Sunday, September 14, 2014

A month in Tuscany day 8 - A road trip

We are now heading in to our second week in the villa and it is feeling like home now.  Day at dawned beautiful and sunny and a hot air balloon was drifting low over us.

Currently there are only 6 of us here all family and we decided to go visit a couple of other small towns in the area. So after breakfast we drove south from Siena through the countryside, which changed quite dramatically a few miles into the trip.

There were far fewer trees, or any vegetation for that matter. Most of the land was newly overturned earth, punctuated by the dark spikes of cypress trees, lining the lanes and driveways to peoples properties.  By the many bales of hay that we saw we assumed that hay had been growing here and it was newly harvested. Looking North we could still see Siena.

The first town that we came to was Asciano. A banner hanging over the entrance to walls declared that 2014 was there 1,300 anniversary, apparently they became a town in the 714.  It made Port Moody's 100 anniversary in 2013 seem a little lame, though we all have to start somewhere.

This was a small town with little or no tourists, the only ones that we saw, were arriving by bike! We walked through the city wall and came upon a small square with a shady spot that was calling us for a coffee.

So we all had some coffee and couple had a pastry, then wandered around the narrow streets for about half an hour. There was a beautiful simple Romanesque church which my Father would appreciate just by the entrance.

We then drove on to a much larger more touristic town about 30 km away called Montalcino, we first glimpsed it as we were driving towards it, and it did look spectacular perched high up on a hill.

Parking was a little more of a problem here as this was definitely a tourist destination. We did find a place to park with a bit of a walk, which was fine on the way down, but quite a hike on the way up.  By this time it was just past 1:00 and lunch was next on the agenda.  We found another nice shaded table and ordered lunch.  Nicholas and I had the ubiquitous Tuscan sausage and beans.  I fear that both my sons and myself are addicted to these sausages.

Bri and Dave had the local pici with ragu.

Mark had the assorted cured meats and cheeses from the region.

I swapped him some tastes of his for one of my sausages.  Sufficiently satiated we commenced exploring.  very quickly we bought some essentials, such as a beautiful little plate and some balsamic crema, then I wandered into a little bakery.  I have never smelt a bakery as good as this. The smell of butter and sugar mixed with the perfume of almonds, vanilla and dried fruits was intoxicating.  Nicholas had to leave it was so overwhelming.  I had to buy something and bought 5 little almond cookies, I should have bought a hundred they were amazing.  

We walked around the narrow streets marveling at the views.

The streets away from the entrance were quite deserted, but the ones nearer to where we came in were quite crowded.

Just as we were about to leave we stumbled upon a market which appeared to be part of a honey festival.  There was lots of honey for sale, so of course we had to buy some, we picked up a large jar of "fiori di bosc" which I think translates to wild flowers.

There was also cheese for sale, that many samples were being given of, so of course we had to buy some of that as well.

We bought a small round soft cheese that was half goat and half cow.

After this back to the car and ably navigated by Nicholas we were back at the villa in time for Bri to make dinner.

Whilst he was doing this I managed to get a decent picture of a stand of trees in the distance that has been obsessing me.

This will have to form the basis of a picture when I get back.

Bri's lasagna was ready just before sun set, and we enjoyed it up on the deck.

We watched the sun set over the tower in the Campo before retiring to the kitchen for games of quiddler and hearts.

We enjoyed our last night of relative quiet, for tomorrow 3 more couples arrive!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us - PG