Tag: peccioli

All is Quiet in Peccioli

All is Quiet in Peccioli

Our guest wanted to assist us with getting some sort of environmental solution in, other than having to rely on fans. Niamh looked up mobile air-conditioning units in Comet, and then we went off to their branch in Pontedera to see what we could get. I’d previously remembered it as a bit of a dull drive, but as we went along this time, I found it quite pleasant. The second half of it is rather flat, but there are still hillside villages dotted about to go ‘oooh’ and ‘ahhh’ at.

We got there, and found they only had units which needed to be fixed to the wall, and were very expensive. No sign of any of the products on the website. I asked one of the store’s assistants, and she confirmed that they no longer had any of that stock. In addition, she said that there was no other large domestic electrical retailer around, unless we wanted to see if the CoOp had anything. It wasn’t a wasted journey, though, as Niamh grabbed a pasta-hanger, an egg brush and a fancy food processor.

Driving to the CoOp took all of a minute as it’s not too far at all from the Comet.  Unfortunately, they didn’t have anything there either, but we did get some plums and felt padding for our chair in the sitting room.  No more groaning as we pull it into position!  I also took this photo, which proves I am 47, going on 8.


On the way back, we decided to stop off at Peccioli.  We’d driven by the old town a couple of dozen times now, and never visited it.  The bell-tower in the distance always intrigued us, as it looked almost Moorish from a distance.  We were also hungry enough to have a two-course lunch, and were on the hunt for a good, sit-down restaurant.

Peccioli was, unfortunately, as shut as it was pretty.  There were a couple of bars open and I did see an enoteca, but it was advertising pizza and cold platters, so we didn’t bother going in.  I suspect it was called Il Grano E L’Uva, and if so, going by the TripAdvisor page, it looks like we might have missed out!  The town probably doesn’t get a lot of tourist traffic, and is probably busier from June through August.  I know it had a Moon festival sometime in July.  So we left hungry, but still impressed with this nice little village.

We high-tailed it home to Volterra, parked in a pay-spot just outside our gate (residents get two free hours parking in pay-spots), and went to Il Pozzo degli Etruschi for food.  Strangely, they didn’t have wild boar sauce to go with the pappardelle our guest wanted (they had dove sauce, which I ordered!), nor did they have the boar cutlets Niamh wanted.  She opted instead for a Chianina beef sauce (yummy) and our guest went for spag-bol.  Niamh also got grilled veggies, while I went for steamed.  We all seemed quite happy after the meal.


I must have been exhaling in that photo! 😦

Our guest and I grabbed the shopping from the car and carried it back up to the apartment.  Niamh took the car to our residents car park, but unfortunately our luck had finally run out – she had to wait 10 minutes or so for someone to pull-out so she could park.  Meanwhile, I was happy watching telly. 

We stayed in for the rest of the day – we were all a little bushed.  Our guest and I did go out at around 19:45 for sandwiches from La Sosta del Priore.  When I say ‘sandwiches’, I also include burgers in that definition.  As always, they were delicious.  

We sat back and watched a couple of episodes of Conan Without Borders on Netflix and hit the sack.

Our walk this morning took us down to the stairs at Docciola, and up past view looking down at the hospital/asylum area – then up to the prison gate and past the entrances to the park (which was closed, unfortunately).  We spent a couple more minutes at the panoramic viewpoint taking snaps before heading to the pasticceria.  If ‘C’ can be short for ‘Cream’, then my breakfast this morning consisted of plenty of vitamin C! 

No travel plans today.  Niamh is going to have a crack at making pasta, and I will make a ragu to go with it (hopefully lamb).  We also have to see about getting a frame for that art I bought, seeing if the other picture we were getting framed is ready, and hanging up as much as we can!

There will also be no blog tomorrow, as we have to go to Pisa to drop my brother off at the airport for his flight home.  Another guest that will be missed!


Hot deals, but not hot wheels

Yesterday, we drove a little outside Navacchio, to a complex of malls and stores and had a look at some furniture.

