Discovering Central Tuscany

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May 26th 2011
Published: May 28th 2011
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Walking through the Tuscan countrysideWalking through the Tuscan countrysideWalking through the Tuscan countryside

On the way to Bagno Vignoni from San Quirico D'Orcia
Spent 4 days exploring and discovering the delights of Central Tuscany and the rolling countryside and hilltop towns basking in the sunshine are a delight to behold. The first stop was MONTERIGGIONI which is a beautifully preserved medieval hilltop town totally surroundeded by high stone walls with 14 heavily fortified towers.

We were based in SAN QUIRICO D'ORCIA , another hilltop town and from our hotel we had an inspiring Tuscan panorama. Not too far away was the town of PIENZA again on a hilltop and having the distinction of being completely redesigned in Renaissance times by Pope Pius .

On our second day we walked from our hotel to a small medieval spa town called BAGNO VIGNONI. The walk, being about 10km took us up and over rolling countryside , in and out of woods and forests where we heard the rustle of wild boar. BAGNO VIGNONI has at its centre a large stone lined pool full of warm natural sulphurous water which bubbles up from volcanic rocks deep underground. The Romans once had baths here.

Later that same day we visited MONTALCINO which is yet another hilltop town and this one is the home of the Brunello wines which we tasted sitting out in the town square with the evening sun shining down on us.

We had a busy day out in SIENA discovering the many historic buildings scattered about the city which was built on 7 hills. Development within the city walls has been virtually frozen since the 16th century after the conquering Florentines repressed all further building. The city is crammed with medieval alleys, streets and buildings as well as far too many tourists.

Our last day in Central Tuscany took us to SAN GIMIGNANO which prides itself on 14 medieval towers although it once had 76 at the peak of its tower building. It is called the "City of Beautiful Towers" The city also lies on the pilgrim route from North Europe and we saw quite a few striding along the route on their way to Rome. It looked hard work in the blistering sun

Additional photos below
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St John the BaptistSt John the Baptist
St John the Baptist

The Chapel of St John the Baptist within the Duomo has a wonderful sculpture of the Saint within his own chapel
San GimignanoSan Gimignano
San Gimignano

View from the castle

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