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Published: August 21st 2014
The magnificent view from our window overlooking Florence (Firenze). It is stunning seeing it in person.
Again sorry for the delay in writing the blogs - after arriving at the magnificent Pensione Bencistà up in the hills overlooking Florence, we have been quite busy checking out Florence itself and all it has to offer, plus two full days traveling to places such as Cinque Terre, San Gimignano and Chianti, another day doing the hop on and hop off bus and a wee bit of shopping - can't do much as we're limited as mentioned before but if we weren't we certainly would be!!!!
Staying in the Tuscany area and visiting it has been an eye opener and we have loved being here very much. Life is quite simple and easy going with most people growing their own produce and just enjoying themselves.
Okay it took us a few hours traveling on the bus to Cinque Terre - means 5 villages in the area and we covered them all - up hill and down dale - legs are still sore but it was worth it. The country side is just beautiful - no photos will do it justice. We went by bus, train and boat to the 5 vlllages. We had a lovely
The front entrance - no matter where you looked around this place, it was just beautiful
fish lunch at a village called Monterosso which is called the 'pearl of the Cinque Terre. Other villages were Manarola, Vernazza, Riomaggiore and Corniglia - all by the sea and up on the hillsides. It was an unforgettable day looking at the very impressive Ligurian landscapes - this area has been declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage area for it's unique sea and earth blend of 18 kilometres of rocky coast (agree with this!!) with caves, beaches, paths and breathtaking views. The villages date back to the 13th century!! A lot of buildings are still standing or have been renovated. We spent some time with people from Canada, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane over the 2 days.
Next day was spent at San Gimignano (San Gimmi) which is in the Chianti area and the medieval area town of Siena before going onto Chiant. We spent a lot of the time in walled city in San Gimmi which was quite amazing - looked at a leather jacket there but didn't get it - lots of shops there and eating places - the history in the walled city was amazing and some parts of this area have been around since 800BC...
One of the villages in Cinque Terre
so we were told. We went on to Chianti where we had a typical Tuscan lunch - it was beautiful winery and the food was lovely. We had a girl from the winery who kept us all entertained during our time there and it was good fun and we enjoyed it there. Siena is a lovely place which hosts the world famous PALIO race - we missed it by 3 days... but saw photos and the crowds were huge. Most of the crowd were in the middle of the ring and the race was around them - glad we weren't in there had we been there, of course - you would be stuck in there for hours with no way out until the racing had finished. When we were there, some areas still had some sand used for the track otherwise you wouldn't have realised it had been on.... the photos and the flags in the town were the only other way of knowing perhaps.
This tour finished with a tour to the Monteriggioni fortress - John went into have a look and I stayed on the bus - enough uphill walks for me for the last 2 days!
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