A Day Trip in Tuscany

While the toscani successfully defended their hill towns for centuries, it took just three days for us to capitulate our reign over Castiglion del Bosco. The sword over our heads was the mere threat of another Amex swipe; those luxury suites and spectacular views come at a price.

downthehilltuscany

Farewell to Castiglion del Bosco: it’s all downhill from here.

It was time to head off on a new adventure: a day trip in Tuscany. Our first stop was must-see Siena, where we had a whirlwind tour of the historic town and its famed duomo.

duomo siena

Our first peek of Siena’s famed gothic cathedral. The scale of it is so immense that it’s impossible to appreciate it in a photo – you have to visit!

st jerome siena duomo

Bernini’s statue of St. Jerome graces the Chigi Chapel in the Siena duomo. (polloplayer photo)

straighterduomointeriorsiena

Interior of the Siena cathedral. (polloplayer photo)

One of the glories of the Siena cathedral is the Piccolomini Library which boasts a dizzyingly magnificent ceiling, exquisite frescoes and a stunning collection of illuminated manuscripts from the fifteenth century.

The ceiling of the Piccolomini Library

The ceiling of the Piccolomini Library

Detail from a fresco in the duomo.

Detail from a fresco in the duomo.

We briefly explored the town where our guide gave us a spirited tutorial about the importance of the contrade, the competitive districts whose fierce allegiances culminate in the frenzied three-minute Palio horse races that take place in the Piazza del Campo square twice each year. Our guide, a proud member of the Silkworm contrada, could barely contain her disdain as we walked through the rival Dragon district.

A Sienese vendor readies his display of contrade flags.

A Sienese vendor readies his display of contrade flags.

This gate declares a resident's allegiance to the Dragon contrada.

This gate declares a resident’s allegiance to the Dragon contrada. (polloplayer photo)

The pigeons show no fear of the wolves in the Fonte Gaia in the Piazza del Campo.

The pigeons show no fear of the wolves in the Fonte Gaia in the Piazza del Campo.

From Siena, we wound our way up to the charming walled medieval hill town of Monteriggioni. It is tiny and slightly less discovered by visitors than nearby San Gimignano, which I think you should be required to spell correctly in order to gain entrance. That would cut down on the tourist hordes! I much preferred Monteriggioni, where we enjoyed lunch on the inviting terrace at Ristorante da Remo.

Recommended for lunch in Monterrigioni.

Recommended for lunch in Monterrigioni. (polloplayer photo)

Unspoiled: they still hang their laundry out to dry in Monterrigioni.

Unspoiled: they still hang their laundry out to dry in Monterrigioni. (polloplayer photo)

A ceramic depiction of the fortress at Monterrigio.

A ceramic depiction of the fortress at Monterrigio.

A grape arbor shades a building in the tiny hill town of Monterrigio.

A grape arbor shades a building in the tiny hill town of Monterrigio.(polloplayer photo)

San Gimignano is known for its charm, its shopping and its gelato, but most of all, I believe, for its aforementioned tourists. We did our part that day for the Italian economy:

Three little girls we know will carrying Italian purses this Christmas.

Three little girls we know will carrying Italian purses this Christmas.

I guess it's worth going to San Gimignano just for the view.

I guess it’s worth going to San Gimignano just for the view.

Our day trip completed, we wound our way down the hills and toward our next destination, the capital of Tuscany and “cradle of the Renaissance”. Next stop: Firenze!

 

 

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
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3 Responses to A Day Trip in Tuscany

  1. dizzyguy says:

    Photos and text make me want to leave all of the Christmas boxes right where they are, in the garage, and head to the airport for the first flight back to Italy. Sienna was a wonderful little town with as much charm as any place we visited. Such a blessing to have been able to enjoy all of this beauty and charm!

  2. Jean Gutsche says:

    Wow! Absolutely magnificent!

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