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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Siena, Toscana, Italy

Oct 19, 2010 - Tuscany, Italy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010. A beautiful day "Under the Tuscan Sun" (rent the movie by that name) and we made the most of it with visits to Monteriggioni and San Gimignano. Ok, you ask, “What!?”. Monteriggioni is just 12 miles from where we’re staying. It is one of the most perfectly preserved fortified villages in all of Italy. Towers were the trademark of Italian castles and all 14 for this town have survived. It was a far cry from the touristy, crowded castle town of Siena. Here we almost felt like we were tenants instead of tourists. We...

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Oct 18, 2010 - Siena, Italy

Monday, October 18, 2010. Drove the short distance to the old hilltop town of Siena, the ride seemed longer because of the winding roads we travelled which sometimes seemed to double back on themselves. Traffic and parking bad as usual. But we parked next to Fort St. Barbara and walked to the church of San Domenico where we found the chapel dedicated to St. Catherine. St. Catherine was noted for experiencing the stigmata and convincing the Pope to move the Church from France to Rome in the mid 1300’s. She died at the early age of 33. From...

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Oct 17, 2010 - Siena, Italy

Sunday, October 17, 2010. One of the nicest days we’ve had yet for our 140 mile drive to Siena with a stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. The church is the cathedral for Pisa. Work on the tower, which is the bell tower for the cathedral, started in 1173. They got 3 floors built by 1178 and noticed that it was starting to tilt already. Fortunately?? work was delayed A CENTURY because of all the wars being fought in the region. But, for the tower, that was good because it allowed the poor substrate of the foundation to settle otherwise it...

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Oct 13, 2010 - Tuscany to the Cinque Terra

October 13, 2010 I write this as I am sitting on the balcony of our room in Casa Lorenza in Riomaggiore, the first of the Cinque Terra villages. Yesterday, we toured Monteriggione, Italy’s perfectly preserved fortified village, very small (two streets), but you get a very good idea of what it must have been like in Medieval times, living within the walls. From there we took a very steep and winding road to Volterra. Let me just say here that Italian drivers are ridiculously aggressive. I had to get used to looking in the rearview mirror and...

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Oct 11, 2010 - Tuscany!

Nancy and I left Florence behind with a mix of excitement and sadness. I loved Florence and was somewhat reluctant to leave our lovely home behind. But the day had come to get our rental car and head for the hills. Literally. With maps clutched in my hands, Nancy took the wheel while I navigated us through the city streets and out to the country. Claudio – our wonderful host in Florence – had spent a goodly part of his morning helping us secure lodging in Sienna. My concept of being able to land where we liked was not practical as we...

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Sep 26, 2010 - Days 30-32: Southern Tuscany

Days 30-32: Southern Tuscany The area: Think of the Chianti region mountains and hills as Big Sur on steroids; 190,000 sq miles of vineyards and olive groves, makes Napa and Sonoma seem like a backyard garden; green vegetation colors are so muted it is hard to tell the difference between olive groves and grapes in a panorama; area is littered with fortresses, castles turned villas and narrow-streeted villages. Not one, but five San Donato’s Left rested, but with great regret, our mill haven in Torfori of the Lucca district. Had come to...

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Sep 25, 2010 - Volterra,Italy

On the way to Volterra from Florence we visited a friend of one of Dellie°s co-worker, a short fun visit. Had troubled finding their house so we knocked on somebodys door, they made a phone call and got the direction and the man lead us with his car to her house. We then continue on through Tucsany to the walled hilltop town of Volterra. Driving on small country roads, with small villages passed fields of sunflowers that are now dried and brown. Camped near the old city walls of Volterra. Finished dinner just before the heavy rain...

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Jun 28, 2010 - A day in Siena

We traveled to Siena today from Florence. When we got to siena, we didn't have any accomidations so we went to the tourist office. They found us this very cute bed an breakfast. We had to splurge a little for this place but it was worth it. After we found our place to stay we explored Siena. We visited the churches and the main square which was set up for their famous horse race that happens every year. Horses and riders ride 3 times around the square and the horse that finishes first(with or without the rider) wins honor for that region of...

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May 23, 2010 - Sienna - Amore!

Arrived in Sienna in the Tuscany area today. So nice and sunny. Our hotel is part of a converted convent. It has been totally rehabbed and is very nice. What a great view. All of the rooms only have single beds. You can push them together yourself and go to confession later. (blushing while I write). Climbed 300+ steps to a central tower for a magnificent view to work up an appetite for lunch overlooking the main town square. The square is famous for horse racing two times a year (kind of like running with the bulls without the blood)....

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May 12, 2010 - Italy: Siena and Pienza

OK, Tuscany was a surprise. It is really everything it's cracked up to be--maybe more. Driving through the countryside proved to be easy and fun. Sienna is a wonder of beautiful architecture and the shell-shaped campo where their famous horse race takes place every year. You saw it at the beginning of the movie "Quantum of Solace." The cathedral with it's inlaid floor and black and white marble striped columns....amazing. Michelangelo wrote letters about it as he travelled back and forth from Florence to Rome while completing works for Pope...

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Mar 23, 2010 - Siena - got to love the traffic

Up again today a little late – isn’t that what vacation is for?? Had breakfast – some pastries that we had picked up the day before in Pienza= chocolate, cream and apricot. Isabel stopped by this morning- she is feeling much better. She gave us some advice about parking in Siena for our trip today – talked about the snow storm they had on March 9 – sounds like several feet of snow feel that day. She also gave us a recommendation about which bath/hot spring/spa would be good to visit tomorrow. Finished getting ready and went into town for...

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Oct 15, 2009 - Siena

@@@@@@@ The sun was getting rather low in the sky and the traffic was getting rather high on the roads as we traveled by bus from San Gimignano to Siena. We probably should have started earlier in the day, we left at the crack of noon, as is our habit. Perhaps we should have taken a little less time in San Gimignano but the place was like no other and we hadn’t been in a hurry to leave. Then again, if we had paid attention to the bus schedule we would have arrived at the bus stop in time to catch a bus right away. Instead, we waited for...

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