Some places stay with you.
Casale Marittimo, as I’ve said before, is my favourite hilltop village. It’s is a mini-labyrinth, left and right, up and down. It’s infrequently visited by people, easy to find parking there and is impeccably arranged and clean.
I had just visited a week earlier with our previous guests, but as Niamh hadn’t been that time (she had to work) and my brother had never been at all we thought we’d give it a bash. We would also attempt to eat a proper lunch there for the first time! We’d been foiled time and again in our attempts to eat eating there, so we were overdue some luck.
We parked in our usual spot at lunchtime, and then survived the 4 minute walk into the village. Incidentally, the approach from the east (which is almost always the way we approach the place), offers the least interesting views. From the west, you will see some fleeting glimpses of the villages upper strata towering over you. If you can, approach from the south, where you get to see the place in all its glory, where you can see it all crowning its hilltop.
On the way to the central square, we stopped to take snaps, in particular at an old chapel I hadn’t seen before.
Ok, now where to eat? I’d fancied the look of the Taverna via di Mezzo, but it was once again closed. There was a place open (Osteria L’Impronta). There are a couple of tables sitting outside on a small covered veranda. I had heard that there might be a small amount of seating within. The tables were full, so I didn’t hold out much hope. It turns out I was very wrong!
We were welcomed to lunch, then went up two short flights of stairs, past one dining room, then another higher up, which had a nice view out onto the main piazza. Then we were led up *again* and were shown to a table on a covered terrace with wonderful vistas over the hills and woods to the east and south of the village. The food was good, not award-winning, but honest and homemade. I enjoyed it. The surprise of the place itself may have added to the whole package. The staff were friendly, and yeah, I’d recommend it if you’re in Casale Marittimo of a lunchtime!
We had dessert there in the form of gelato after the meal – they serve some homemade flavours on the ground floor by the small bar. Then we had a wander around the town. I took Niamh and my brother on more or less the same route as I took our previous guests.
At one stage, we popped out at the southern entrance and had a long look over the coastal plains, noting the huge ferris wheel just south of Marina di Cecina. Google says it’s permanently closed, which is a shame if that’s the case.
We took a bunch of staircases and ramps to the upper section, passing through the main square again. I wanted to take the other two to the leather goods artisan. On the way, we spotted the car we often spot here and gave him a rub hello. Sadly the leather workshop was closed. After taking in a few more viewpoints, we went back to the car. We were pretty roasted by then, and so drove home.
We made a video! It’s a nice gentle post-lunch walk.
That evening, we went to La Mangiatoia for beer and pizza. I’d never had a Calzone before in my life, so after seeing several others have it here before I thought I’d give it a bash.
And I’ve been put off them for life. Not that it tasted bad. I could be churlish and say I liked the dough, and it *was* nice, but sadly there was little else to enjoy. There was just a smear of filling and I was crushed. Pity – the pizzas here are usually really nice, as evidenced by how much Niamh and my brother enjoyed theirs. I consoled myself with a house beer, which was lovely!
At the end of the night, it was home for screenwatching and bed!
I know this was shortish, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Please feel free to leave a comment or question!