Monthly Archives: January 2014

Massa Labrense, Italy ~ Exploring The Marina

We decided to explore the Massa Lubrense marina community, so got on our walking shoes and headed down the hill. Lucia wanted to check out the “beach” area and relax and swim a bit, and we wanted to see the boats and restaurants.

Massa sign, Wally & Lucia

Massa, Lucia and Wally on walled pathThere are many pretty niches along the paths and roads…

Massa niche, half round planter

Massa niche painting blue bkground

Massa niche in rock wall on trailThe view from our trail above the marina towards Mt. Vesuvius in the background. Sorrento is around the corner of that penisula jutting out in the middle.

Massa marina, town and hill

Massa Wally, Marina and Massa bkgroundThe church in the marina community is lovely…

Massa marina church top, olives, water view

Massa marina church, bldgs, Bay of Naples

Massa marina village church top

Massa, Jamie and Lucia going down stepsAngelo’s Bar is perched by the marina with a nice view towards the Isle of Capri. They have indoor and outdoor dining.

Massa marina Angelos view & tablesAngelo’s from below

Massa marina Angelos from belowI’m not sure what these traps are used to capture…

Massa marina traps and rock wallI loved the colorful old-fashioned wooden boats bobbing in the marina.

Massa marina boat lineup

Massa marina all boats view

Massa marina boats 3:4 view blue sky

Massa marina boat clsup

Massa marina new boatsWe walked along the shore – here is their protected swimming area…

Massa swimming jettyBig black lava rocks provide erosion control

Massa marina lava rocksThis was Lucia’s beach destination. She likes to relax by the water and take a swim.

Massa beach and boat

The beach is made up of smooth pebbles

Massa beach rocks

Massa Lucia on rocky beachAnd amongst the pebbles were lots of bits of broken tile and sea glass.

Massa tile pieces on beachWe left Lucia to relax a while and went to check out the other restaurant at the marina, Funiculi Funicula for lunch. We were craving more fresh seafood.

Massa Funicula mini boatThey had just opened so we got a table next to the window.

Massa Funicula dining roomWe chose a seafood sampler appetizer to start…

Massa Funicula appetizer samplerWally got a local mixed seafood – prawn and mussels and clams

Massa Funicula seafood platter

Massa Funicular Rest, Wally plate

Massa Funicula Wally happy plateI had a baked entree but I can’t remember what it was, although I do remember it was good.

Massa Funicula starters

Massa marina, jamieAfter meeting back up with Lucia, we walked back through the town of Massa Labrense and had dessert at Bar Di Sarno. I love how the Italians offer sweets and liquor together. One-stop enjoyment for gelato, lemon ice, limoncello and other liquor.

Massa Bar Di Sarno tile shop nameWally had chocolate gelato with a side shot of limoncello

Massa Bar di Sarno Wally gelato & limoncello 1  A non-alcoholic lemon ice slush is refreshingMassa Bar di Sarno lemon ice dessertGelato!

Massa Bar Di Sarno gelatoTime to trek back up the hill to Villa Erca to rest! Next up, our day trip to Positano!

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A Day in Sorrento, Italy

It was a pretty morning, so we decided to venture from Massa Labrense to Sorrento by public bus with Lucia as our leader. We first had to walk from Villa Erca down to Massa where the buses departed for Sorrento, which is over a mile – maybe two, but it’s hard to tell on these curvy, hilly roads.

Erca best from below, closeAs we were going down the main road, (with still a long ways to go), Lucia begins flagging down cars that look like they have enough room for us. “We’ll hitch a ride,” she exclaimed “We do it all the time!” Okay…. When in Italy – I guess! So a youngish fellow stops for us and we all climb in and they chatter away in Italian. He has apparently lost his pack of cigarettes under his seat and couldn’t drive and dig for them, so has Lucia to hunt for them. Wally and I are looking at each other, shaking our heads in disbelief and laughing. He dropped us off at the bus stop and zoomed off on his way. Grazie!

We were to learn that Lucia will also flag down cars and motorcycles going at high speeds to get directions (she jumps in front of them and waves her arms), and moving buses to get their schedules. Never a dull moment with Lucia!

We got our bus tickets in a cafe next to the Massa tourist center and readied ourselves for our first bus ride on the coast of Amalfi. Holy Cow! I’m sure our eyes were big as saucers as we wound over those curvy narrow hills with buses passing with only inches to spare! Whew – I was glad when we made it to our destination of Sorrento without crashing or going off a cliff!

