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Published: June 21st 2017
San Gimignano 11-10-14
Geo: 43.3187, 11.3305
This was the second day that we spent touring with Alessandro Cammilli. He picked us up smack on time at 9.30am and we headed straight to San Gimignano. This was a gorgeous little town, although it didn't feel like a real place, more like a theme park town, such as Sovereign Hill here in Australia. There didn't seem to be any real shops for people to buy groceries etc, only touristy type shops. Still, as said it was gorgeous and we paid to climb up the tallest tower, Torre Grossa, for the sensational views.
Next stop was Siena, another lovely place, much larger than San Gimignano. Ale explained about the 17 contrades that compete in the Palio and showed us how each area of Siena has different signs according to its contrade – for example there is a contrade of Little Owl, She-Wolf, Dragon and so on, all with their own symbols and colours. We wandered through the town with the map that Ale provided and obviously ended up in Piazza del Campo. We wandered around taking it all in, before stopping at a little bar for a glass of wine with a snack for some people
Piazza del Campo in Siena
Piazza del Campo Siena 11-10-14
watching. We then visited the Duomo of Siena before moving on to the next stop which was Castellina in Chianti. Again more wandering, people watching and photo taking.
It was now time for lunch and Ale asked if we had any requests. We asked to visit Dario the Butcher in Panzano as I had read so much about it. Unfortunately for us Dario was away in London for the weekend, but we still got to try his amazing restaurant. It was lovely – we sat outside on a long communal table that tilted down the hill and chatted with fellow guests from Kuwait and Turkey. We weren't terribly hungry having recently had a snack, so we chose the Burger with salad, chips and a jug of red. We chose the small size and thank goodness we did as it was huge! It was also totally delicious.
We next stopped at a winery, Montagliaro. Ale took us on a wonderful tour and helped us taste Chianti Classico, Chianti Reserva as well as a Super Tuscan. We also got to taste olive oil and the most amazing balsamic I have ever tried.
Our next visit was to Greve in Chianti. A very
Duomo of Siena
Duomo of Siena 11-10-14
pretty place. We had a wander around and at the end of the visit a lady came out of a small bar and asked us to sit down at a table outside where Ale had organised for us to taste three different types of pecorino cheese, along with wild boar salami and prosciutto. I had wanted to try a brunello di montalcino and he had also arranged for glasses of this to be supplied. Ale is truly an amazing tour guide, and all these tastings were included in his price.
G then asked if there were any castles that we could visit in Tuscany. No problem said Ale. He took us to Castello Vicchiomaggio for yet more wine tasting. There was actually a wedding underway at the time, but Ale said not to worry, he knew the owners. True enough we got to explore the castello with the wedding in the background, before heading out onto a terrace with amazing views for wine tasting. This castello was apparently where Leonardo da Vinci stayed while painting the Mona Lisa.
This was the end of our wonderful day with Ale who then dropped us back in Florence. We were tired after such a
long day, that we simply wandered down the street and ate dinner a little trattoria named Casa del Vin Santo. I had perfectly acceptable chicken with mustard sauce and G decided to yet again order a cotoletta hoping to get one as good as the one I ate back in Milan. Alas, this was nothing like the one I had, but simply a fairly chewy schnitzel. The weather changed just after we had eaten and there was a torrential downpour together with thunder and lightening, so we were rapidly moved from our outdoor table to an inside one, where it was very cosy, sipping on wine and watching the storm outside.
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