I got several items including a gluten free cake from our Bed and Breakfast's buffet then walked the two blocks to the train station and boarded a Walkabout Tours full bus. Mostly Americans as the tour was in English. We left Florence at approx 8:30 a.m., drove over the Arno and left town on the south side of Florence. Out near the Roma gate. Called the Roma Gate because it's on the road that leads to Rome.
|Oldest Bank in the World|
Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena was founded
by order of the Magistrature of the Republic of Siena
as Monte de Pietá in 1472
|Busts of influential Italians in the square of the oldest bank in the world.|
|Busts along top of building|
|St. Christopher's Church is located in Piazza Tolomei in Siena. |
It dates back to the 11th or 12th century.
It is one of the oldest churches in Siena and can be seen
in a scene from the movie "Letters to Juliet."
|Chiesa di San Cristoforo (St. Christopher Church)|
|Walking through the narrow streets of Siena, Italy|
|The tower in the Il Campo|
|In the Piazza del Campo|
|Standing in the Piazza del Campo. |
See the herringbone pattern of the bricks?
|Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico.|
|The gate leading to the Piazza di Duomo|
|West Facade and main entrance to the Duomo.|
Scott sitting on steps in bottom right.
Bell Tower to the upper right.
|Siena Cathedral - Duomo di Siena|
|Upper part of West facade of Siena Cathedral.|
Left "arm" is a worker on a platform.
|Close up of the inlaid marble mosaic in the Duomo in Siena|
Can you believe for centuries this was WALKED on?
Now they've put small barricades to preserve them from wear.
|Example of barricades to preserve the mosaics.|
|Ceiling of the Duomo - Siena, Italy|
|Main Altar - Duomo di Siena|
|The Dome - Siena, Italy|
|Country side as we boarded the bus to leave Siena.|
We left Siena at approx. 11:20 a.m. headed to a farmhouse for lunch about 5 km from San Gimignano. Wonderful setting! Had lunch at Fattoria Poggio Alloro, one of the few farms left that is completely family owned and operated. The wonderful thing about our lunch is that everything we had but the cheese was grown and processed at the farm.
|View from the Balcony where we had lunch|
|Fattoria Poggio Alloro's vineyards.|
|On the balcony with the towers of San Gimignano in the background.|
Happy, happy, happy
|Lunch setting. So perfect!|
Here's a link to their website: http://fattoriapoggioalloro.com/?lang=en
Our menu included:
Bruschetta - They graciously gave me a gluten-free version. It was delicious!
|Pasta with Meat Sauce and Vernaccia di San Gimignano|
Pasta with Meat Sauce - Again I received gluten free pasta that tasted great. The meat sauce was awesome!
|Scott toasting the Chianti|
Sheep's cheese with Salami and Pancetta. Awesome with their Olive oil and GF crackers. We were also served an organic lettuce and tomato salad.
Dessert: Almond crackers with Vin Santo (a dessert wine). The crackers were dipped into the wine. Wine was too sweet for me.
|San Gimignano's tower along the skyline|
Wonderful atmosphere. The balcony outside of dining room had the most impressive view of San Gimignano. The towers were clear against the Tuscan skyline. Known as Medieval Manhattan.
|Scott and I with the farm's vineyards in the background|
Next we traveled to San Gimignano. No scheduled tour here. We were on our own. So off we went to explore the medieval city.
|Just outside the walls of San Gimignano|
|On the street in San Gimignano.|
Notice the stone blocks?
|This Gelateria is the World Champion Gelato Maker.|
They've won the award for two years.
Had Orange Grand Marnier and Tiramisu Gelato
Wow, so good. And handled the diary really well.
Must be a sign--I should live here!
I was in heaven browsing the luxury ceramic shops.
Wonderful narrow streets with inclines. Small fortified town with the original walls from the 13th century. San Gimignano was at its economic peak during the 13th and 14th centuries. At this time its skyline boasted more than 76 towers built by rivaling families to showcase their wealth and power. The higher the tower the wealthier and more powerful the family was the train of thought. Only 13 towers remain today.
|View from a street in San Gimignano|
|A door in San Gimignano|
|Hubby doesn't miss much that has two wheels!|
|Ride to Pisa, Italy|
We left at 3:15. Off to Pisa. A one-and-half hour ride. Beautiful country with farms, pastures, vineyards, and quaint towns in the distance. Saw the vivid outline of Volterra on a hilltop.
|Along the road in Tuscany|
Offloaded the bus outside the city and took a small choochoo train into the City. Pisa sits on the right bank of the Arno River near the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The Duomo, Leaning tower, and Baptistry are positioned there with a beautiful lawn in the square.
|The leaning tower is actually The Bell Tower of the cathedral|
|The Duomo in Pisa|
|Base of the Leaning Tower|
Scott once again trying to figure out how!
|The "Leaning" side|
|The Duomo in Pisa|
|Detailed doors of the Duomo|
Long day but so worth the time and money!
Had dinner at a nice Italian restaurant a block from the hotel--Ciro and Sons.
Brass pizza oven in center with an enclosed outdoor sitting area. Beautiful cool night. Had gf garlic bread, gnocchi with red sauce then chicken with truffles and mashed potato "florettes" excellent.
Couldn't handle dessert. Red wine cab/merlot blend.
Walked back to room...crashed.
Tomorrow back to Vicenza.