One day in San Gimignano and Siena

One day in San Gimignano and Siena

We were going to brace the heatwave today and went for day trip to San Gimignano and Siena. I read this morning that San Gimignano would be one of the city in North Italy impacted most by heatwave. I must be crazy but we were already in Tuscany so it’d be a shame to miss San Gimignano. So off we go!

Alessandro, our driver picked us up at home and we stopped first at Coop Supermarket to buy some snacks for Fabio and Achita. Road from Panzano to San Gimignano was also very scenic. I could not get tired with the beautiful rolling hills of Chianti. The kids of course fell asleep as soon as the car starts.

San Gimignano

Piazza della Cisterna, named for the cistern that is served by the old well standing in the center of this square. 

San Gimignano, a small walled village about halfway between Florence and Siena, is famous for its fascinating medieval architecture and towers that rise above all the other buildings offering an impressive view of the city from the surrounding valley. At the height of its glory, San Gimignano’s patrician families had built around 72 tower-houses as symbols of their wealth and power. Although only 14 have survived, San Gimignano still retains its feudal atmosphere and appearance.

Alessandro dropped us in front of San Gimignano’s wall as cars were not allowed to enter within the city wall. We stopped for lunch first as Achita was awake and we were hungry. She asked for spaghetti and finished half portion, not bad!

After lunch we started strolling and tried to walk as much in the shade and took many stops to just enjoy the ambiance. We tasted their gelatos, drink a lot and slap more sunscreen.

Siena

Siena is known for Italy’s loveliest medieval city and worth a a trip even if you are in Tuscany for just a few days. Siena’s heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run here, a horse race run around the piazza two times every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace.

Siena is said to have been founded by Senius, son of Remus, one of the two legendary founders of Rome thus Siena’s emblem is the she-wolf who suckled Remus and Romulus – you’ll find many statues throughout the city. The city sits over three hills with its heart the huge piazza del Campo, where the Roman forum used to be. Rebuilt during the rule of the Council of Nine, a quasi-democratic group from 1287 to 1355, the nine sections of the fan-like brick pavement of the piazza represent the council and symbolizes the Madonna’s cloak which shelters Siena.

The Campo is dominated by the red Palazzo Pubblico and its tower, Torre del Mangia. Along with the Duomo of Siena, the Palazzo Pubblico was also built during the same period of rule by the Council of Nine. The civic palace, built between 1297 and 1310, still houses the city’s municipal offices much like Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Its internal courtyard has entrances to the Torre del Mangia and to the Civic Museum.

Siena is only 30 minutes drive from San Gimignano. Alessandro dropped us at the city wall because the car can not go in and told us to walk straight to Duomo which would be the center of Siena. As we walked to Duomo with Alyssa sleeping in her stroller I found out that the path to Duomo is ascending. I was about to have a mild heart attack after the last climb pushing a stroller. But the view from the top was breathtaking and I felt better right away.

The heatwave was more bearable in Siena because it had many alleys who are shaded. Before going home we stopped by for more gelato from Nannini cafe as we walked back to the car.

We arrived home just in time for dinner. Rosalba, our host have made us dinner of homemade pasta with truffle cheese and strawberry dessert which OMG tasted so delicious.

If you ever needed a driver in Chianti I could recommend Alessandro who is based in Greve in Chianti. His car was very comfortable and he was also polite, friendly and drive well.

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