Keep your eyes on the road, your hand upon the wheel...
17.06.2010 - 17.06.2010 16 °C
We covered some ground over the next six days. About 1200 Kms, actually. Not including Milan and Florence, we visited 21 towns and cities in Tuscany and Umbria. Many were small and only took an hour or so to explore. And the driving takes focus since the roads are quite winding and not nearly as wide as those we are used to in North America - but you can drive on the same side. So it was a relative breeze compared to last year's drive around Southern Ireland- definitely had more confidence after having driven on the opposite side of roads with stone walls instead of shoulders.
Plus, we were lucky to have fairly empty roads once we were off the main freeways - no impatient queues behind me, as locals just zipped past regardless of speed limit (or a clear view ahead). And once I got used to the clutch, and learned how to find reverse (special trick we also don't have to deal with in North America) we were on our way.
The first foray took us from Siena to the north, first to San Gimignano which is a medieval hill town famous for its 'skyscrapers'. Only a few of the originals still survive.
It was market day so we trawled through racks of clothes, tables of shoes and handbags, and found a few good bargains (10 Euro for a dress, 20 for new sandals since I'd worn out another pair by this point).
We had covered most of the town but had to dash when a wicked downpour hit. We moved down the road a few miles to the next town, Colle de Val d'Elsa, but it found us there not long after.
Our last stop on the way back to Siena was the tiny walled village of Monteriggioni. It looks most impressive in this aerial shot I found:
It was so petite, we could walk between its two main gates in about two minutes. Dante apparently took inspiration from the town when writing his Inferno. But it seemed a perfectly quaint little berg to me...