Where Tuscany meets the sea!
As the sun set over the ocean of our apartment on Australia Day we left behind our 5 star well styled Tuscan cave like dwelling and headed off on a 2 hour drive which lead us off our beloved rolling patchwork hills and winding hilltops to a bumpy sometimes broken highway. We just want to say we are forever grateful that our beloved cat of 11 years is enjoying himself on Australia Day!
Our next destination was Castiglioncello – where the only way to describe this oasis is naturally beautiful. A prestigious international holiday resort town surrounded by lapping ocean waves, rocky shores, clear, mirror-like, shallow, pooling, rock pockets and evergreen trees shaped by the winds help to define the coastal outline. This is a place that inspires artists and holiday makers.
It is all about local fish and the production of its renowned locally made honey. This place makes my heart race. I am once again in love with another part of beautiful Tuscany, where rolling hills and vineyards meet the Mediterranean turquoise sea. On the day we arrived it lay dormant of people along the winter ocean front. Restaurants closed, the well known sun umbrella and beach deck chair businesses doors locked, local change rooms and toilets actually have boards nailed across the entrance and most 3 story apartments windows which hold stunning views over the ocean all have their window shutters tightly closed. I wonder … does anyone actually live here or is it just for holiday makers in the peak of summer? Do locals realise what a beautiful place this is? Are they scared of sunny crisp winter days??? I want to shout wake up it is 16 degrees open your shutters!!!!! or do we all ignore what we become accustomed to.
Back at home on the Sunshine Coast please never take where we live for granted. Walk, run, swim, surf, bike in, on and around our beautiful coastline don’t take it for granted. Interesting enough I was reading an article published for the European tourist wanting to travel to Australia. This article did our country no favours. It was warning European tourists on how dangerous our country is. Fifty tourists die on our beaches each year and our lack of UV protection due to the hole in the ozone layer leaves us in a danger to alarming rates of skin cancer. Let alone sharks, crocodiles and deadly snakes spiders and some local insect I had never heard of. It also warned of pick pockets in Sydney and Melbourne it would turn me off travelling to Australia if I knew nothing about our beautiful land.
As we sit on our balcony which lies 50 meters from the crystal shore, the only noise I hear is lapping ocean water against the rocks.. All I see is natural beauty… All I want to do is jump into this beautiful water but I assume it will be too cold. I now understand how Katrina Roundtree always looked so perky and smiled so much when filming Getaway! Traveling is a wonderful journey for the mind and soul.
As the midday sun rose high in the sky we took the pathway out of our apartment and headed off to explore. We followed the left pathway for about 2.5 kilometres enjoying the clear waters and grainy sand beach coves and inlets covered in driftwood, shiny smooth stones and what looked like dead coral.
These shores are so strangely different to our coastline. Many character filled restaurants lay abandoned with signs saying closed for the winter reopening at the end of February.
We find a cute tiny cafe opened with the best front row view of the ocean. You can even sit on the beach steps with a cushion and drink your coffee. We ordered a coffee but it was the chocolate iced cream paddle pop covered in crisp rice puffs and filled with red jelly that catches my eye. Yum! Italians sure do know how to make the best ice cream treats and there were many more that I had my eye on. In my head I am thinking can I import these ice cream treasures back to Australia?? What a little gem this place is – just like a hole in the wall cafe but with lots of character and the most amazing location. Tiny but cozy with soft Italian jazz music plays, calming in the background. Mmmm ….. I think that spells out my age, not like some of the cafes at home where you feel instantly irritated by loud bass music that only allows you to lip read what your partner is saying. Only a very narrow thin walking path separating this gem of a cafe from the natural beauty before your eyes. Well the truth is you can actually sit inside the cafe and stretch your leg across the walking path and your feet are actually on the sand. Now that is cool! No crossing roads to get to restaurants and cafes. Here where Tuscany meets the Mediterranean Sea so do restaurants, bars and cafes. This adds so much character to the Walk. We have averaged walking at least 8 kilometres a day.
