A Travellerspoint blog

Siena and Monteriggioni

Tuscany at its best

Today we traveled to Siena, a beautiful town in Tuscany. It was about a two hour bus ride from our hotel. Siena is known for its yearly horse race around the square. It is a beautiful town and we were sorry that we didn't get to spend more time there. It rained off and on today, so umbrellas were kept handy.

This is our group walking from the bus to the town center.

This is the town center where the horse race occurs around the square


We took a town tour and ended up at a church made of both white and black marble. We had never seen anything like this before


After the church we had time on our own and of course we headed to lunch. I had an unusual dish, it was Zucchini flours stuffed with ricotta. The Zucchini flower is what comes first on a plant and the actual Zucchini grows from this flower. It was very good. Kelly's lunch is in the back ground. The meat on his dish is wild boar.


We then headed back to the bus for the 20 minute ride to Monteriggioni. This is a walled city between Florence and Siena. It is pretty amazing.


We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time here either. We had a pastry tasting at the winery inside the walls. This also included about three wines we got to taste.


The winemaker is the great grandson many times over from the original owner of this whole town. He was about 35 years old and very proud of his wine. This is a photo of how they stacked their wine. Kelly wants David to buy and stack his wine like this.


We then headed back to our hotel. We bought wine from the winery and the bus stopped at a grocery store where we bought cheese, meat and bread. Dinner was all of us sitting around a table in the courtyard listening to Italian music. A very memorable night.

All in all another great day in Tuscany. Here's our day tomorrow. We change hotels and visit the leaning tower of Pisa.


Nighty night,

Posted by barbjean 12:37 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Another day in Florence

Visiting museums

Today we went with the tour group back to Florence to visit a couple museums. We went to the Uffizi where we saw several famous paintings to include The "Birth of Venus" by Botticelli and several other great works .


Michel Angelo...


And the Accademia Gallery where we saw the original David by Michel Angelo.


We then went to the Borga where we had another wonderful dinner which again included limitless wine....we are so getting use to this. Here's a photo of the dinner, kinda blurry, but you can see me in the background.


Our agenda for tomorrow is...


Thanks Adam for the Chiefs and Royals report, we do miss watching games. This hotel has English speaking channel, CNN international, but prior to coming here, we have had no TV we could understand.

Nighty night,

Posted by barbjean 12:14 Comments (0)

Our tour begins

The Italy we were looking for

Our transport arrived at 11:30 and we were off to the next hotel which was in fact a working vineyard. It's called Hotel Paggeria Medicea and it is beautiful. Built in 1596 the villa was the summer home for the family. Down below in the valley is a Borga, which Was described to us as the village outside the rich people's property. The workers in the vineyard lived in the Borga. Truly spectacular, the view in every direction is amazing.


The above pic is of the villa. Below is the view with of the olive groves and vineyard in the valley. This is also the view outside our door.


We spent the day lazing around the grounds. They have a wonderful pool, but we couldn't fit our swimsuits in our bags, so we just grabbed some lounge chairs In the shade and dozed off our lunch. For dinner tonight we had a five course meal with limitless wine. This was part of our tour, which consist of 38 people, all from the U.S. First course was salad, then the ravioli with meat sauce, next was pasta with vegetables, then grilled meats to include chicken, sausage, ribs and this came with potatoes and spinch and the final course was a dessert. It was all served as family style, which is referred to as Tuscan style here. It was delicious and once again we are going to sleep (dinner ended at 9:30) with too much food on our stomachs.

Our tour guide is a female who I'm guessing is early 30's. She is from a town outside of Venice. Three years ago she moved to Chicago with her husband and they just moved back about two weeks ago. While in the U.S. She had a son. So he is an American citizen. She speaks great English and will help make this trip smooth. I can't begin to explain some of the 38 personalities on this trip. Kelly has already taken to giving them nicknames based on their personalities.

The Internet is much better here, so I'm including a picture from yesterday. Leslie will appreciate my salad :)


Here's our agenda for tomorrow


Nighty night,

Posted by barbjean 13:07 Archived in Italy Comments (2)

Good morning

A couple items of Italian interest

No wash clothes. Seriously they don't have anything that could even be used as a wash cloth. At some point on this trip I'm going to have to ask how they go about washing without a cloth. Jerry told us to bring a cloth with us, so we were prepared.

Bidets, my personal experience so far. Yes, for any of you that aren't aware, the water temp is changeable and in some cases the spout is adjustable. But if it is not adjustable, beware cause the water can shoot straight through and get the back of your pants wet.....embarrassing till you dry. Then there is the question of drying off? Cause your pretty wet after all that water running. In both hotel bathrooms so far there have been these light weight cotton towels hanging beside the bidet (see pic)


Are these there to dry off? Yuck, I can't commit to wiping on a cotton towel that I have to leave for housekeeping. I just am thankful I didn't mistake those towels for a wash cloth!

Clothing, all kinds on all ages. I've seen some incredibly fashioned women and men. It seems anything goes and everyone seems so put together. Lots of jeans being worn by the young. Not too many high heels, mostly flats. Not too many scarfs (something I expected because almost everyone wears one in Paris). I've seen one man with jeans, tshirt and a scarf. Lots of dresses, even on the women riding on bikes or motorcycles. The most common tennis shoe is the basic white converse. Every other young person is wearing them. I was able to window shop at a shoe store (since my full suitcase won't allow for another item I couldn't shop without leaving something behind) and found several pairs I would have loved to have. I've decided to look them up when I get home and see if I can't have them shipped to the house. ;)

Food has been very reasonable. Last night Kelly had a steak and baked potatoes and I had Ravioli with spinach and tomatoes. It ended up costing about 42€. It was Jerrys turn to buy the wine, so we didn't have that expense. A couple nights ago I had Knocchi with pesto and Parmesan, I'll add a pic. It was fantastic, like everything has been. I've lost count, but I think Kelly has had pizza for lunch at least four times already.


Here's one more scenic photo (sorry about the poor quality, I'm having to take a photo with my iPad of the photo on my camera or phone due to Ben not getting here with my converter.)



Posted by barbjean 00:44 Archived in Italy Comments (0)


From a day in Florence

This is a shop we passed while walking around town. They seem to sell a little bit of everything.


We stopped at a cafe and I found this in the ladies toilet, hummm they must not be able to afford a bidet


As I posted earlier, tomorrow we join up with the tour group. They will be picking us up at out hotel at noon and then we will head into the country where we will be staying at a working vineyard for the first three nights. Here's what our guide book says.


Night, night,

Posted by barbjean 13:54 Comments (0)

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