We easily found our hotel, Hotel San Lino, in the quaint Medieval city. We were happy to find it with a great AC, and a fridge…and a very helpful front desk woman willing to call the airline and explain where to deliver luggage in Italian-to-Italian. Much more reassuring to know they had reconfirmed the hotel location! After our sweaty adventures around Cecina the pool looked awfully inviting, so we changed into suits and took our late lunch picnic to eat on the patio. It felt good to relax, and soak in some sun. We scheduled Volterra as our relaxing stop on the trip, and it felt so good to just chill out for the afternoon by the pool.
In the evening we decided to go to town, and were wandering through shops when we heard drums beating in the street. We had discovered the Medieval Volterra fair kickoff in the center piazza! Totally not in our plan but we decided to check it out. There was a flag throwing display, marching brigades of drummers, trumpets and men yielding crossbows. We watched 4 different groups parade into the square in full Medieval costume, the mayor make a speech, and them all file out again. It was pretty cool.
From the fair we wandered town to get our bearings, then feasted on some amazing gelato. We went back to the hotel to relax before dinner, which ultimately led to us deciding to skip dinner all together and go to bed early.
The next morning we ate breakfast at the hotel, then headed out to explore Volterra. On the way downstairs we got great news: our luggage had arrived! Woohoo!
The usually sleepy town was bustling with visitors for the medieval festival. We decided not to pay admission to see the booths and displays, which sadly kept us from exploring the archeological site where it was all being held. We had a great tour of town though, and spent a good chunk of time exploring the Etruscan museum. It was really well done, and fascinating, but my attention span for absorbing history (especially when getting hungry) is more limited than Matt’s. By the time we moved on to lunch I was turning into a grumpy mess and so we get food pronto. It was a great lunch too…cured meats and different spreads with a small carafe of chilled house white.
We wandered town a while longer, then retired to the pool until the sun went behind the building. Time to get ready for dinner! Since we skipped dinner the previous night we were ready to go out and really find some good Tuscan fare. After not finding our first recommended restaurant, and no space at the second, we ended up at the last table at a classy little place off of one of the main streets: Ombra Della Sera.
It first caught our eye because it was a) packed, b) had house wine, and c) a good looking menu (although that was through piecing together Italian key words…we took no translations as a good sign). Dinner was excellent. The long menu was almost too much to deal with, and we started asking questions when they pulled out an English version. Oh so much better! And interesting! A big part of this trip was trying regional dishes, and we wanted something really Tuscan, not just Italian. We were also big into eating light lunches so that at dinner we could enjoy all the italian courses. We immediately knew what to get when we saw it.
Antipasti: prosciutto and melon (I had been eyeing this the whole trip)
Soup: traditional Volterra bean soup
Primi: pappardelle with hare sauce
Secondi: braised wild boar
Wow what a meal! Every single course was amazing. Plus, it was some of the best service we had on the whole trip. Great dinner. Then I am pretty sure we got more gelato.