Next to this trendy cafe is the local surf school. Today the ocean is so flat and calm but photos show that it must be a great spot to surf. I wonder do the waves ever lap across the path in wild stormy weather? We could enjoy coffee and dip our feet in the water at the same time!
We pass many natural ocean front swimming pools carved out of the rocks with ladders but the handful of swimmers are dressed from head to toe in wet suits snorkelling and spear fishing.
We pass rows of cute traditional beach side changing rooms.
We were very impressed by the size of the huge modern marina (Rosignano Marittimo)where rows of beautiful sail boats were moored. The pathway in front of the marina was lined with lavender which was flowering. Enormous fluffy honey bees were enjoying collecting pollen from these gardens. See what happens when you have too much time on your hands you notice everything that you never had time to notice! Just like the honey bee I now have time to stop and smell the roses after 31 years of working.
It also had a dry dock where million dollar boats hung in their covers waiting patiently to set free. Their was over 500 reserved car spaces so we could only imagine how popular this sleepy winter town is in summer.
Content with our adventures we spent the late afternoon on our veranda reading, taking in the ocean views and enjoying the warm afternoon winter sun. As we watched the tangerine sun sink into the sea we got a little teary as we knew the sun was heading to wake family and friends back home in Australia and I silly enough said to the sun say hello to them all…… and keep them safe. So when you see the sun rise know even though we are far away we are thinking of family and friends… xoxo Always did love the song Sunrise by Nora Jones.
We were chatting about how we wouldn’t have been able to afford to stay here in this beautiful spacious ocean front terrace with its marble floor tiles, floor to ceiling sea views from the kitchen, lounge room, bathroom and bedroom if it wasn’t for winter travel which we love. The summer rate to stay here would make this place 4 times as expensive. We are happy to experience the off season as the weather has been good to us.
The next day was even better, a beautiful sunny Sunday and we thank you all in the land of Oz for sending the sun’s warm energy back to us for us to enjoy. Our duck down thermal puffer coats are drying in the morning sun.
It was a beautiful day to explore the opposite pathway along the ocean front that leads out our back door. This is when we realised that Sunday all the locals we out enjoying what looked like family day. First we had to follow the sound of the morning church bells that rang so sweetly throughout the seaside town. We arrived for morning Sunday mass at the local church just 500 meters behind our apartment. When entering this quaint seaside church I realised I looked a little out of place in my Lululemon active wear. Italian men and women dress so elegantly even to walk along the beach.
We headed up through the high street of the town to see an Italian motorbike club was congregating on their Sunday scenic bike ride. Italian bikies don’t look as scary as Aussie bikie clubs. We headed down some hair pin cliff stairs which lead us to the jaw dropping oasis beach front called Bay of Quercetano. Here we found the local swimming group enjoying the icy Mediterranean Sea. Looking into the Rocky sea bed was like looking through a magnifying glass. Sea anemones crawled and sucked to the boulder size rocks. It reminded me of the illustrations from the children’s story book ‘Looking for Crabs’. A few people in full body wet suits were snorkelling. Even the paddle boarder was in a full body wet suit which covered his face and head. I would have liked doing either of these activities. The surrounding environment was just as interesting as this was just a small cove beach set off a surrounding cliff which had beach front cafes and cute rows of change rooms.
The parkland on the headland that lead us back down to our apartment was just as charming. It boasts gorgeous ocean views, shady trees that looked like sculptures blown by the wind, a park fountain, tennis club and over shadowing the park stood the town castle. The pathway was spilling over with people as a crowd of locals waited for their lunch orders. When we arrived on Thursday this restaurant was open but deserted. Goes to show if there is a crowd it must be good.
This seaside environment entices you to relax. Rob and I had a little chuckle to ourselves when we were only enjoying breakfast at midday in our pj’s. We now understand how the time can easily slip away when you are in FLOW enjoying managing your own interests.