We had absolutely nothing pre-planned for today. After doing a bit of laundry and hanging everything on the line – like they do here in Italy – we decided to head for the sea. Lunch today would be Fruti di Mare (fruit of the sea aka seafood), pesce (fish), or whatever! We were headed to the sea!
Kind of like taking a dart and throwing it at a map, we started driving to Cecina, almost directly west of our location. Goodbye Volterra – hope we make it back before dark.
The trip down the hill from Volterra was a little scary – no it was a LOT scary! Many of the hairpin turns were blanketed in red and white bunkers (see below) I guess for safety. Or, well, maybe they did a little Italian house cleaning and there are bodies inside the bags. Ricardo said it was hay. He’s so practical. Maybe it’s just the Italian in me, but I still say they had the shape of dead bodies.
This picture doesn’t show how tight these turns are – this went on for about 12 miles. I had a death grip on the dash board, my seat, and closed my eyes most of the way down and back up when we returned. Richardo did a great job of driving despite my heavy breathing, sighs, winces, and stiffened body parts as we squeezed by large buses and trucks going at breakneck speeds.
Once we were down the hill, it was a beautiful drive to Cecina. The Tuscan countryside spread out before us with cypress trees lining many villa driveways, and farmers in the distance tending their fields. We passed through several little towns that were a blink in time. And before we knew it (in less than an hour), we were in Cecina.
There is not a lot of information that I could find about this sea village. Here a snippet from Wikipedia:
“…There are remains of a Roman villa from the 1st century BC… The modern town was founded in 1852, but a part of the city was destroyed during World War II. From the 1960s onwards, it has developed into a popular tourist resort.”
Our drive into town was picturesque. Trees canopied the streets entering the village and beach villas lined the drive.
And we also toured some unscenic streets like the back of the local hospital parking lot. Don’t ask, I’m sure you can guess how we ended up driving through it.
We walked out on a little jetty. The sea breeze caught my hair and made it look as though I was trying to recreate the 80’s big hairdo. I really wasn’t, however, the higher the humidity, the bigger the hair gets, so you may see more of this “curl gone wild.”
The beach was very rocky. That didn’t stop the Italians from sunbathing. They would put a towel right on the rock and lay down. It was quite a sight to see – everyone in speedos or bikinis – yes, even those people who should NOT have been wearing them. Further down the beach, there was some coarse sand.
We started at one end of the boardwalk, asked a local where the best seafood was being served and ended up walking to the opposite end. The local told us about the family who owned Il Gabbiano – they fished every morning for what would be served in the restaurant. Okay! It was a delightful stroll catching a little sea breeze that cooled us down from walking in the warm sun.
Il Gabbiano was worth the walk. Besides, what else did we have to do today besides finding a new place to eat? Ricardo ordered grilled Calamari and I ordered a seafood skewer with prawns. I forgot that when you order prawns here, they give you the whole fish.
Ricardo’s grilled calamari.
My seafood skewer. Oh so good.
We made it back to Volterra before the predicted rain and got our laundry off the line. No rain ever appeared.
The old man and his garden.I had to share that every day an older man appears in the garden (below our apartment) and tends to it meticulously for hours. He trims, stakes up new growth, picks vegetables, waters, and plants new vegetables. Even though it is hard work and he is bent over a lot, he seems to enjoy his time there. He reminds me of my grandfather from Bari who just loved being in his groves of avocado and orange trees and the gardens. Ahh the Italian life.
The day is done and I’m ordering wine! Thanks for the socks Sandy!