From Florence (we'll get there later) during our four nights there, we had scheduled two day trips into the heart of Tuscany and Cinque Terre. Siena was our first stop (previous post) on this first day trip, and from there we headed to a winery and organic farm in the Chianti region for a tour and lunch (with views of San Gimignano - tiny skyline in the background of the picture above). As you can also tell from the picture above, just in time for beautiful views of the countryside, the sun started to peak out and reveal a perfect blue sky and cloud mixture.
The Tuscan countryside is amazing. Getting to see the inner workings of a family owned organic farm and winery was forever memorable. Having a homemade pasta with bruschetta lunch and wine pairing at a long table with dozens of other happy tourists - the ones sitting next to us from Iowa but lived for a time in Fishers believe it or not, which we found out before she spilled wine all over him (I digress) - was delightful. Huge bushes of bay leaves for the taking: priceless.
San Gimignano. Gee-mignon-oh. Like Filet Mignon. I think I've got it. But you wouldn't know because this is a written blog (Katie can vouch for my pronunciation skills). Anyway, this small, rustic town is referred to as the "Medieval Manhattan", or "The Town of Fine Towers". It is known for its medieval towers that have (mostly) lasted through the ages and gives it a noticeable skyline, unlike other Italian cities.
There was an intense Italian feel about this place. This image of six Italian men shooting the breeze and watching the tourists admire their town will be etched in my memory. Oh to have pulled up a chair and joined their conversation (and to have known their language)!
Like anywhere else in Italy, there is much history and art baked into the buildings and towers. Simply being in the midst of it is an incredible experience.
Now to Pisa, the town known for its questionable architectural design, but actually containing some of the most memorable sites I have ever seen. That tower though.