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

Nov 6, 2010 - Siena

Today was our first yoga class of the trip! It did feel good to stretch. We had time today as our tour didn't start until 10 a.m. We met our driver, Alexandro, and he drove us to Siena where we met a local guide, Margarita. She gave us a tour of the famous local church and we climbed 192 steps to the top of a tower to look out over the Tuscany hills. She left us at lunchtime, but gave us an excellent recommendation for a local cafe. In the afternoon, we explored the town and shops on our own before meeting our driver at 5 p.m. He drove us...

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Italy

Nov 4, 2010 - Siena and Tuscany

As usual we arrived in town via train, then caught the city bus across the street at a shopping mall in the underground parking garage…weird but effective. We weren’t sure where to step off the bus since we did not have reservations once again. Best bet – when most of the people disembark it must be the central area, which in the end was the bus terminal and the main shopping and restaurant area in town. We asked at one hotel for a room. With no room available we were directed to the tourist information (TI) to get the list of hotels in...

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Tales of Blue Aweigh

Oct 20, 2010 - Montepulciano, Italy

Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Off to Montepulciano, about 150 mile round trip. Today’s mission is wine tasting in Chianti country. The wine of the region is Vino Nobile di Montepulciano red. This mountain top town (yes, another one) is huge and hard to get orientated with so many narrow stone streets that go off in so many different directions. It has the usual main square with its church, several other plazas that broaden out from the narrow streets and of course the shops with leather purses, souvenirs, gelato, pizza, pasta, etc. However,...

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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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