Our destination for the day was the medieval city of Siena. The road was narrow and winding and we shared it with cyclists, bikers, cars and trucks, all of whom were not only in a hurry, but didn’t seem to be able to see us! The number of close shaves and near misses from traffic overtaking, cyclists swarming all over the road, and trucks thinking it was a one way road was scary to say the least. Add to that a husband who thinks he needs to teach every Italian driver how to drive, I was delighted to suggest stopping for coffee (and respite) at the small village of Greve in Chianti.
As though I knew it, there was a market in full swing when we arrived. All manner of goods on display, and the shops surrounding the square in which it was held were absolutely delightful.
The food shops with such inviting displays of meats and cheeses, garlic hung in streamers across the ceilings, oh the aromas….
There was again a very small town feeling, that everyone knew everyone else and were taking the opportunity to socialise and catch up on news on market day. It was lovely to sit and watch the interactions while we enjoyed a well deserved cappuccino.
Moving on, the countryside is stunningly beautiful, rolling hills with tall slim Cyprus trees rising majestically to the sky
above the acres and acres of vineyards and olive groves. The vines were heavily laden with red grapes, the olive trees shimmering in the sun. The number of different shades of green were impossible to count.
We stopped briefly for a stroll in Castellina in Chianti, a pretty village with more market stalls.
And then, there was Siena!
Well, by the time we got there everyone else had already arrived, and many like us were circling around trying to find somewhere to park, fortunately the parking fairy woke up and we found a place, it was a fair walk however to the city centre, and unsure of exactly where we were going, we just followed the crowds and found ourselves in the most beautiful interesting place.
Around every corner there were statues,
magnificent buildings, and yes hoards of tour groups all thinking they had priority of space.
Turning into an alleyway and down some steps we stepped out into the sunshine in the Piazza de Campo. A huge square, the shape of a shell, with the ground laid out as though it were a clam shell, surrounded by huge buildings and dominated by the Duomo.
We wandered the winding streets,
spending most of the time looking upwards at the buildings. Just about every shop is Geletaria or pizza restaurant but set out so beautifully you can forgive them.
Such a greedy city there are about three Duomo and dozens of churches, just about around every corner.
The guide books suggest that this is not a place for a day trip, but to do it justice an overnight stay or two is required, in this instance they are correct. Weary in the heat, we had to admit defeat and work our way back to the car,
for another delightful journey back through the vineyards and olive groves.