Although our rental is brand new, there’s something that rattles in it ferociously if you’re in too high a gear.  Couple that with the fact that it has all the power of an asthmatic sloth, and you have an object into which I am currently pouring much of my malice.  It gets us from A to B, and the aircon works a treat, so I suppose I should be thankful for small mercies.

We passed Peccioli on the way.  One of these days we’ll actually rock up there and explore it!  Here it is, looking very pretty by a field of sunflowers.


We were reminded how much hotter it gets several hunderd meters closer to sea-level when we got out of the car.  I think it peaked around 34 celsius.  

In Casa, we bought some bins and sun loungers, all of which we took with us and stowed in the car, and then in Mondo Convenienza we got ourselves a lovely, accessorised wardrobe and a couple of side tables, and a cabinet for the TV.  All-in-all, these weren’t too expensive and looked really nice, so it was a win/win.  The mall was great to look at and spotlessly clean.

We will have to wait until August 26th for the delivery unfortunately.  We were brought over to a desk to finalise the order (the wardrobes are modular, and can be completely designed from the inside out), and were introduced once again to peculiar Italian bureaucracy.  In order to buy furniture, we had to provide:

  1. A codice fiscale (the Italian social security number)
  2. A passport (after checking with her manager, she accepted Niamh’s passport number)
  3. An Italian phone number.  We don’t have one, so we had to give them the number of our Estate Agents, who also look after our house while we’re back in Ireland

Finally, at the cash desk itself, Niamh had to provide 8 digital signatures to accept and pay for the order and delivery.  Seems bonkers to those not living in Italy, but I guess it prevents money laundering and other nefarious activities.  However, I wonder if one of the reasons that Italian economic growth is so low is because their process and bureaucracy acts as a deterrant to commerce.  Anyway, I digress.  

After Niamh bought a nice top for herself, we did this for lunch in the mall, and I’m not one bit apologetic about it:


We went back home, the car struggling up the hills closer to Volterra.  It was still 28 degrees there, and we dragged the two sun-loungers and bins through town and up to our apartment.  We were a bit wrecked by the time we got there.  Hopefully, the loungers will get some use by us and the few guests we’re having over our stay.  Here they are on the upper terrace:


Niamh cooked again in the evening, but it was a light meal, given that we’d pigged-out earlier on.


The string beans here are so tasty and the fish was very tender and flakey.

We chilled for a while, and then I went out for a quick stroll about town.

The Irish Bar had no free tables, which was great to see.  A pair of seated gents were playing jazzy tunes on electric guitars outside another restaurant, while over-excited kids screamed and wheeled about in front of them.  I have to admit to having a little bit of ice-cream from L’isola Del Gusto on the way!  The lady behind the counter recognised me, and welcomed me back… it’s the small things in life that often make an impression.

For this morning’s walk, I took a route past the prison, on one side of a small valley, the other side of which houses both the modern-day hospital, and the closed mental hospital.  The road leads down to Porta e Fonti di Docciola, where the largest free car park for Volterra can be found (get there very early if you want a spot for a daytime visit, or if staying overnight you should be able to find parking spots after 20:00).

The font here was built in the mid-1200’s, and was an important source for water for both living, and for commerce back in medieval times.  Today, it houses both fish and pigeons!

I took the 200 steps back up to town, which gave me a decent workout.

Despite the pasta, pizza, and the occasional cakes and gelato, my belly seems to be slowly reducing, so yay!  A lot of that is down to portion control and exercise, but also to the fact that crisps and sweets simply aren’t as prevalent in the stores here, and we seem to have way less inclination to buy them as a result.

Today, we have to let our Estate Agents know that we are expecting an order for furniture, and to renew some sort of security dongle at the bank.  Other than that, it’s chillout time – we’ll proably eat out today, and I have to commit a few hundred more words of my novel to electronic paper! 

Thanks for reading this.  If you have any (polite) comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them below.