – property prices for apartments similar to our own were double that of Volterra.  Secondly, you spend 8 months of the year rubbing arses with tourists when you head out.  This might seem hypocritical as a blow-in, but hey-ho.  And lastly… well, this might seem mean, but pretty is as pretty does – I think Volterra has far more culture and history to it – plenty of inspiration for stories.  

We got there in about 40 minutes – we were stuck behind a slow driver for some of the way, but then spent another 15-20 minutes looking for a parking spot.  We found one at the other side of town and squeezed our way in. The place was busy, even passing my expectations.  It was also hot, at around 27 celsius – about 5 degrees warmer than Volterra.

We had a passable meal in La Griglia (the risotto was weird, the steak was good – no photos, as I completely forgot) – the restaurant has lovely views out into the Tuscan Countryside.

Then we headed out to the ‘business’ end of San Gimignano.  Make no mistake, it is shockingly beautiful, and absolutely worth a visit.  Go on an organised tour, though, or if privately, then go extremely early or after 20:30!  Note all the towers.  There are 13 or 14 of them, but they used to number in the low 70’s.  This is why San Gimignano is often called the Manhattan of Tuscany – it looks impressive from a distance.

We headed home – Google Maps taking us on an alternative route, which would have had some pretty impressive views had we been able to see!

I had no walk this morning, and so showered early in order to free up the bathroom for the others, so we can make an early start to Marina di Cecina.  I know it’s not the locals’ favourite beach here, but it has sand (albeit dark grey, due to iron content), the blue-green wobbly stuff, and a handy promenade just kissing the sand itself.

I might blog late tomorrow, or not at all, as we have to get up at sparrow-fart to drop our guest off at the airport.  We’ve enjoyed having her here, and are sorry to see her go.