Sorrento piazzaLucia guided us over towards a hotel with a great view of the Mediterranean.

Sorrento mermaid statue hotel

Sorrento, Jamie and Wally, water behind

Sorrento Wally, Pompeii in backgroundFisherman with Mt. Vesuvius in the background

Sorrento Fisherman silhouetted, Pompeii

Sorrento Wally & Lucia, hotel patioWe went through the hotel’s common areas, appreciating their lovely decor. The highly detailed wood inlay pictures are a local specialty.

Sorrento hotel sitting area, wood inlay pics

Sorrento Lucia on hotel steps

Sorrento marble lion

Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples

Sorrento view to Pompeii

Sorrento view of cliff, sun platformsThese platforms are their version of beaches for summer sunning areas

Sorrento sunning platforms, Pompeii

Sorrento sun platform closeupWalking down to the marina

Sorrento road to boat docks

Sorrento buildings on cliff vert

Sorrento Hotel Il Faro Ristorante Vela Bianca

Sorrento Ristorante Vela Bianca tilesView back up to town perched on the cliffs

Sorrento Excelsior Vittoria hotel on cliff, boatWe took an elevator that cost 1 euro each (it was worth it) back up to the top.

Lucia showed us the lovely San Francesco Cloister courtyard with this graceful weeping willow.

Sorrento Cloister willow

Sorrento Cloister hall vert

Sorrento Cloister courtyard view, tower

Sorrento Cloister arches

Sorrento Lucia in arch

Sorrento Cloister 3 arches

Jamie, Sorrento cloister best

Jamie and Wally, Sorrento CloisterOur next stop was the Il Nostro Limoncello Factory. Yummy! So refreshing and tart. They have lemon ice slushies and limoncello with alcohol and limoncello jellies and a cake-like dessert. We bought some little jellies for gifts and had a slushie.

Sorrento Limoncello store entrance

Sorrento Limoncello girl

Sorrento Limoncello display, jelliesIngredients for their special cakes…

Sorrento Limoncello dessert ingredients

Sorrento Limoncello bottling room

Sorrento Limoncello table, lemonsLimoncello bottles

Sorrento Giardini Di Cataldo Limoncello bottlesWe were passing by A Stinga and ventured inside to see their inlaid works of art.

Sorrento A. Stinga shop exterior

Sorrento A. Stinga room view

Sorrento A. Stinga rolltop desk

Sorrento A. Stinga pictures clsupThe proprietor was putting together this intricate design…

Sorrento A. Stinga owner working

Sorrento A. Stinga paper beginning

This was the box we picked out for our trip souvenir…

Sorrento A. Stinga owner with our boxAnd this fellow was cutting out wood pieces for the designs…

Sorrento A. Stinga older fellow working

Sorrento A. Stinga older fellow smilingI loved the soft water color look of the painted pieces.

Sorrento A. Stinga monks in kitchen

Sorrento A. Stinga cloister and boat Sorrento A. Stinga checkerboard tablesSomething for everyone!

Sorrento A. Stinga boxes & smalls

Sorrento A. Stinga wall displayWe turned into the historic shopping district and this neat nautical window drew me inside. It was a soap shop.

Sorrento soap window displayThey had handmade little ceramic or pottery octopus and other figures that were charming and came with a bag of lemon soaps.

Sorrento Soap, octopusI got some lemon soaps for gifts. Some looked just like a real lemon.

Sorrento Jamie in soap shop

Sorrento ceramics shop, street

Sorrento belts & bags

Sorrento bell towerRed coral comes from the area and I was boggled by all the beautiful jewelry. Literally boggled – I couldn’t make up my mind what to get as there were so many choices, so I didn’t get any. Cameos are also a local claim to fame.

Sorrento coral necklaces

Sorrento coral and cameos

Sorrento clothing boutique, whites

Sorrento fish wall fountainTime for a lunch break!

We chose several fresh seafood plates at Ristorante Da Gigino and they were delicious.

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino ext

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino outside menu

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino octopus, potato appetizer

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino Jamie & plate

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino seafood dish

Sorrento Ristorante Da Gigino pasta plateNow time to walk it off again with more shopping. I love the bold Italian silk ties..

Sorrento Italian silk tiesAnd the breezy, summery attire

Sorrento ladies sleeveless blouses, shopLove their summer linen fashions!

