Monday, 4 July 2011

Tales from Tuscany...Certaldo Alto and Volterra

After my little interlude at Wimbledon I am back to share a couple more Tales from Tuscany with you. What a fantastic tennis final it was too, Nedal was runner up but I must admit the Djokovic was a very worthy winner on the day. He has woken up this morning as no less than World Number 1 today, what an achievement.

Anyway, back to my  holiday. Near to where we stayed is a small town called Certaldo which is very sleepy and appears just to be a place to "drive through" en route to San Gimingano. However it hides a little known place called Certaldo Alto which is an amazing medieval fort town only accessible via the funicular.



It can be seen up in the hills above the town. The funicular is almost hidden away and not surprisingly very few people seem to make it up to this little gem













The cable car runs every 20 minutes and we were able to stand in the shade to wait for it. The journey only takes a couple of minutes and at the summit you find yourself transported back in time.















This is the view back down to Certaldo from inside the cable car.













This is the "High Street, it is actually the only main street there and at the top of the hill is the Palazzo Pretorio. Half way up the street is the house where Boccaccio lived (he wrote the very racy Decameron in 1351, it must have been quite an eye opener in its time!). His house has been converted into a museum and at the top is a roof terrace with a fantastic view.











This was the view across the town from the summit of his house.

We were also able to visit the Palazzo Pretorio. On our 2009 trip this was closed for renovation.It was great to see the inside for the 1st time. The Palazzo was originally a castle and dates from the c13. It housed  the Governors who were sent there for 2 years at a time from Florence. Each Governor left a plaque or a mark of when they served office and it was quite incredible to see some that remained and their dates.










It is even possible to see back to San Gimignano (2nd small hill on left and the towers there are visible)
We also managed to sample some wonderful Italian hand made ice cream here. We managed to find some shade to eat them and wonder at the views.







Another lovely day trip was our visit to Volterra, about 40 minutes way  by car. This city is very famous for its alabaster production. It also has a beautiful Cathedral and still has the remains of an ancient amphitheatre.
This was the view looking across the town.
Here is the ancient Roman Amphitheatre
and this is from the inside of the Cathedral, a stunning nativity painting.

Whilst there I decided that I wanted to try to find some alabaster beads to make myself some earrings when I got home....we searched around, most beads were already made into jewellery. Eventually though I found a shop which had pots of wonderful beads.



I was able to pick out these beauties
and in a future post  I will show you what I did with them.







I shall be back with the last of my "Tales from Tuscany" later this week. Thanks for visiting me here and don't forget to add you name to this post if you would like to be put into the hat to win my limited edition 125 years of Wimbledon Tennis keyring. Don't miss out, everyone is welcome to enter and I will close the comments on 8th July.

Bye for now,

Jane x

19 comments:

  1. Just beautiful! I can't wait to see what you do with your alabaster beads. Thanks for the tour of Wimbleton too. Looks like you have beautiful weather wherever you go :)

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  2. Hi Linda...I will save my jewellery post for another time..I really enjoyed using those beads! I must admit yes we are pretty lucky with the weather when we go on holiday...I bet that now jinxes our next one ;0)
    Jane x

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  3. Dear Jane,

    I should have guessed that you manage to find some beads to bring home, it's same with us knitters, there's no so little town that you couldn't find a yarn-shop :)

    The pictures are just wonderful, it seems that each time you post, there are more beautiful places to see! And I just loved the "high street" aka main street picture, not too crowded!

    As Linda said you seem to have great weather where ever you go! I wish it's still hot and sunny at yours and you can enjoy it with the sweetest B!

    Yours,
    Mia

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  4. You are quite right Mia, just like you knitters I am always on the look out for beads.....it was great to find those alabaster ones, they took some searching out.
    We had another lovely sunny weekend here but it does look as though the rest of the week may be a bit wet. I can't complain though, I have been so lucky with the sun.
    Have a great week, B sends a purr to sunny Finland (I hope!)
    Jane x

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  5. Beautiful Jane, I just know from the photos that the heat is wonderful, oh to be in the Med!!
    Such a quaint little high street.
    Your beads are gorgeous, I'm curious to see what you've made with them.
    Have a great week,
    Vivienne x
    P.S. A bit sad about Nadal. :(

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  6. Tee hee more curiosity re those beads Vivienne- you will just have to wait ;0). Oh yes the heat of the Med, nothing like it is there?
    I was also a bit sad about my dear Nadal but don't write him off yet, I am sure he will be back next year.
    Jane x

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  7. Dear Jane, ohh I loved seeing those ancient buildings and the amphitheater.. I love historical places. I adore the alabaster beads! You would love my collection of old trade beads from the local Indians here who traded for them for their furs. I have some graduated Russian Blues.. have you ever seen them? I *love* beads!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  8. I love the sound of those old beads Teresa and yes I L*O*V*E* beads!I have never heard of Russian blues...?They sound very interesting. Have a great day,
    Jane x

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  9. More lovely pictures of Tuscany, Jane - you have taken such beautiful shots and so many different and interesting sights! The beads look lovely - it's funny how we find our crafty treats wherever we go isn't it?! Have a lovely week.
    Helen x

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  10. Jane, what a fabulous trip to view and enjoy vicariously through these wonderful, wonderful pictures! Oh to ride the funicular...that must've just been so fantastic! I have not ever been to any of these places but now I do wish to go back to Tuscany to see them...gorgeous architecture and serenity.. and I know you'll be creating a beautiful piece with those beads! Always so great to visit you - thank you for my trip to Tuscany this evening!: )

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  11. PS - I smiled when you wrote that your 22 year old loves giraffes..that is awesome! : )

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  12. Hi Helen, it's so true that us crafter's do seek out new materials on our journey's! Happy Wednesday,
    Jane x

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  13. If you return to Tuscany Shirley you should seek out these hidden jems. Tee hee re my son...his very 1st toy when he was born was a giraffe which got called called Yellow Horsey and shhh he is still lurking in his room ;0) Have a great week,
    Jane x

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  14. Oooh, my heart is aflutter. Boy do I love Tuscany, even though I've only visited once. Adam and I were engaged there. I can't wait to visit again someday. At this point, a flight from the West Coast with my little ones is not appealing. :) Thanks for sharing.

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  15. Ahhh Bethanie - how wonderful to have got engaged in Tuscany! What romantic memories that must bring back to you ;0)
    Jane x

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  16. Hi Jane! Just want to let you know how much fun it's been "traveling" to these faraway places through your pictures, to places I might never get the opportunity to visit. I know I could get used to spending some time there amongst the beautiful countryside and rustic settings! And just for fun, the funicular brings back memories of a song I learned in elementary school, whose words I've mostly forgotten, except "Funiculi, funicula..." Do you know this song? You'll have to let me know! :o)
    P.S.
    I'm also intrigued by your alabaster beads and the plans you have in store for them!

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  17. Michele that was the exact song that my Hb and I sang on our way there...how hilarious that you know it too. I'm glad you enjoy my travels and keep watching re those beads ;0)
    Jane x

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  18. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photographs Jane....your beads are such a lovely find too...I am sure you will create something very special with them!
    Hope you have a great weekend,
    Susan x

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  19. Thanks Susan, there is also something coming up soon re my alabaster beads...keep watching!
    Enjoy the rest of the weekend,
    Jane x

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I really enjoy reading every single one of them.
Jane x