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Published: November 2nd 2017
One thing we learned about each other while traveling together, roller bags in tow, is that we both roll with no matter what misadventures come our way. Our short train ride to San Gimigniano got lengthened with a side trip to Lucca because we got on the wrong train (or at least the wrong direction from Florence). At least we got to see Pisa, though there were no leaning towers in view. The trains are fast and comfortable so we relaxed and made friends with fellow travelers along the way.
Arriving late, at sunset, we were lucky to be picked up by our Airbnb host at the train station, probably because he wanted to go out to dinner with his own family. Antonio owns a bunch of apartments, a vineyard (all grapes already picked) and an olive grove where his family are all involved in harvesting right now. We offer to help but he insists we will enjoy ourselves in San Gimi this time around but to plan on a return trip soon.
He drives us right up to our doorway, a small wooden plank, set deep into a stone wall of a 14 century building complete with worn
stone steps and vaulted ceilings. Luckily, we find the apartment fully modernized with big screen TV (never to be used), dishwasher (neither used), hot water (yes, we used it regularly) and lovely living room, dining table and deluxe comfy bed! Our window look out onto a medieval square with cutaways for soldiers, tethered horses and towers for scouting the enemies. Of course, now we score Chianti Classico, fresh bread, olives and cheeses for our own cicchetti (apps) in house before wandering through the city in search of dinner.
For the first time, I wake early enough to get a power walk in the morning before Peter gets up. Tomorrow I will take my camera because the light is incredible here too! Thursdays are market days so the two town squares are both filled with vendors selling homemade Italian goods & food. Peter finds a pair of sleek slacks that he never would have purchased at home, but here they are perfect. I scavenge more bread & cheese plus the local salami made often from boar meat, plus more olives, this time small black ones like Nicoise, which are delicious.
There are unlimited photo ops here! Climbing a tower
gives us the opportunity for panoramic shots but it seems like even on the small roads and stairways we find better views. Our dinner caps off the day perfectly with the most incredible riboletta (vegetable & bean soup) with a big soup spoon full of fresh black truffle shavings piled in olive oil. Peter savored fresh pici di santa Fina (a local specialty pasta like thick spaghetti) with saffron & leeks. I've become addicted to the spritz cocktail made of either Aperol or Campari with sparkling wine & soda and beer finally found a beer that tasted of hops and it was made right here in San Gimignano.
Travelers - San Gimignano is a must if you come after the tourist season ends in Sept. but plan to eat early since many places close up by 1800 (6:00pm). Most tourists head out of town by nightfall so strolling these stone streets in the evening feels like you're traveling back in time.
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