Sorrento Linen clothing boutique display

Sorrento mens linen shirts, scarves

Pretty church along the way

Sorrento church and sky vertHandmade Italian sandals

Sorrento flip flop wall display

Sorrento arched door and sandals

Sorrento produce shop display

Sorrento pinocchio figure shopGorgeous Venetian glass chandelier

Sorrento pink chandelier

Sorrento church & palm

Sorrento Wally and good eats signThis was one of my favorite shops in Sorrento – very creative pottery and painted ceramic wares…

Sorrento Terrerosse sign

Sorrento Terrerosse sign & cups

Sorrento Terrerosse shop head

Sorrento Terrerosse platesVariety of sauces and spices and pastas and more…

Sorrento spices and sauces

Sorrento spice shop, LuciaAn antiques shop…

Sorrento antique chest, shop

Sorrento cactus and palmLucia loved this ancient tree

An pretty horse and carriage…

Sorrento horse & carriageAs we were going to the bus stop to catch a ride back to Massa, we looked over the railing to see an ancient ruin below. You just never know what you’ll see in Italy!

Sorrento Roman building in ravineThis old Fiat brought back lots of memories for Lucia. She said her family used to have one and pile in for road trips on vacation.

Sorrento Wally & Lucia with Fiat

Lucia on bus back SorrentoHome to Erca and rest!

Erca pool and houseThat’s all for today ~ next we’ll check out the Massa Labrense Marina and do some more walking.

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Exploring Massa Labrense, Italy

While Wally rested, Lucia and I set off to explore the hillsides around Massa Labrense on foot. She had been there a few times before and trekked around quite a bit, so knew (mostly) where she was going. Always adventurous, she likes to strike out on new paths to explore, so we never knew where we might end up.

Massa  Jamie and Lucia, hill viewA neighbor’s dog guarding his turf…

Massa dog barking on wallCurious kitties…

Massa feral cats in gardenAt the bottom of the hill below Villa Erca is the community of Santa Maria. There is a little store, church and that’s about it. We were walking past the store when we saw movement on the roof…

S. Maria dog on shop full viewGorgeous German Shepherds! What a view I bet they have!

S. Maria 2 dogs on shop

S. Maria dogs on shop lookingAround the corner, we saw the door was open at the church so peeked inside. Work was being done, but no one was in sight, so I snapped a few pictures of this lovely community church.

Santa Maria church ext

Santa Maria church interior full view

Santa Maria church renovation interior

Santa Maria church interior, paintings

Santa Maria church painting 2

Santa Maria church painting clsupContinuing along the road…

Massa agave and urn

Massa Angela's olive pressLucia spotted chestnuts in the road and looking up, there was a huge chestnut tree. We began gathering every one we could find, stowing them in her back pack. If you step on them first, you can pop the porcupine hull off. These are an expensive treat – often referred to as being roasted at Christmas time. Lucia later boiled some for us to eat and they were delicious.

Massa chestnuts  Massa far hill view to town, blue skyPicking wild fennel along the road to cook with later…

Massa Jamie collecting fennel

Most all of the houses have little gardensMassa gardenTrailside treat! Lucia pointed out the bright green figs that were hanging into the road and said they were ripe. She likes to open them up and eat the insides, but not the skin. That is the fig tree behind her.

Massa Lucia collecting figs

Massa green fig closeupThey were sweet and sticky and the perfect hiking treat.

Massa Lucia with figsThe view towards Naples and Pompeii in the far back right with its top in the clouds…

Massa hills to water, blue skyThe fruit trees such as lemons are what you see in the terraces with arbors

Massa hills, olive coversThere was a truck sitting at one of the road junctions full of what Lucia said were Italian watermelons.

Massa Italian watermelon

Massa watermelon truck, JamieWe passed this arbor, and after closer inspection, realized it was a kiwi fruit arbor!

Massa Lucia and kiwi arbors

Massa kiwi arbor coat of arms

Massa Kiwi fruit arborLemon trees along the way. The Amalfi Coast is famous for their lemons (yes they are green lemons) I think they turn yellow when they are mature??

Massa lime treesWe walked down past La Torre Ristorante and a church and over to Villa Murat or “King’s House”.

Massa La Torre and churchThe King of Naples lived here in Villa Murat 1808. It faces the Isle of Capri.

Massa Murat House

Today you can rent the Villa Murat house for your vacation or special event. There was a group of Americans there during our stay and Lucia introduced herself and went back the next week to give the ladies massages. Learn more about it’s history at: http://www.villamurat.com/en/territory.phpMassa Murat House railing, flowersThe view from Villa Murat to Capri. There are nice benches you can sit here and enjoy the view.

