Tuscan hills – Siena – Rome

22 May

Tuscan hills – Siena – Roma I’ve been a little lazy with typing out my posts lately, so I’ll be honest and tell you all we’ve just disembarked the ship at the end of our cruise. Yes a whole week or 2 has gone by but hey, I’m on holidays.
I’ve failed miserably in the Pisa – Florence blog. The day we visited Florence we went out to what we all say was the best dinner experienced, at least so far. We are all excited, we are heading to hills of Tuscany for meal of epic proportions. Frattoria il Poggio is a little winery and olive farm not far from where we were staying. Our host for the night took us all on a little tour of the winery and how it all works. Her best advice was, “watch the movie called under the Tuscan sun.” she says, “you know what? It’s all BULLSHIT!!” it’s not a real good depiction of the hard work that actually goes on.
After we finished in Florence we took an optional extra tour of a medieval city called San Gimignano. It’s one of the original standing cities of its kind, very beautiful and old. There is a little shop that is world famous for its gelato, the sign says he’s a world champion. Many flavours to choose from. I had to try some as George Lucas (for the people who don’t live in this universe he is the director of the Star Wars franchise) has sampled the gelato here, the chocolate flavour was outstanding.
San Gimignano also has a beautiful white wine that they produce in the hills. We’ve found a nice little winery called the diVinorum, we walked through and out the back overlooking the hills outside in the sun. Very peaceful and was a 2 bottle sitting between six, with Rick & Kerry our new Aussie friends on the bus buying a nice plate of cheese samples. This place is a must visit for anyone, the hills here are beautiful.
Today is the last day of our Italy tour. We visited the The historic centre of Siena. It has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation’s most visited tourist attractions. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.
The Palio di Siena is a traditional medieval horse race run around the Piazza del Campo twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August. The event is attended by large crowds, and is widely televised. Seventeen Contrade (which are city neighbourhoods originally formed as battalions for the city’s defence) vie for the trophy: a painted banner, or Palio bearing an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For each race a new Palio is commissioned by well-known artists and Palios won over many years can often be seen in the local Contrade museum. During each Palio period, the city is decked out in lamps and flags bearing the Contrade colours. Having seen this race on tv I’m amazed at the very small area in the city square where it’s held. The race only goes for 3 minutes yet the crowds are huge, passionate and a touch crazy.
Back in Rome for the night and out to dinner with most of the tour group, the restaurant we dined at had previously tried to do some renovations some time ago, unfortunately for them an old roman villa was discovered when the excavated. Whoosh in come the authorities and shut the work down. There is now most of the villa unearthed and a roof placed over it. You could say its now a bit of a touchy point, it provides for a good calling card for an interesting meal. During dinner we where serenaded by two lovely opera singers. Back on the bus and we all joined for a sing-along. Our tour director even sang old McDonald’s farm in Italian. I promised him the video wouldn’t be posted, anyone that sees me in our travels is more than welcome to see it. Weve made lots of new friends from all over the world and we are looking forward to keeping in touch.
Arrivederci
PS. we are now in Phuket so I’m heaps lazy.

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