Wednesday, 19 September 2007

San Gimignano, Monteriggioni and Marina de Bibbona

This post covers a few days spent in Tuscany.

On Saturday morning we left the Adriatic coast and headed across the hills of central Italy to Tuscany. The drive reminded us of our time in the hills of France. It was very slow going up steep hair pin bends and then back down again trying not to go too fast!

Left: A few of the remaining towers

We passed through Florence, deciding not to stop. I have been to Florence twice before and never thought much of the place. We headed to a campsite 2 km outside the medieval town of San Gimignano and set up on a pitch outside the campsite in a secure car park area. The campsite was full!

That evening we caught the bus into town and walked around the old town. After taking a few photos we stopped at a small café for lasagne and Tuscan vegetable soup. I then enjoyed a lovely coffee and lemon ice cream from a gelateria which had won the 2006 World Gelato Championships. We went to find a taxi around 9pm but there were none so we had to walk back, often in semi-darkness, to the campsite.

The next morning we chilled out at the campsite as it was raining. That afternoon we went back into San Gimignano and chatted to a nice Canadian couple on the bus. I walked up the Grosse Torre (for the 3rd time in 11 years) to take some photos from the top of one of the remaining 13 towers the town possesses. In medieval times there were 72 towers here, demonstrating the wealth of various families who had become rich thanks to the trade that pilgrims brought on their way to Rome. For some reason the pilgrims got the hump in later years and stopped going through San Gimignano which was the beginning of the end of the town’s prosperity… until the tourist industry started of course!

Above: Florence - some people love it but it doesn't float my boat

This time we managed to catch the bus back at 7.30pm, not wanting to walk back in the dark again! On Monday morning we drove to the town of Monteriggioni, a superb walled town which was once owned by the nearby town of Siena. We had a look around town before driving through Volterra and onto the Mediterranean town of Marina di Bibbona. We have spent Monday and Tuesday at a nice campsite here enjoying the sunshine and lazing around the pool. We went to the beach yesterday afternoon but the sand is kinda grey! Today we are heading south and this time tomorrow we should be in Rome to meet up with my parents and their friends Steve and Jenny! Ciao for now!

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