Massa Murat House view to Capri rock wall

Villa Murat’s iron fence pointing out Pompeii in the background.   Massa Murat iron fence to Pompeii viewDown the hill and onward…There is a path just past Villa Murat that takes you down the hill.

Massa water, olives, pine

Massa Jamie with fennel, smiling

Massa Olives and agaveThe Massa Labrense marina community

Massa panorama of town, water, sky

Massa olive groves town to Pompeii viewA typical “trail”

Massa Lucia walking up pathI loved the forms of the olive trees…They put out netting for the olives to drop off onto when they are ripe.

Massa olive nets shining

Massa nets under olives

Massa olives on ground netting

Massa olives, church, rooftopsProbably poisonous but pretty mushrooms in the woods…

Massa orange mushroom bottom

Massa orange mushroom topsIn the town of Massa Labrense is this charming painted tile map…

Massa painted town tile mapIn the town of Massa, this is where you can pick up one of the local buses going to Sorrento or further down the Amalfi Coast. You can buy tickets in the coffee shop or tobacco shops for the buses but good luck figuring out their schedule!

Massa park, hotel by waterWe stopped in the fresh seafood market to see what the fresh catches were. Again, a pretty painted tile picture caught my eye.

Massa seafood shop tile mural

Massa seafood market tiled wall

Massa seafood 3 fishes

Now don’t be squeamish about the squids – they are very tasty when cooked right!

Massa seafood squid and octipi

Massa seafood squid and shrimpMussels are also a local shellfish

Massa seafood, musselsJust down the street I spied a sign for what I translated to be a ceramic shop…

Massa pretty arched doorway

Massa Artinostre ceramics signI love Italian painted ceramics, so we stopped in.

Massa Artinostre ceramics 2 big vasesThe artist was at work painting a jug. She didn’t speak English but Lucia chatted with she and her aunt (I believe) for a while.

Massa Artinostre ceramics artist working, JamieI loved the soft colors and themes of her pieces…

Massa Artinostre ceramics birds and floral plates

Massa Artinostre ceramics chicken, urn, shelves

Massa Artinostre ceramics donkey, bowl, urn

Massa Artinostre ceramics grist stone, bowls

Massa Artinostre ceramics house numbers, switch plates

Massa Artinostre ceramics owls & lemons

The paisley-looking platters were FABULOUS! Massa Artinostre ceramics paisley platters  Works in progress…Massa Artinostre ceramics work tableWe shopped at this little grocery store for some supplies for dinner.

Massa produce shop display

Massa produce shop apples

Massa produce shop grain bags

Massa produce, tomatoes, grapes, lemonsThen it was time to trek back up the hill ~ a mile? Seemed like 10 since it was almost four hours after we set off. (and I’m definitely NOT in shape).

Home Sweet Home to Villa Erca… wine and food and put my feet up!

Erca side view of house, pool edgeTomorrow, we are going to get educated on hitchhiking in Italy (thanks Lucia) and how to catch a bus to Sorrento! We’ll go shopping, have a delightful lunch and sample limoncello and other goodies.

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Arriving in Massa Labrense & Villa Erca

Goodbye Tuscany…

Siena Piazza del Campo panoramaHello Amalfi Coast…

Arriving Sorrento panorama

Along the way…

countryside, sheep in fieldWe left Tuscany to drive to our next destination for a week, Villa Erca, http://www.ercachiena.com/ercachiena.com/home.html in Massa Labrense on the Amalfi Coast. We thought we knew where we were going, and had programmed directions to Massa Labrense into our phone (thank goodness). It was raining and Wally’s knee began killing him as we neared Naples. (He had knee replacement surgery when we got home). However, there was no way I was going to drive!

Arriving low clouds on hills on hwyNearing Naples, we were looking at all the farms and vegetables growing along the highway with their rich, black volcanic dirt, and missed our exit to turn off at Naples for Sorrento. After 20 minutes or so, I realized we had gone too far, so we stopped to get directions (turn around, you’ve got another hour and half to go….) so back we went. It is not an easy thing to get directions when they don’t speak English and we don’t speak Italian. Happily for me, the fellow whipped out his phone and programmed Massa Labrense in to it and showed me the way.

Drive - stormy countrysideWe found the correct exit this time, however, still weren’t clear on what to do next as the highway split off. Another wrong exit into the suburbs, turn around, go the other way… okay, here are the signs for Sorrento..

Wally’s knee was getting to excructiating level as we wound up and over the hills along the Bay of Naples. It was late afternoon when we came over this big hill and Sorrento came into view. Wally pulled off into an overlook parking space ~ I thought he might just drive off the cliff at this point, to put himself out of his misery.

