Let me prepare you a special Italian dinner. As with all evenings meals out in Italy, there is a starter (antipasto), first plate (primo piatto), second or main dish (secondo piatto) and the dessert (dolce). It is a lot of food, and we cannot “eat” it all at once, so let’s spilt it into two: the starter + primo, and then secondo + desert.
This Italian recipe contains the following ingredients: Five days, driving over 1000 km of winding country lanes, 15+ villages, well-hidden secret “spices”, some popular places and some completely unknown. We will have to cook it on a low-medium gas, because it will be an early spring season meal. (The legend about the weather was right after all! Do you recall my post “Tre giorni della merla”? if not you can find it here).
The good news is, there is certainly no crowd in our kitchen, and you are welcome to join us!
Without further ado, let’s prepare the following “dishes” for the starter: Volterra and Montecatini
Volterra is probably one of the most popular places you could find in Tuscany. It is a town, rather than a village, and it feels like a town. We visited it twice, at different times of the year, and for us, it felt the same – it would have been a lot more “tasty” without adding so many tourists “to the pot”. The historic town centre is beautiful, but has also certainly adapted to accommodate hordes of visitors. Nevertheless, the place is certainly worth visiting.
Montecatini is completely opposite to Volterra. You will not find a single tourist here. It is a perfect “starter” for our treat which allows you to prepare for the next “meal”. There is a beautiful walking path around the village where you can admire the surrounding views.
Oh dear, I forgot about bread! I should have served you a few pieces of bread, even before a starter. Let me quickly make it right. The name of our unknown “pre-starter” is Abbadia Isola and it is about 1000 years old, but it still tastes good! Its history is a mixture of a monastery and a castle.
Let’s move swiftly to the first dish (Primo piatto) because I cannot wait any longer to share it with you. I have something special prepared for the “first dish”! Its name is Sassetta.
We discovered Sassetta purely by accident. Literally, we selected a few towns on our way to stop by, and this beautiful village just happened to us. You will not find much about Sassetta in tourist guides or even on the Internet. Wikipedia has just about one sentence describing it. Unless you live in the region or are a local tour, you probably never heard about it. Frankly, this is shocking, considering how beautiful this place is.
This village is blossoming with free art on every corner, and you will find here extraordinary attention to detail everywhere.
There are plenty of sculptures around you. Some of them are hidden, and some reside on the prominent display. There are even more sculptures to see in July, sculptors arrive here yearly and are making them here!
If you read any of my previous posts, you probably know that my aim is not to list and show you everything about a place, but rather to inspire You to go. This time is no different. When you will travel around Tuscany, you must stop at Sassetta. You will probably need at least two hours to see everything here. I cannot stress it enough – seeing it first-hand cannot compare to the best photograph or video!
Tip: You can park by the cemetery, it is free, plus you will have an opportunity to walk to town and see it from the perspective of the photos below.
You will also find beautiful traditional houses here, cobbled streets, and some wall paintings.
I will not “feed you” with any more pictures because you will not have space for the second meal and a dessert!
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See you next week!
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