Joined March 2018 Message
  • Day19

    Modena

    September 22 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    Today we left Siena and made our way to Modena, a city in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region. It is known for its balsamic vinegar and its opera heritage as it is the birthplace of Pavarotti. It is also the home town of Ferrari and Lamborghini sports cars, not that that really interests me. I think Brad drove here thinking he was in a sports car and that is enough for me. 😬

    We are staying in the historic part of town and it has totally surprised us.
    Once we checked into our lovely spacious apartment we took to the streets with the plan to just get our bearings, as we have a few days here to really check out the sights. This town is beautiful and so different from the other towns we have visited so far. The buildings here are beautifully coloured in hues of terracotta, ochre and citrus tones that just shine against the brilliant blue sky. The colours over here are so intense.

    And the historic buildings we want to explore are grand and elegant and so full of detail. We can’t wait to see more. We enjoyed a well deserved drink (or two) sat in front of the Palazzo Ducale Di Modena, which houses the military academy founded in 1678. We are hoping to be able to join a tour of this over the next few days.

    Once again I was served a fishbowl of Prosecco, not that I am complaining. And one thing that we wish would take off in Australia is receiving snacks when you order drinks. They just add to the experience. 😁 And Brad loved free stuff.

    We followed this up with a gelato as we have failed in our daily task of trying a new flavour every day. Our gelatos today were delicious and we plan to return tomorrow to try some more flavours. 🍦😋 It certainly isn’t helping with the weight loss but who can resist an Italian gelato…. Not me 😬
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  • Day18

    Our last day in Siena

    September 21 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    Well, if we thought yesterday was a slow day for us, today we were complete sloths and we barely left our beautiful apartment. Thankfully because we have already explored Siena we were able to enjoy a relaxing day in and not feel guilty about it. I also got to admire the scenery from the sofa so still felt like I was seeing some of the town. 😬

    We did manage to venture out late afternoon for a very late lunch/very early dinner and to grab a couple of more photos before we leave tomorrow.

    Last time we were in Siena it was a lot quieter and a bit cleaner/fresher, and while we have enjoyed re-visiting it hasn’t filled us with joy like some of the other towns we have re-visited. Maybe that is because Siena is a bigger and busier town, or maybe because we have just come from places that have our hearts, I am unsure why we aren’t as enamoured as the first time we were here. Needless to say, we are happy to have returned but are ready for our next location, Modena (a new town for us to explore).
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  • Day17

    Streets of Siena

    September 20 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 16 °C

    The beauty of it being our second time here is that we can just relax and enjoy the city. After stopping by the Duomo we popped our head into a couple of churches (you know we can’t resist a church) before stopping for some lunch.

    They always say when travelling to not eat near the main tourist sites and don’t eat at places that have pictures on the menus. Well we broke both rules today and don’t regret it one bit. We enjoyed a very delicious lunch at San Paolo Pub. We thought it was a small cafe on the back street of the Piazza del Campo but in actual fact it had a tiny balcony looking out over the Piazza, where I ended up enjoying the best panini I’ve had so far and Brad enjoyed an Italian style hamburger. The view was fabulous, drinks were cold and food delicious.

    For dinner we tried a restaurant nearby and I enjoyed a Tuscan vegetable soup, while Brad had pappardelle with wild boar. We skipped our daily gelatos in lieu of dessert before rolling ourselves home. It has been a very relaxing day.
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  • Day17

    Siena Cathedral

    September 20 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Today was a bit of a slower day as we have seen most of Siena’s sites on our last visit. It was nice watching the sunrise over our stunning view from our apartment window before we headed out to to wander the streets of Siena.

    Even though we have visited before we did want to see Siena’s medieval cathedral again. We love the amazingly detailed facade. Completed between 1215 and 1263 it is 77 metres high and is striking against the blue sky. We explored the interior last time and with the queue quite long we decided to give it a miss this time. We still managed to snap a few more pics of the exterior - how could we not.
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  • Day16

    Wandering San Gimignano

    September 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    We spent the rest of the day wandering San Gimi, admiring the views and the street scenes, and enjoyed a drink or two at Bar la Cisterna, situated in Piazza Della Cisterna. Our drinks were accompanied with the best complimentary “snack” platter we have had in Italy.