Arriving Sorrento panorama

Arriving Sorrento high hill viewSo after resting a few minutes, we pushed on into the city of Sorrento in search of Massa Labrense. Luckily the phone directions kept kicking in to tell us where to turn as my Mapquest directions I had printed out were ridiculously long and complicated. Note to everyone renting a car – get the GPS for Italy!!!

So, back to Sorrento… to add to our stress, it was now the afternoon rush hour, and everyone was rushing around in the road to get somewhere – bikers, mopeds, motorcycles, vehicles – all sharing the same 2 lanes. INSANITY! Here’s a shot when I could stand to look when it wasn’t so bad…

Arriving, Sorrento traffic, bikers

After stopping at a cafe once we got past town to make sure we were still going the right way, the people were kind enough to give me a map. Which kind of helped, if we had known where our destination was supposed to be on said map. *sigh*

We were supposed to meet Lucia at The Tower Restaurant in Massa Labrense. We finally saw some signs for La Torre Ristorante, so thought we were going right and kept following them. And finally found the restaurant…which was closed and no one in sight. Wahhhh!

Massa La Torre bldg extWe looked around for people to guide us to Villa Erca, as we did not have international calling on our phones and couldn’t call or text Lucia. We saw a tower, a church, a park with a map, but still were clueless.

Massa tower

Massa La Torre and churchFinally, a kindly older gentleman was walking by and I stopped him and tried to ask directions. He didn’t speak English, but tried to convey to us to go back up the hill, past the Santa Maria Church and the road was “here” (the only word we could grasp in our quick translation guide book).

So we went up the hill, past the church and were “here”. Now what??? There was a lady that happened to be standing “here” sweeping, so we asked her where was Villa Erca. Again no English, but she understood what we were asking. She pointed to the little road next to the road, and then a car with a couple pulled up that was turning into THERE and THEY SPOKE ENGLISH and said to follow them up…whew!

So you can grasp how “little” the road is and why the owner wanted us to meet Lucia at the restaurant and to be sure and have a small car… here is the road (we went for a walk later).

Erca road, jamie and lucia walkingSo the problem is that the road is VERY steep and NARROW, and as you get higher up, has 90-degree turns. SO, if you meet someone coming the opposite direction, one of you has to back all the way back to a slightly wider spot or driveway. JEEPERS! I wonder how many transmissions have gone out trying to reverse back up that hill???  Thank goodness for that couple leading the way our first time in – we didn’t have time to stop and think about it!

So when we were down at the La Torre Restaurant looking for Lucia, if we had known to look up the hill, where Villa Erca is perched (on the left top corner).

Erca far view bottom of hill

Erca at dusk from below, olive branches

Erca best from below, close

So having arrived at the gate we began calling for Lucia… and she was there! We were earlier than she expected (but later than we expected), so it worked out.

Our lovely balcony in the Capri Apartment upstairs in the villa. It has fabulous views out to the Mediterranean and the Isle of Capri.

Arriving, Erca Jamie & Lucia on balconyOur view… that is Capri off to the left past the hill.

Erca view to water, blue sky

Wally was SO happy to be done driving!

Arriving, Erca Wally & Lucia on balcony

Arriving, Erca, Lucia & Wally balcony silhouetteThe Capri Apartment is two floors, with the kitchen and living room on the first and then up a spiral staircase to the two bedrooms and bath. (Just don’t expect to take your big suitcase up those spiral stairs – it won’t fit!) There was a nice little covered balcony off the bathroom that looked over the pool and on the porch outside the kitchen are containers with herbs for cooking.

Wally is on our wraparound balcony on the second floor.

Erca and pool, vert

The living room fills with light and has beautiful antiques.

Erca living room sunny

Erca wardrobe, door

Lucia introduced us to the house kitty – Alicia, I think was her name.

Erca kitty & flower pot   There is a nice covered dining area at the end of the pool and great outdoor kitchen and bbq.

Erca pool and house

Erca side view of house, pool edge

Erca balcony & cafe tableHere’s the view from our bedroom window upstairs.

Erca view out bedroom window to capri  Erca cat under olive treeWe learned how to make coffee the old fashioned “Italian” way …

Erca coffee makingLucia showed us a bit of the rest of the villa and I loved the antique key collection in the Garden Apartment.

Erca Garden apt, keys

Erca green shuttered windowMeow!

