|The Tuscan landscape easily lived up to all the hype and |
our not inconsiderable expectations.
|First stop was the medieval, hill top town of San Gimignano.|
|From the moment you walk through the gates of the town wall it’s easy to see why |
San Gimignano is such a tourist magnet.
|Unfortunately the traditional fresh produce markets of yesteryear have been |
replaced with awful stalls crowded into both the town’s squares selling mainly
cheap imported junk.
|Why tourists looking to find a little slice of medieval Tuscany would want to |
by cheap Chinese manufactured socks and underwear during their visit we
have no idea.
|The high towers were originally the fortified houses of the rich. The higher the|
tower, the wealthier you told the world you were. It was all about image
even in medieval times.
|Many of the towers have now been converted to boutique tourist accommodation.|
|By escaping from the hordes in the main squares and café areas we discovered |
scores of incredible old buildings and really enjoyed our time in San Gimignano.
|The views over the surrounding countryside were spectacular.|
|What better way to cap off our visit to San Gimignano than with a refreshing |
glass of the local vino bianco.
|Magnificent scenery is unveiled virtually at every turn as you drive through rural Tuscany.|
|Our lunch stop was in amongst the barrels at an excellent winery with each of the five light |
courses accompanied by a tasting of a different wine from their excellent range.
|While we were at lunch a ‘Tour Tuscany on a Vesper’ group arrived.|
|It’s hard to imagine this square in Siena is the site of one of the most famous horse races in the world.|
|Siena is a major financial centre with banking being big business. While the city |
centre is mainly vehicle free, those bankers just HAVE to park outside the front door.
|Yes it’s ABC time. (Another bloody cathedral). They are beautiful but by now |
we’re used to there being one on every second corner.
|A little hidden gem we found in a private courtyard in Siena. It could turn into |
one of Karen’s paintings one day.
|Our last stop was the fantastic little hilltop fortress of Monteriggioni that now houses a small |
community within its walls.
|From the walls of Monteriggioni the approach to Siena from Florence was watched.|
|Other than power cables, visible concessions to current times were very |
few inside Monteriggioni.