Tag: panini

Medieval Festival – Day 2

Medieval Festival – Day 2

Warning! This post is media-heavy!

We got up, breakfasted (I skipped my walk), showered and headed out to the Festival. We bought the tickets, got our wristbands and waltzed through security. Or at least I did – the ladies had to have their bags checked.

The Palazzo dei Priori was our first port of call, to play dress-up and rent a costume for the day. It was one of those weird occasions where you don’t think you’d need an official piece of identification, but we did – at least our guest had her driving license with her, which she had to leave with them as collateral. I got a monk’s robe, and Niamh was a woman-of-modest-means, and our guest was a chaste peasant! I may post pics another day, but you can see us down below, having a bit of fun with the mixologist from Antica Velathri Café.

We mooched around the main area – pretty much skipping the performance by the sbandieratori, as we’d seen them a lot the previous night. Once done, we all had a killer sausage and onion sambo to stave off the hunger.

Then it was off to the park to watch the falconry exhibit again.  No movies this time – you can check out Day 1 again.  Niamh tried using the crossbow, and came very close to hitting the targets (the targets were tiny – apple sized – nobody was hitting them), and afterwards, both the ladies tried archery.  Niamh was worryingly good at this.  I’d better watch my back!  Again, photos may be forthcoming later.

It was getting really warm – even though the monk’s habit was curiously insulating, and so some refreshment was in order.  We left the park by the other gate, and headed to Antica Velathri Café, where we became celebs for about 3 minutes.  The guy there is really sound, and is happy to help me practice my Italian.  He took photos of us to put on his social media sites, and a couple of other onlookers joined-in and took pics of their own!

Of course we had a little booze – iced mulled-wine and Moretti.  The mulled wine was yum.

We were roasting by then, and went back to the apartment to chill.  But not only to chill, as we had an All-Ireland hurling final to watch!  Tipperary, against the odds, pretty much trounced Kilkenny, which made Niamh and her family very happy indeed.

We headed out again for another wander about town, but this time we brought our costumes back. We only thought briefly of wearing them again, but we knew we were going out to eat, and if it was too warm out, if would have been too much of a trial.

We were early to our restaurant, and it wasn’t yet opened. Cursing our luck, we joyfully skipped to Quo Vadis for a swift pint to while away the time! Once sufficiently pinted, we strolled to Ombra Della Sera Pizzeria and yummied down pizzas, and a small, shared plate of fries.

About halfway through our pies, our guest and I swapped pizzas and carried on guzzling, and kept up the calorie count by creeping around to L’Isola del Gusto for a naughty cone.

Unfortunately, I think we missed the skill-at-arms competition, and maybe even an archery competition somewhere… ah well… it just means we’ll have to come back next year 😉 

The market at night is cool. The stalls are nicely lit up, and different sets of jesters and performers patrol the streets. We didn’t stay for the full closing ceremony, but hung around the main square to catch a closing act.

Both ladies bought really cool masks made of leather – Niamh’s one is now on display in the apartment.

The sbandieratori closed off the whole show (we know this, because we heard them from our balcony, whilst gulping down wine).

Below are some photos and videos of the nighttime fun.

This morning, I wasn’t feeling too bad, and so both I and our guest went around by Porta San Felice, Porta San Francesco, past the Roman ruins, down to the Docciola carpark and took the arduous stairs back up to town.  A shortish route, but with some challenge, especially at the end.

While our guest is out being a tourist, we have to get some shopping in, keys cut, and we might see about framing that artwork we bought.

This evening, we’ll attempt to go (and park!) to San Gimignano.  The jewel in the hilltown crown.  Pretty is, as pretty does, mind you – I still think Volterra has more to offer!

August Strikes Again

August Strikes Again

We took things a little handier after yesterday‘s hectic day. When we were done hanging around the apartment, doing a little writing etc., we took ourselves downstairs and outside. We had to buy a pliers to tidy up a wire, currently suspending the net curtain over the door to our terrace. We grabbed one handily enough in the hardware store on Via dei Sarti, and had another little wander around some of the artsier stores on Via Porta all’Arco.

As we had a mind to eat out tonight, we decided, for the first time ever since we’ve been here, to grab a sandwich out of one of the few streetfood stores near us.  We chose La Sosta del Priore, just around the corner from the entrance to our apartment building.  It gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor, as do a couple of the other streetfood vendors in the area.

We both had variations on a porchetta (roast pork) sandwich.  They assemble it in front of you, and chop up the pork on a flat griddle.  I had sundried tomatoes, porchetta, pecorino with a little fig jam.  It was sensational, and we’ll be trying these streetfood sandwiches again soon.  They fill you right up, too!

IMG_3973

I should have taken a photo side-on, as this shot doesn’t do it justice.

Niamh found a single-seater chair she wanted to buy for our living room, in a place in the industrial zone of Colle di Val d’Elsa, a town about 35 minutes drive away.  As it was after 13:00, we had to wait ’til closer to 16:00 before heading out.  Colle di Val d’Elsa also has a lovely medieval town, and a nice centre to its modern area, but we didn’t visit those today – some other time!

Anyhoo, we got there, and noticed that the carpark was suspiciously empty.  Niamh had checked the opening times online, but the message on the window nonetheless stated that they were shut from August 4th until the 27th.  Wonderful.  Back we went, but on the way home, I took some snaps of the countryside as we were driving.

Upon arriving back in Volterra, we decided not to blow our time at the apartment until it was time to eat, but did this instead:

IMG_3996

A manly drink for a manly man, in the prime of his manly manhood.  I considered it one of my 5 a day, as it had pulped peach in it.  We got these in Antica Velathri Café (Velathri is what the Etruscans called Volterra back in the day).  There is a fabulous mixologist there, and he’s very friendly to boot.  They also have little bready canapés you can eat, if you like.

After we’d had a couple there, we went to Il Pozzo degli Etruschi for dinner.  Niamh ordered one course with a contorno (side dish) of grilled veg, and I two.  This is the second time we’ve done this, and neither restaurant has gotten the timing right, despite confirming it with us.  So I had my second dish while Niamh had to look on and wait.  We won’t make the same mistake again.

Anyway, she had roast cutlets of wild boar, and she said it was the most delicious meat-dish she’s had here.  I had a taste and had to agree – it was pretty sensational.  I had Zuppa alla Volterrana (veggies!), and after pici with lamb sauce.  The soup was ok – not as good as in a couple of other places I’ve had it, but the pici dish was great!  

As we both had very full bellies, we went home.

There was supposed to be hella rain this morning, so I had conditioned myself to not going out for a walk.  In addition, they were spraying for mosquitoes in the green areas around Volterra, and I didn’t want to be around that.  I tried to sleep in.  I really did, but there it must have been the commercial glass bin collection day today… and they must have set up a central collection point right underneath our bedroom window.  The sound of glass bottles crashing together can become unnerving after 30 straight minutes of it.  Still… it must be done to keep the town tidy.

Long story short: fat, lazy Eoin didn’t go out for a walk today.  Will do so tomorrow!

Ciao!