Herman & Judy Paris2Rome travel blog

Back lanes of Tuscany

Approach to San Gimignano

Nearly there-San Gimignano

Center of Town

View of the Piazza-San Gimignano

Tourists- San Gimignano

Town square-San Gimignano

Monday 24th September 2007 Weather:- Warm -29 degrees

(J) It is a good thing that I am writing my journal as it is the only thing that is reminding me of the date every day. At the moment it is "it must be---as we are in ---".

We drove along the back lanes of Tuscany this afternoon but first we had some domestic time, I did some ironing---the first time on this holiday Larissa you will be surprised to know---and Herman washed the car. We are fast learning that white lines on our map mean lane ways. Lane ways that are supposed to carry two way traffic but only 2 1/2 metres wide in parts with very bendy stretches with Speedy Gonzales's coming from the other direction. It is all part of the fun and we saw some really beautiful country today. We were able to pull over in a few side tracks to sit and enjoy the views. We were in cellar door country; the produce on offer around here is olive oils and wines.

The object of our travels was San Gimignano, the village that has been romanticized in my mind through watching many movies that have been filmed there, the latest being 'Tea with Mussolini'. I must admit that it is one of my favourite movies in recent years. After some hairy moments in the car driving over there we nearly did not get to see it. Police were moving all the approaching cars onward as all the car parks were full. We drove around to the other side of the 'old town' in our efforts to go home (along the wider roads) when Herman spotted someone leaving so after a little hike back we made it. One of the photos on top was taken on our approach to the town and you can just make out the silhouette, it is a little hazy as unfortunately we had to focus into the sun.

San Gimignano is the utmost example of a medieval town. I cannot describe to you how beautiful it is. When you approach and enter through the town gate you are faced with a wide alley lined with shops on each side that runs strait up the hill to the town centre. To see the different architecture and the layout of the town is a joy to behold. A lot of the shops are selling glazed terracotta pots and plates of all sizes, all decorated in the Tuscan style with painted on grapes and such, very colourful to look at (you can buy the 'made in Tuscany' items cheaper in David Jones though). The other main businesses are wine shops and leather hand bags. It is the immaculate look of the place that strikes you, every owner really looks after their properties with flower pots placed in a lot of the nooks and crannies. Of course we must not forget the gelato shops and the eateries; I don't think that there are too many places that are more pleasant to sit in and to take in the ambiance or just to while away a pleasant afternoon (which we did, with a glass of wine and beer for himself). Oh I forgot to mention that the gelataria in the main square won the 'world's best gelato contest, 2006-07'. No, we did not have a gelato there; we had already had one. Mantova still has the best gelato that we have tasted so far. Getting back to San Gimignano we were shoulder to shoulder with other tourists on the same mission but the town and the 14 remaining towers reigned over us and we had eyes only for it. Finally Herman said "I do not want to drive in the dark and we still have to do some grocery shopping" so of home we went, this time over wider roads via Poggibonsi, a little town that is about 8 kilometres away from our place. The drive home was very pleasant, not quite as picturesque but it got us home safely. There are only so many adventurous drives that should be taken in one day. Tomorrow we are off to that leaning tower, a 1 ½ hour drive each way.

P.S. I spoke to our friends Rosalia and Willie on the telephone today and they asked the question "with some of your negative comments, are you enjoying your holiday" and the answer is "off course,they are all part of it". This experience is only once in a lifetime, for if we go back at any time it will never be as good, and we are savouring every minute of it.

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