Thursday, 1 November 2012

Monteriggioni and Siena, Tuscany

Today, we set off late in the morning and dropped a small gift into Patrizia and Massimo from "Castello della Paneretta." We were then heading to Siena, but on Patrizia's advice, we decided to also stop by the  thirteenth century walled medieval hilltop village of Monteriggioni. We are so glad we did! With a population of less than 100 people, it is one of the most beautiful villages in Tuscany. Surrounded by a complete wall containing fourteen towers, it also is home to a romanesque church, piazza and little cobbled streets. Despite it being a public holiday for All Saints Day in Italy today, little craft shops and gelateria remained open for the tourists who wished to absorb its charm. (As a point of interest for those who care, Monteriggioni also features in "Assassin's Creed: II")

After an hour or so spent in Monteriggioni, we drove on about another 13km before reaching the city of Siena - a UNESCO World Heritage site.Walking from the Stadium, we could see the cathedral, or Duomo, from the crest of the hill. We  strolled down winding streets until we eventually reached the expansive Piazza del Campo. People gathered in the sun, tossed coins in the fountain and patronised the many little restaurants encircling the piazza. It was a lovely feel.

As we made our way via undulating lane ways to Siena's Duomo, we could not help but be drawn in by the many unusual shopfronts. Florentine paper, sculptured Pinocchios, colourful leather and food stores crammed every space. Temptation seemed to be at every turn - at a price, of course!

The Duomo was an imposing sight, very detailed externally and in strikingly soft shades. We decided against paying the 40 euros for us all to enter. How many cathedrals can one family pay to see?

The entrance archway to Monteriggioni

Eloise in Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni's piazza

Romanesque church of Monteriggioni

Looking down towards Siena from the Stadium

Piazza del Campo, Siena

Eloise, Brett and Sean in Piazza del Campo, Siena

Eloise and Tricia in front of Siena's town hall

Piazza del Campo's elaborate fountain

Florentine stationery store, Siena

The Duomo, Siena

Soft shades and striking detail of Siena's Duomo

Sean, Eloise, Brett Snr and Brett in Siena

Eloise enjoys one of Siena's many sun-kissed fountains
And so, after one more necessary gelato stop, we headed home to our own little Tuscan village. Another delightful day had been had by all.                   Tricia

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