Tag: monteriggioni

#100! Siena, Monteriggioni and A Golden Hour Walk (06/08/2021)

#100! Siena, Monteriggioni and A Golden Hour Walk (06/08/2021)

My 100th blog!

Niamh’s sister had never been in Siena before, so after we’d been up a couple of hours, we drove to our usual go-to carpark: Parcheggio San Francesco. We got there handily enough, and queued for maybe 2 minutes before we were let in. Once there, it’s a 500 meter walk (if that) to the long series of escalators that will take you up to Piazza San Francesco, without you having to wreck yourself by climbing up hundreds of steps!

I took a few shots on the way to the Campo.

We wound our way through some streets so we could show Niamh’s sister the glory of Piazza del Campo!

We didn’t hang around long, as we were hungry by then, and left the piazza immeditately in search of a good place that locals favoured. Unfortunately, I didn’t take photos of the food, nor of any of the surroundings, but after a little research on Google Maps, I think the place we settled on was Osteria degli Svitati. We were sitting outside on a bit of a slope and the menu was hand-written – so I think it was this place. We had unpretentious pastas at good prices, and they were good!

Afterwards, we had a stroll around the shops, and bought a table-runner and bread-basket thingy in one of the craft-stores dotted around the town. The lady who owned the place had a really cute little doggy who ruled the roost! Then we visited the Duomo. It’s both beautiful and impressive, and it could have been a beast, if the Senese had not succumed to the plague. Parts of the once-planned transept are now a gigantic carpark.

Due to Covid queues, and a hot day, we decided to cut short the visit and head instead towards Monteriggioni. On the way, we stopped off at Ke Cassata, a place with Sicilian owners who make arancine (filled, deep-fried rice balls) and cannoli. I got to chat with the owner, and was able to flex my Italian a little, which was cool.

We got to Monteriggioni, and managed to get into one of the free carparking slots that had just been vacated.

It was sweltering by then, so our first stop was at the gelateria, and then on for another stroll around some of the craft and jewellery stores. I insisted on going into the branch of the Pratesi shoe store there. I grabbed myself a pair of nice salmon slip-ons, that I left over in Volterra – one less thing to pack for my return! Yay me!

We had a quick peep inside the church here, but didn’t go into any of the museums. It’s a cute place, but small. We’d visited before, and then we’d paid to climb onto the walls, but not this time.

Then back to Volterra, where I did the necessary after such a long, hot and thirsty day!

We had a lighter meal of the arancine we bought in Siena (delicious and filling!), cold cuts and yummy pecorino aged in rosemary! So good with truffle-infused honey!

The ladies were hot and exhausted after a long day out, but I still had cortisol (and beer, gelato and granita) to burn off, so I decided to go out an capture Volterra during the evening golden hour. I do this so rarely, so I really enjoyed the experience. Here, unsurprisingly, are some photos!

And that was our day. To telly-watch, then bed!

I captured a little of the day on video:

I hope you enjoyed the read and the media… leave me a comment to let me know what you think, or if you plan on visiting Volterra soon!

Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d’Elsa

Monteriggioni and Colle di Val d’Elsa

Warning: this post is photo-heavy!

With my stomach all better, we decided to head to a town we’d been meaning to travel to for a long time: Monteriggioni.  It’s a fully-walled medieval village, and is only about a 45 minute drive from where we are.  We drove off and stopped off at the ‘O’ for the usual photos!

We got there, and parked handily enough – just a bit of an uphill walk into the town.  And gorgeous it is!  It’s certainly a bit of a tourist trap, but if you’re ever in the Siena area, it’s a must-visit.  There are a few spots at the wall you can climb to and take snaps over.  It costs €4 per person, but you can climb up to any of the spots around the wall for that fee.  The whole village is tiny – you could walk it briskly in about a minute from gate to gate.  But, as the saying goes, it’s small but perfectly formed.

After some gelato (naturally), there was a bit of impromptu shopping at Pratesi, where Niamh bought herself some nice boots.  I was looking at a cool pair of shoes, but they didn’t have them in my size – and don’t seem to be available in their online store either.  It was suggested that we go to their main outlet store in Ambra to try.  It’s a bit of a drive, but we might give it a go one day.

I also bought a fabulous ink drawing (from this dude), which I’ll frame and position.  I won’t show it ’til it’s in its rightful place!  The artist either paints in oils on wood, or draws using everyday ball-point pens.  When he heard that we had an apartment in Volterra (and so shipping wasn’t an issue), he said that he was due in Volterra to sell out by the viewpoint, but for some organisational reason couldn’t go at the last minute.  Some things happen for a reason, I guess!

Before we left, we had lunch in Ristorante Il Pozzo.  We all went for a pasta course, but were rewarded with a gorgeous mini-carpaccio amuse bouche to begin with.  The winner was our guest, who had the pappardelle with wild boar sauce.

Instead of going directly home, we stopped off for an hour in the old part of Colle di Val d’Elsa.  When we first visited Volterra, this town had completely escaped my notice, so when we decided to visit Siena early on, our jaws dropped when we rounded a bend and saw this long, town, atop a narrow ridge – but surprises like this are frequent in Tuscany.  We drove through Badia A Passignano quite by chance, when we were on our way to the Chianti region, back in December.  Anyway, I digress – we walked up and down the narrow town, stopping in the Cathedral and it’s crypt underneath.  In a way, the town mirrored the crypt, in that it was almost completely devoid of people!

Then back home for some deserved R&R!  Later that evening we spoiled ourselves further by going out for pizza and beer, but found ourselves completely unable to do anything else after, except watch a bit of telly before bed!

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This morning, our guest and I got up to do a walk around the walls, albeit a bit of an abbreviated one.  We left by Porta Fiorentina (the gate nearest us), and then walked anti-clockwise until we hit Porta a Selci (by the prison).  A good distance of the way through that 3+km, we saw Niamh jogging on the other side of the road and gave her a wave.

Today, we might go to Pontadera, to see if they have any mobile air-cooling units.  There is a certain irony in that, as the temperature has dipped somewhat today, and may only peak at 24 celsius.  We had to close the door to the terrace due to the temperature, for the first time today!  Anyway, the unit will definitely come in handy.  I just hope it’s not too expensive or to heavy to haul up those stairs!

I’ll let you know how we get on in the next one!