November 4th
2009
written by Alonna

Ahh, beautiful Tuscany! Now I see why people fall in love with this place. There’s just something addictive about the pretty scenery, charming small towns, and relaxed feeling you get in Tuscany. We wished we had more time there, and Ben and I both agree this is one place we will return to.
 
Tuscany countryside


Volterra

We took a day trip from Siena to visit a small hill town called Volterra. It took a few long bus rides to get there and back, but it was totally worth it. We saw the beautiful countryside of Tuscany and got away from the main tourist track. The town of Volterra was cute and had some interesting history as well. It was a major town in Etruscan times, which is a fairly advanced Pre-Roman civilization in Italy around 700 B.C. We saw Etruscan ruins (arches, tombs, etc) and a museum with some impressive artifacts (grave stones, bowls, jewelry, and art). There were even ancient Roman ruins – an amphitheater from 1st century B.C.
 
Porta dell'Arco - ancient Etruscan city gate Etruscan funeral casket Ancient Roman Theater in Volterra Roman amphitheater and bath house

But our main activity in Volterra was biking. We rented mountain bikes for a few hours, and headed straight downhill to the valley, and then powered our way back up. It was fairly difficult, but we enjoyed the strenuous exercise (which we’ve definitely been lacking) and biking is a great way to see more of a place and get off the beaten track.
 
Alonna biking in Volterra Ben in Volterra Volterra Volterra


Orvieto

After Siena we spent 2 nights in Orvieto. This was another cute old town built on top of a hill (they did this for defensive purposes in medieval times). Orvieto had great views and a very impressive Duomo (similar to the on in Siena). But honestly the highlight of this visit was cooking in the kitchen of our apartment! We went out of our way and spent extra $$ to find a place with a kitchen since we were tired of eating out and craving some home-made spaghetti. One thing we’ve found in Italy is that they have really great and really cheap tomato sauce (pomodora). It’s basically just plain tomato sauce (like Prego without all the extra seasonings and vegetables), and then we add some fresh ingredients of our own. It seems funny to cook spaghetti in Italy when we could get great pasta at any restaurant in town, but it’s so delicious, much cheaper, and really fun to make ourselves. Also, I even tried making my own bruschetta. It was so good… I think the key is the very fresh and delicious Olive Oil in Italy. Yum!
 
Our kitchen My delicious homemade bruschetta Orvieto The town walls of Orvieto Orvieto Duomo Amazing Duomo facade Orvieto from below

So that was our very limited stay in Tuscany… just enough to whet our appetite and convince us to return someday!

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1 Comment

  1. Sandra
    11/04/2009

    Love the pictures! Roger went to Aulla (where his great-grandmother was born), and fell in love with Tuscany. Tell me if you find any good engineering jobs there! 🙂