Italy - Part 2 - Tuscan Hill Towns

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Click here for Italy - Part 3 - Florence & Lucca
Click here for Italy - Part 4 - Cinque Terre
Click here for Italy - Part 5 - Pisa, Banfi Winery, & Rome

After landing in Rome in the morning, we got our rental car and headed straight to Siena. We got hungry along the way and stopped just outside the hill town of Montepulciano and its city walls to eat. Since we had to be at our Siena AirBnB at a certain time, we were unable to walk inside Montepulciano, so if we ever get back to Tuscany, I've heard this is one of the hill towns that are a must visit.

This was our view of Siena from our AirBnB apartment on Via Aretina. It was a nice place just a short walk from the city walls. It had a very small private garage that our rental car just barely fit into.

Piazza Del Campo - the center of Siena

The Torre del Mangia tower - Built in 1338-1348, its the 2nd tallest secular tower in Italy.

night walk in Siena

The next morning, we set off for a day trip to see other hill towns in Tuscany. This is the outside south entrance to San Gimignano. You cannot park inside any of these hill towns...there isn't any room. There are pay parking lots just outside of the walls, so you park there and walk inside.

San Gimignano was one of our favorite stops, a beautiful Tuscan hill town.

This is the Rocca of Montestaffoli - an old 13th century fortress sitting on the highest ground in San Gimignano, and built to defend the city. Great views from the top.

So were so many places to eat in Italy just like this place, that sit along the narrow alley ways, and great places to people watch.

Greg, Charmaine, Kris, and Mac - we've known Greg and Charmaine for over 20 years, our kids grew up together and we remain best of friends to this day. Us two couples were a complete and compatible fit for a whirlwind trip like this.

This is the courtyard garden area of the Museo d'Arte Sacra - we met the priest who was standing by the garden and he showed us the local prisoners' artwork that was on display.

the bustling Piazza Cisterna

Doors of San Gimignano - all over Italy just like these - I was fascinated by the beautiful detailed doors, that are works of art, and super thick and sturdy too.

Cheese shop in San Gimignano

a beautiful San Gimignano alleyway

A San Gimignano wine, meat, and cheese shop

this is the north entrance/exit of San Gimignano - check out the masonry work - this was a steep hill and those grooves helped with walking up and down this street and not slipping.

Chiesa di Sant'Agostino - this church was built in 1260 and is in a quieter area of San Gimignano.

This is the outside wall entrance to Monteriggioni, a smaller Tuscan hill town

Piazza Roma in Monteriggioni and that is the Chiesa di santa Maria (church)

Entrance and doors of Monteriggioni

We had some wine and food at this place Ristorante Il Fuedo in the Piazza Roma - we asked the waiter about a small winery we could visit on the way back to Siena and he suggested Azienda Agricola La Lastra, so that's where we headed next.

It began to rain (the only day it rained on us) as entered Azienda Agricola La Lastra - we were the only guests. As we entered the building to look for someone, an employee was doing paperwork with 2 cats sitting on her lap. She stopped what she was doing and we did a tour/tasting, where I learned something new about Italian wines. Classic small Italian winery. 

Source: thewaterturtle

Italy - Part 2 - Tuscan Hill Towns