Erca kitty in blue chair, tableI loved the mill stones – they are used in landscaping everywhere. I guess they were used for olive pressing or grapes.

Erca mill wheel table

Erca two grist stonesView of the pool from our balcony. It was a bit chilly in October, but was great to soak our weary feet after long walks.

Erca view from Capri apt to poolWe decided a walk would be good to stretch after the drive, so Lucia led us down the “shortcut” path to the bottom of the hill. It was okay going down, but coming back up was no fun. Looks like Lucia’s fitness program had begun. We had texted her pictures of our meals the week before in Tuscany and her response was, “Jamie – you’re eating toooo much pizza!”

Erca, path shortcut, Jamie & Lucia 1

We walked down to the little park past the tower that has a fabulous view towards Capri. Here’s Wally and Lucia and Capri silhouetted at dusk.

Capri, Wally & Lucia silhouettedSo back up the hill to Erca, where we had a nice dinner Lucia had prepared outside by the pool. We watched the sun creep down over the water…

Erca view to Capri, sun & storm clouds

and amazing lights began to dance on the water around Capri.

Erca view to water at dusk, sun spotsThis was just a little introduction to the amazing sunsets to come during our stay.

Tomorrow, Lucia and I go on a walk around the community while Wally rests. Stay tuned…

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Pienza, Italy, Home to Pecorino Cheese

blog banner Siena lastOur last destination in Tuscany for the trip was Pienza, perched high atop a hill and home to delicious pecorino (sheep) cheese. I had tried to navigate us to this little town a few days before and we ended up in Siena, so I was happy we finally spied the town sign ahead. Here is a view of town as you drive up from below. Sadly, rain was moving in as you can see from the gray clouds.

Pienza from below

We found a parking spot outside the town gate and inquired where the public restrooms were before exploring.

Pienza entrance gate

You just never know what kind of toilet you’ll find in Europe, but this was our first “hole in the ground” type! I was glad I had learned early on when traveling to take my own Kleenex packets for backup “TP”.

Pienza public toilet

With that taken care of, we were ready to wander Pienza and see what this Tuscan town had to offer. The first shop we came to had lovely ceramics displays out front.

Pienza ceramics display

Pienza lemon ceramics

We wandered up the street towards the piazza…

Pienza mail street, bell tower

This lovely church resides on the piazza…

Pienza church and sitting sculpture

Pienza piazza big church

Next to it was this horse statue and this darling boy was having his photo taken…

Pienza boy on horse sculptureJust down the alley beyond the horse statue is a fabulous panoramic view of the countryside…

Pienza vert vineyard to valley view

Pienza view of countryside

We were hungry so headed back up to the piazza to look for a restaurant.

Pienza Wally, view to valley

Pienza mail street, bell tower

Pienza piazza & bell tower

Pienza Wally, clock tower

Under the arches of the above building was this interesting “compressed” statue..

Pienza horse & riders statueIt was starting to sprinkle, so we backtracked a few alleys where I had seen a restaurant sign… This lovely plump terracotta lady was hanging out in the little piazza next to the Trattoria da Fiorella.

Pienza plump lady sculpture

We dodged in the door, along with several other couples seeking shelter and food, and got the last table next to the door. Another couple sat down next to us and after overhearing each other talking “American”, introduced ourselves. They were from Napa Valley, Calif., and had a vineyard, and we enjoyed chatting over lunch about farming, food, wine and travel. (Sorry, no food pictures this time – we were enjoying ourselves too much and forgot).

Pienza Trattoria da Fiorella

After lunch the rain had stopped, and we were full and relaxed from the house red wine so began strolling through town. There were many shops filled with their local pecorino cheeses, wines and olive oils. I really like the semi-soft mild pecorino cheese.

Pienza Enoteca window, sign

Pienza pecorina and wine display

Pienza pecorino cheese, oils

Pienza sheep on barrel display

Pienza church with arched windows

There is an overlook sidewalk around the edge of the town that must be a favorite gathering area for the locals. What views!

Pienza view wall, bell tower, laundry

Pienza view over red tile roof

When we looked down, this was the car line-up.

Pienza car lineup

This is a smaller town, so doesn’t take long to explore their alleyways inside the gate. We worked our way back towards the entry gate and pointed the car towards “home” at La Mucchia Casa Vacanze for our last night.

Pienza vert street, tower view

Time to pack up from our week in Tuscany and venture south to Massa La Brense and the Amalfi Coast for a week. Stay tuned for our week in southern Italy!

Bye Bye Tuscany… We’ll be back!

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