So where were we in Italy? Oh, yeah, still at the villa... Our week there passed all too quickly. We kind of fell into a routine that developed around the weather. The mornings seemed to be sunny and warm, but most afternoons the clouds would roll in for a while and sometimes it would rain. It usually cleared by evening, though, so we were able to sit out on the loggia and talk the night away. Hence, we usually ended up spending the mornings at the villa, having a leisurely breakfast and then a quick dip in the pool followed by some sunbathing. Tough life, eh.
Usually, we'd have lunch and maybe a shower before taking off in the cars to investigate some of the hill towns in the vicinity. We went into nearby Certaldo quite often - to pick up some groceries or hit a banking machine. The town was easy enough to get into, but we had a devil of a time finding our way out! There were a couple of one way streets that seemed to throw us everytime!
We also went to San Gimignano and Volterra, both tony little towns. In San Gimigano, I bought a beautiful ceramic mug and a few bottles of wine, including a couple of bottles of a great Brunello and a Vin Santo. We downed one of the bottles of the Brunello on our last evening at the villa and I brought one home with me. Maybe we'll drink it at Christmas or New Years. It was also in San Gimignano that Don had a raspberry/rosemary gelato, that I am still kicking myself for not having tried. It was one of the best, according to Don.
The day we were in Volterra was also Mary's birthday so I picked up a couple of alabaster candle holders as a present. (Volterra is famous for its alabaster.) I think Mary was wondering why no one has wished her a happy birthday the whole day, but we saved up our wishes for after dinner, having bought a Sacher tort at the Coop in Poggi Bonsi for dessert (we ate out at a nearby restaurant that evening called Da Vilma). It was a great meal, except for the fact that Shaun got his main about 15 to 20 minutes after everyone else. I waited for about 10 minutes, and then said 'the heck with it,' and dug in. Both Brad and I had Baccalà that night, which is a salt cod dish served in a tasty tomato and garlic sauce. It was really delicious. Surprising, Brad had very few problems with his stomach in Italy - I think we'll have to move there...
Here are some more pics:
The pool by night
The view from our room (Merchant/Ivory eat your heart out!)
Looking out from our room
Lunchtime in Volterra
Surely Michelangelo looked something like this
We climbed a LOT of stairs in Italy, including these in Volterra
Shaun holding up a 2000-year-old Etruscan gate
The fortress in Volterra
Don enjoying the pool (Hey, this belongs in Skinny Saturday!)
For some reason, Mary and Shaun found it very hard to unwind at the villa...