Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Volterra, Italy

Instead of going to Venice and Pisa, we had a day trip to Volterra instead.


I didnt get to take that many pictures because we went on a highway from Florence in a very bumpy van and I was taking care of Izani. If you just click on the underlined title above, you'd get to see how beautiful this town is.

On our way there we passed through quaint farmhouses with paths lined with cypress trees (just like in Gladiator!), sunflower fields, vineyards and huge fields that looked like they've just been harvested because some of them had rolls of hay scattered on them.

The road up to Volterra is not unlike the road up to Cameron or Genting Highlands, except that there were not much trees, and because of the vast fields, you could see the beautiful view of the Tuscan hills as fas as the eyes can see.

The huge sunflowers, a famous symbol of Tuscany

Our van driver, Emanuella, brought us wives and kids to Volterra town while the husbands took care of business. We arrived Volterra around 10:30am, after a one and a half hour's drive from Florence. We were then told that we could walk around till 12:30pm, when we'd have to go back to meet our husbands for lunch. I asked Emanuella whether she would walk around with us, and she was friendly and obliged.

Volterra is a very hilly and old town. The part of town we walked was like a huge fort or castle or soemthing coz it was surrounded by a huge old-brick wall. There were many many shops and my friend who checked out some stores said clothes were cheaper in Volterra compared to Florence. We also checked out some stores selling alabaster carvings - busts, vases, boxes, eggs, hearts.. stuff of all shapes and sizes made of alabaster. Since the trip was unexpected, I didnt really read up on Volterra prior to going there, so I did not find out till later that their specialty was alabaster carvings, and therefore these items are much much cheaper there than anywhere else! oh well...

The kids in volterra town

I didnt buy anything in Volterra, but Ilham bought a marionette of pinocchio for EUR2.50, which he treasured and brought everywhere during our trip. We wasted what felt like hours eating gelatos at one of the shops, because by the time the kids finished their 'small cup' (which was 2huge scoops of ice cream!), we saw that it was already 12pm and it was time to head back to meet the men.

We had lunch at one of the restaurants further downhill from Volterra, where we had the most delicious fried calamari (almost comparable to Restoran Muhibbah, TTDI). Around the restaurant were apricot trees, something neither me nor the kids have ever seen before.

We left Volterra for Florence around 3pm.

Biarlah orang kata aku gila berhenti tepi jalan ambik gambar dengan anggur...

I really liked Volterra. It's peaceful and quiet, with not much traffic (except for a few cars filled with tourist). The town seems very laidback, and from the number of people who greeted Emanuella by name, I had the impression that they have a very close-knit community.

Hm... I wouldn't mind moving here at all. The next time I come here, I'll make sure we spend more time in volterra, just driving around. I also heard that there are quite a few Poderos (farms) that offer Agrotourismo (Farmstays) around Volterra, so it is definitely something I would consider taking up in the future!

tee hee!

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