TUSCANY IN A WEEKEND: SAN GIMIGNANO – SIENA – FLORENCE

When you arrive in Tuscany you immediately realize that something has changed: the landscape. The roads cross the hills, which are covered with olive trees and vineyards and in a game of ups and downs you arrive in the heart of the region. On a weekend in April 2019 I decided to set off in the direction of San Gimignano, which would be my stronghold for this adventure of discovering Tuscany.

The stages of this small 3-day trip were:

– San Gimignano

– Siena and Monteriggioni

– Florence

Siena

Siena is famous for the “Palio delle Contrade”, which twice a year attracts thousands of people to the Piazza del Campo. Since 1632, this competition has taken place twice a year, on July 2 and August 16. It is a unique race in the world that brings the 17 districts of the city to compete in a race on horseback in turns of 10 participants.

Plaza del Campo Siena
Plaza del Campo Siena

The curious square has a shell shape and you can see 9 segments that divide it. These segments represent the Government of the Nine which was the main magistracy (13th century) of the Republic of Siena.

The beauty of this town is to get lost in the alleys and orient yourself with the large bell towers that overlook the city. On this tour of Siena I recommend you to pass through the Piazza del Campo, the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre di Mangia, and then get to the Cathedral of Siena.

After this long walk and these medieval buildings, even the belly wants its part and I recommend you to try Prètto Prosciuterria where I tasted for the first time the sandwich with Lampredotto.

Monteriggioni

I was passing through and stopped in the town of Monteriggioni. From the road you can see immediately sprouting from the hill this medieval village surrounded by walls where inside there is the small village. I suggest you to park in one of the parking lots near the entrance (€ / h 2.50 an hour is more than enough to visit, then € 3.50 per hour). I explored it in a short time and the view from the walls is recommended to admire the recognizable Tuscan landscape. I was sorry to learn that the tour of the city walls was not possible because it was not built, which is typical of medieval villages such as Cittadella (PD).

Village of Monteriggioni - Siena
Village of Monteriggioni – Siena

Florence

Oh Florence, arriving in the distance you can see from any promontory to descend into the valley a building that dominates the landscape: “Cupola di Brunelleschi”.

The Dome is the roof of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and is so famous for the fact that it is the largest masonry dome in the world ever built and of relevance to modern architecture.

Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore Florence
Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore Florence

“If you know where to look, Florence is paradise”

When I think of Florence, I can think of Professor Robert Langdon, the protagonist of Dan Brown’s book “Inferno”, set in Florence where it has taken place. This book has given me a lot of passion and gave me ideas for the tour of the city (I recommend reading it).

There are many things to see in Florence:

– Palazzo Pitti;

– Boboli Garden and the Cave of Buontalenti;

– Ponte Vecchio;

– The Uffizi where the Birth of Venus by Botticelli is exhibited;

– Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria;

– Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, Baptistery, Brunelleschi’s Dome;

– Gallery of the Academy of Florence where you can see Michelangelo’s David;

– Medici Chapels.

What to eat in Florence? I found a typical Florentine restaurant  “Trattoria il Pallottino” which I recommend to eat well and spend the right amount of money, I have allowed myself a nice T-bone steak.

San Gimignano

San Gimignano is the most curious of the medieval towns seen so far on this tour of Tuscany and has amazed me. It is not easy to reach it, you park outside and enter on foot and you immediately fill up with tourists. Wandering around the alleys I found many beautiful shops of typical products and following the climb I reached the top of the town, where I rested in the shade of an olive tree on a bench and listening to the notes of a street musician. In this timeless moment I was able to rest and enjoy a bit of Tuscan life, calm and fresh.

San Gimignano Village
San Gimignano Village

It is small to turn but still requires time to reach the various observation points and admire the landscape. I also found the Museum of Torture interesting. I would like to say that there are two museums in the same village, one as soon as you enter on the left (Museum on the Death Penalty) and one near the central square on the right (Museum of Medieval Criminology). I decided to visit the first which consists of a second part on the witches on the other side of the road (Museum of Torture). I found it very interesting, something different from the ordinary and not suitable for the weak of stomach. I learned some really gruesome techniques of torture.

Back from my weekend adventure in Tuscany, I look out the window and admire the hills of vineyards and olive groves:

– Good oil and Tuscan bread

Medieval villages and architectural art of Siena, Florence and San Gimignano

– The green of the hills and the red of Florence and good wine

With dreamy eyes I can tell you that this trip is approved by Call me Claire.

Claire

Call me Chiara, the idea is to take you with me on my travels and share with you my passions: from hiking in the mountains to days of kitesurfing, from urban cities to forests and all surrounded by the delights of the world.

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