Jane and Mark's Taste of Italy 2017 travel blog

Select your flavour for gelato

Walking through groves of gnarly olive trees

Oh no! Another steep bit to climb!

Just delightful walking

Minature cyclamens growing throughout the forest

Here is the walking route map

This is the symbol for Francigena pilgrims

Rolling Tuscan hills

Wild pig a popular protein

A view from the top of San Gimignano

Saturday was our walk to a winery in the hills out from San Gimignano. I am with heavy head cold and fruity chest.Blah!

Nonetheless, Codral tabs frequently and antibiotics must surely kick in sooner or later.

The sun is glorious. We are off to walk to Carlesi Zucconi winery run by an englishman, can you believe.!

Gabriele is a little concerned about the laxity of this man’s phone response, when trying to organise a light lunch and wine tasting.

The walk is beautiful, winding down to creeks and up the other side of the hill, through olive groves and vineyards.

The Franciegena track is not always well signposted. On several occasions throughout this trip we have trudged up hills to find that we have taken the wrong turn!

We finally arrive at the winery, to find nothing ready.

After a lot of time wasting, we are finally sat down to Florintine bread, which incidently has no salt, a tradition still held from the days when salt was like gold. Salt, olive oil, a few olives, some not so tasty slices of brawn and salami was the lunch menu. Fortunately, Gabriele has brought along some cherry tomatoes and apples.

We tasted, and not a lot, some white, and some red wines. The red wine was off! This englishman did not impress any of us. After a three hour sit over this lunch, we set off again back to San Gimignano.

A total of 16kms.

Sunday was to be the 20km walk from San Gimignano to Siena. It was raining. I was feeling lousy. So Mark, Juliet and Gabriele were the only ones to do the walk. The rest of us caught a lift to Siena, just about 30 kms away.

The walkers made great time, 4.5 hours.

The rest of us walked a shorter distance into the Siena city piazza.

The Palio di Siena is a horse race held twice a year in July and August in this piazza. 10 horses are raced bare back, riders dressed in appropriate colours representing 10 of the 17 city wards- contrade.

Check it out on youtube. It is a big deal for Siena.

The food shops are loaded with Siena cakes, yet to try, but have one for our walk tomorrow to contribute to the picnic.

At breakfast this morning, we met an Australian, Paul from Sydney. He rides his bike all over the world. He has a cycling blog, website paulsadventures.net

He was keen to talk, and looks like he rides a lot.

We are now in the hills of Montalcino, staying at Il Giglio! This hotel has been operational since 1898.

A gorgeous small town in the hills. There seems to be a lot more cyclists here. Today we went to an all female operated winery. We lunched on farro spelt and bean soup, some cold cuts of meat and a taste of a ricotta dessert. The big attraction was the Brunello di Montalcino 2012 wine, by far the finest red wine we have tasted. This is made with Sangiiovese grapes 100% and retails for 180€ a bottle.

Nice to have a rest day.

Looking forward to a walk tomorrow.

We will stay in Orvieto tomorrow night, then head to Rome for a couple of nights.

Sounds pretty good to me!

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