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Yesterday was beautiful again, 29 degrees and bright blue skies. We started the day with a visit to Mesano, not too far from Radicondoli. It is a thousand year old hilltop village, and we almost didn’t go, but we are so glad we did. It was so pretty!  Sadly we arrived on the day that the whole village was without power so repairs could be done, so we couldn’t sit and enjoy the ambience with our usual stop at a village cafe. The village was completely deserted save a couple of mums walking their babies and an elderly lady tending the most beautiful garden. She reminded me of my Mum working tending her beautiful roses in the sun, oblivous to nosy tourists like us… We climbed to the highest point of the village and came upon a neglected children’s playground (must have the best view from a playground anywhere) .

Next stop Colle di Val d’Elsa, famous for its crystal.   What a treat that was – quite different configuration from the other villages, more long and low, but still with different levels. The drive to reach it was through a modern part of the town, not quite so pretty, and we were surprised to find the parking was free. Surprisingly, it was very quiet in Centro Storico- we pretty much had the place to ourselves to wander and explore. We lunched at probably the most upmarket cafe we have been in – have become quite addicted to bruschetta of any kind. This time porcini bruschetta followed by the most delicious pistachio nut gelato. We had the privilege of sitting and eating in this quite spot listening to an old bloke sitting on his step trying to cough his lungs out…… all people in the cafe (many nationalities) were as amused as we were – the whole place was deserted and we managed to find a cafe next to him….

Phil and I visted the studio of an artisan crystal maker – he had a video going describing how he made the crystal and was explaining the process to another tourist couple. He was obviously very passionate about his work, and it surely was stunning. I fell in love with a big crystal cross which was tempting to say the least. We visited another artisan shop on the way out and bought a couple of little pieces to take home to remind us of this wonderful trip.