Today was a combination of a recommendation from my sister Kay, a recommendation from our host Keith, and a tourist “must-see”. We travelled to Volterra on Kay’s suggestion, to Colle di Val d’Elsa on Keith’s recommendation and to San Gimignano cause the tourist books say to go there.
Parking was at a premium when we arrived in Volterra, about an hour and a half drive from Montegonzi. However we did manage to find a spot near the ruins of the old Roman amphitheatre (unfortunately not in the free parking lot) and it was off to explore Volterra. The old buildings really are quite something to see as you wander the streets. Lots of archways, little alleys, shops and restaurants provide an ever-changing view. Alabaster carving is a big industry here and there are lots of shops displaying the artwork – some of it very delicate. We enjoyed a half hour interlude sitting at a table in the Piazza dei Priori sipping espresso. Before leaving town we popped into a little bakery to pick up a couple of cookies to tide us over until lunch.
The next stop was Colle di Val d’Elsa where we had planned to have lunch. By the time we arrived the restaurant that we were aiming for had closed for the afternoon but we managed to find another one still serving.
The appetizers of bruschetta and fettunta were quite wonderful as was the pici for the main course. After a great lunch we wandered the town admiring the buildings and views over the valley. A couple of blocks from the restaurant was a piazza with, can you imagine, a gelato shop. Our desert was enjoyed sitting on the park bench under the trees in the piazza. The main street of Val d’Elsa seemed to go forever. After passing through a large archway Susan found a pottery shop where she purchased a couple of espresso cups.
The final stop in the day, late in the afternoon, was San Gimignano.
The towers look very impressive as you are approaching town but as you wander the street you can only see one or two at a time. Susan managed to continue her shopping by purchasing a purse in one of the many leather shops. As the crowds of tourists disappeared we found a restaurant in Piazza delle Derbe just off of Piazza del Duomo where we enjoyed a late-afternoon glass of Vernaccia de San Gimignano.
After an enjoyable bout of sitting and sipping we gradually made our way back to the car for the drive home. We arrived back at the barn at about 9 pm after a very long day with a fair amount of driving.