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.
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,