We are having a weekend adventure. After class yesterday we took a bus to Chiusi to rent a car for the week. School was getting out, and the station was full of teenagers. We felt like the field trip chaperones, but it was fun to talk to them a little in Italian before they put their earbuds back in.
Our little red car is only 164 Euros for the whole week. It’s much cheaper if you drive standard. We drove for about an hour and 45 minutes and arrived in the “cuore del cuore medievale” (the heart of the medieval heart-shaped town) of Montemareno in southwestern Tuscany.
Jacopo, our host, met us in the Ape (three-wheeled Italian truck), loaded our bags into the back, and then we followed him up steep stone streets to our apartment with a beautiful balcony view and rondelle (swallows) darting all around us.
In our apartment a fig crostata, made by his nonna, greeted us along with a pile of fruit and other amenities.
We wandered around our little town, stopped for a spritz, and then ate dinner on the terrazza at Al Moro.
This morning we went to the free hot springs, Le Terme di Saturnia: gorgeous turquoise warm water with sulfur that cascades over little natural tubs into the stream. We knew we were close when we could smell the sulphur. Sandra read it was less crowded and more shady if you climbed up, which we did. When I first got in, I was carried away by the strong current, but an Italian helped me climb out. The whole time we were there an Italian woman held onto a rope to keep her place in a swift part of the current. We went early and really enjoyed it.
We returned for lunch at Il Nibbio, which means kite, and sat outside in the shade for a lovely lunch. The little boy Alessandro, the son of the cuoco (cook), kept talking to us in Italian and gave me a flower. His father came out to pick fresh thyme and oregano from the side of the patio.