Saturday, December 18, 2010


Saturday 4th December:
Today we left 'La Parrina' and headed back to Rome.

We stopped for lunch in the tiny walled village of Capalbio. In the 20 minutes that we spent looking for the restaurant Porgs had recommended, we managed to circle the town at least 3 times....

We dined here at the 'Trattoria Toscana' (below), just inside the city walls....
They served the kids pasta and us a hearty 'aqua cotta' and lots of roasted meats (la grillia mista) and we all left feeling happy and full.

Another significant stop on the way back to Rome was the Decathlon store in Fumicino.....we need one of these at home.
We stopped there at 5.30pm to pick up a few things for the snow and left at 8pm with snow boots for everyone, jackets, taboggans.....everything we need, all at rock bottom prices and now I think we're ready to head north.
When we finally arrived at the apartment, we found dear Porgs and Janie there with wine and cheese to greet us, having scrubbed the place clean of the significant mess and builder's dust accumulated in our absence.
(They'd removed the ceiling of the kitchen whilst we were gone).
Things were vastly improved in that there were now windows and light fittings installed...still no gas however :(

porto ecole

We spent the next few days hanging out with Porgs, Janie and children between La Parrina and Gianella.
We had a fantastic lunch at 'La Parrina' one day: a simple fusilli al sugo. All their own ingredients with a hint of chilli.....fantastic.

On another sunny afternoon, we visited pretty Porto Ecole.

We climbed up and up through the old town right to the top of the old city walls (see below)  to see the view....

A summer tourist destination, it was pretty much deserted at this time of the year. We wandered down to the port and around the boats, skipped stones on the beach and stopped for a drink in a bar once it had got dark. Cas managed to leave behind his new scarf...

 We looked for the local colony of cats (see sign above) and found some!

Another lovely day....

Santo Stefano

On Wednesday, December 1st,  Porgs and Janie plus children finally made it down to the coast and their beach house in Gianella. After meeting there for an excited reunion, we drove to Santo Stefano to see if we could find something for lunch.....

.....such a beautiful sunny day after all the rain, and such a pretty port town.We grabbed some pizza a taglia at the local pasticceria and then took off for a scenic drive....

then home to play on the gianella beach til dark.....

and George got to work in Milena's kitchen.... Milena's apron.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Tuesday 30 November.
Today we went to a magical place.

The thermal river springs at Saturnia...
The hot river cascades at this location forming shallow pools perfect for bathing in and we quickly got used to the sulphur smell..... FUN!

What is so incredible about it is the complete lack of infrastructure. A free public place that is always open and accessible, night and day. It is easy to imagine that it might have been like this for the last few hundred years with people coming to bathe just as we were doing....on this day there were only 4-5 other people there.

The pools seemed to be carved out of a soft, spongy rock, with soft pebbles at the bottom.
We sat in the open air under the waterfalls or resting in the pools looking out over the fields

It was a cold day which made it particularly hard to get out of the water, but finally after 2 hours, happy and invigorated, we piled back into the car and drove to Pitigliano 20km away for a hot chocolate and a walk through the streets.

We bought wild boar salami at this amazing delicatessan that seemed to specialise in only that....

Excuse the pic of a postcard's such a beautiful town, but we didn't stay long as it quickly became dark and started raining and I couldn't get a shot...Home happy and tired.......A magical day.


After much pleading from the children, we went back again on Wedneday 1st December when Janie and Porgie finally arrived.

This time we had the place all to ourselves :)

...and had even better hot chocolates afterwards in nearby Manciano at a cafe that specialised in different Lindt flavours!

 Janie and Annick with her white chocolate

 and Eve with hers...note display cabinet behind! The Italians love their soft toys....

 and Chiara with her 'classico'....

...and managed to get a parking ticket that are a lot more reasonable than ours but still annoying....
Not even that put a damper on another perfect day.

We love Saturnia.....definitely up there with Disneyland..

la parrina

From Volterra we drove south to Albinia, just off the west coast near Orbatello where my sister's Italian family have a beachhouse. Mum has arrived in the country and the idea was that my sister would bring her out to the country so that we could all hang out together.....they got held up in town so we had a few days here on our own.
We stayed at 'La Parrina' an working organic farm with its own market, restaurant, animal farm, vineyard and olive groves. We especially liked their apples.

The children loved all the animals and gave them all names. Above are Annick and 'Licka-lick'.
The following are Eve's photographs:


 Scruffy and Fluffy
'The Fighters'
'The Followers'