October 12, 2011

Volterra And The Tuscan Countryside

Just like that we were back on the train being whisked away as we headed south to Pisa. Trying to make the most of our time we lugged our gear to the leaning tower for the quintessential "prop-up" photo opportunity. Unfortunately this blog is not about quintessential photos, so you'll have to use your imagination.

Hertz was our next destination as we bravely took a seat behind the wheel on the roads of Italy. With the lack of signs, narrow roads, hairpin turns and lead-foot drivers, driving in Italy is like a video game. Except you only get one quarter. But we knew exactly where were going. At least for the first 10 minutes. Then we were lost. Eventually we righted ourselves and made our way to Agriturismo Santa Vittoria, situated just north of the small town of Volterra.

The quiet streets of Volterra were vastly different than the towns we had experienced so far. During the afternoon we explored small shops and laughed with the locals as we shared their wine and cheese. When we arrived back at the Agriturismo (a rustic farm with guest lodging) to watch the sunset, we discovered we were all alone and that the workers did not spend the night there. As night fell, we enjoyed the peacefulness of the country with the occasional crow-sized bat flying overhead. Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration... but seriously not by much.

October 3, 2011

Cinque Terre: Vernazza

Two plane rides, a taxi, three trains and then a short walk landed us in Vernazza. Smack dab in the heart of the Cinque Terre on the north west coast of Italy. Between the hiking trail with spectacular views that led to each of "The Five Lands," to a dip in the sea, this was the perfect place to begin our adventure. These hillside villages are cramped against the shore and are amazing places with fantastic food and wonderful people. It was great to finally visit this place after passing by it 10 years ago.