Tag: seaside

Why are people so quiet about you, Follonica? (28/05/2022)

Why are people so quiet about you, Follonica? (28/05/2022)

Back in October of last year, we took an inland route to get to Castiglione della Pescaia. On the way back to Volterra, we drove part of the way hom by the sea. Cresting over the top of a hill, we got a dynamite view of Follonica – it looked so lovely from above, and so we promised to return some day. We drove through some of its suburban areas to get to the E80 and home.

It only took us about 7 months to return! Anyway, we went by the quickest route (the aforementioned E80 from Cecina), and I think it only took us about 75 minutes to get there. I thought I had selected a nice free parking spot. It was free for sure, but sadly when walking out of the urban area, Google led us astray a little and took us too far south. I thought we’d have a 5 minute walk. It turned out to be 15-20 minutes. However, it turned out to be something of a happy accident, as we discovered the free beaches south of the main part of the city.

As we were fully dressed and had no beach gear with us, I can’t say what the water was like, but the sand was nice and golden! So, we continued farther north back towards town. There were houses right on the beach, between which we got more glimpses of free beaches. There seems to be an enormous stretch of such strands immediately south of Follonica’s main promenade – a tip for those of you who are tired of the Lido-life and don’t mind lugging your own gear. One thing negative to note is that you would have a bit of a walk to get to any beachside amenities.

Something that it puzzling to me is that I heard Tuscans extolling the virtues of Castiglioncello, Rosignano Solvay, Marina di Pisa (the south part anyway), the Gulf of Baratti, Marina di Cecina – but nobody ever mentioned Follonica. Does it have a bad reputation? Do they just want to keep it secret? I don’t know either way – comment if you do know, though! Maybe Italians just prefer beaches with all the gear ready for use.

Another thing we found, which we wouldn’t have had we paid for parking in the centre, is that Follonica has a Centro Storico (old town)! It’s far from medieval, but is maybe a couple of centuries old. There only seem to be a few blocks in it – so it’s small.

Soon after, we followed the road over and snaked around to the left to get our first view of the main promenade, before which lay yet another free stretch of beach.

There was a ton of free space on this beach, even though it was a Saturday and quite warm. We might come here next time we have a hankering for some sea. We then hit the beginning of the proper part of the promendade and went a little deeper into town, a little past one of the apartment buildings that towers over the rest of the city, and past that pierside building you can see in the distance above.

It was by now the middle of lunchtime, and we were starving. We took the opportunity of being in a bigger town and headed to an Asian restaurant, in our ongoing quest to find somewhere that serves decent stir-fries. We didn’t quite find it. We went here, and found a pleasantly familiar menu, with a few cantonese favourites – it was typically extensive. Like many Chinese restaurants in Italy, they do fried rice and steamed dumplings very well, but it all falls apart in the stir fries. The meat is cheap, the sauces seemingly flavoured with soy or salt – apart from the curries, which are barely passable. I don’t know why this is! It’s annoying and baffling! The veggies were nice and crunchy at least.

We didn’t want to eat too much as we knew we had a dinner date later that evening. The portion sizes are actually quite small, so that was good.

When done, we headed out to burn some additional calories along much of the promenade.

We stopped after about 500m, and it seemed to go on for at least another 5-700m. It was getting warm, so we stopped at a lively gelateria – Sogni Golosi (greedy dreams). On the way there, we passed by a tented area – the town was getting ready to party! I can’t remember the flavours I selected at the gelateria, but I do remember being hugely impressed. Definitely worth a go if you’re in town.

We wandered inland a bit in a rough direction back towards the our parking spot, and I once again was impressed by the centre’s pedestrian areas, packed full of eateries, shops and bars. It was quiet that day, but I can imagine it getting very busy in high-season.

We enjoyed a nice (if lengthy – thanks, Eoin!) walk back to the car, and took the same road home.

Below you can find a very short and shaky video of footage of our day out.

Needless to say, we chilled after we came back, and then we went out for our last meal of this stay in Volterra. Where better than Del Duca? We skipped aperitivi (our lunch was big enough!), and got treated like minor royalty as always! The food was pretty damn good too! I will really miss that place when it closes.

And that was that! We few home the next day and life began as normal on the Monday.

The good news, though? We came back in mid-August to mid-September… met new friends, experienced the Medieval Festival and Red Night again and enjoyed weather than was hot, but thankfully not appressively so. More to follow over the coming months!

Please let me know if you enjoyed this, or if you had any queries about travelling in Tuscany – especially west-central Tuscany. I’d love to hear from you!

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.