    The shop displays here are beautiful with their gorgeous ceramics, and interesting with their many stuff wild boar. I love the fact that they even try to pretty them up, because yes, adding a bow to an ugly hairy beast will do the trick. Or add some pots of flowers to make the scene pretty. It certainly made me smile, that’s for sure.

    We made sure to have our daily gelato before heading back to Siena. Even though the weather was overcast, it was a lovely way to spend our day, reliving past memories and making new ones. San Gimignamo will always be one our top favourite towns in Italy.
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  • Day16

    Ceramiche Corsini

    September 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    We love this town of towers and have very fond memories of a little old Italian man called Bruno Corsini. On our last trip, after a few (too many) wines in the square we stumbled across Bruno’s ceramic shop, Ceramiche Corsini, off the main tourist road. Founded in 1957 the shop was a riot of unique colourful ceramic pieces that we had not seen in the other ceramic shops. It was a feast for the eyes. And Bruno was a charmer who spoke no English but we still had a great experience and walked away with mismatched salt and pepper shakers in the shape of roosters. Why I chose those…. It was the wine 😬 They have become one of my favourite purchases from our trips because of the fond memories attached. Bruno and I had a photo together last time which he asked me to send to him, which I did.

    Upon returning to San Gimignamo today, we were hoping Bruno and his business had survived covid, and to our delight he had. I was treated with a big hug and an Italian kiss on each cheek and we all got a bit emotional seeing him again, still his charming Italian self. (I did think Brad had showed Bruno the photo of the last visit before he hugged me and he would not have remembered us, but Brad said he hadn’t showed him the photo at that stage and he didn’t greet any other customers that way, so maybe he did remember us after all). I love his ceramics, that he does himself, as they are a bit more unique that the ceramics sold in all the tourist towns. This time my purchase was made pre-wine and I bought a lovely mug so I can remember Bruno every morning when I have my cup of coffee. Another hug and a few kisses later and we bid farewell to our favourite Italian, smiles on our faces and a tear in our eyes.
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  • Day16

    San Gimignano

    September 19 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Today we visited one our favourite towns, San Gimignano. It is an Italian hill town in Tuscany, encircled by 13th-century walls, and has a duomo (cathedral) which dates in 12th century.

    Known as the ‘Town of Fine Towers’, San Gimignano is famous for its medieval architecture and 14 stone towers that still stand today. In its heyday there were approximately 70 of these towers.

    We stayed in this town in 2019 and loved going back to experience it once again. A lot busier than last time, but we still enjoyed strolling the streets and taking in the sites. At the centre of the piazza stands a well which was the main source of water for the town's residents and dates from 1346.

    The weather held out for us and we were able to take a few pics of the Tuscan countryside and the town, under the moody overcast sky.
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  • Day15

    Siena

    September 18 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    We then made our way to our home for the next four nights, the beautiful Siena. Bags dropped off and we hit the Piazza del Campo for some well earned refreshments overlooking the stunning Pubblico Palace and clock tower. This is the life.

    We made sure to grab our daily gelato, which ended up being the most expensive so far, but also the biggest, before calling it a day. I don’t think our bodies are happy with us today as we are both aching and exhausted.
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  • Day15

    Abbey of San Galgano

    September 18 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 20 °C

    We took a slight detour to visit the Abbey of San Galgano, a Cistercian Monastery founded in the valley of the river Merse. Although the roofless walls are all that remain, construction started in 1220 and the abbey was completed six decades later.

    There was a wedding just finishing in the abbey as we arrived. It would be a magical place for a wedding except for all the tourists walking through the wedding space. The remains of the abbey are striking against the blue sky (I swear it is magic over here) and it was worth the detour.

    A short, hot and steep, walk away sits the chapel, Rotonda Di Montesiepi. Built in 1185, it is the tomb of Saint Galgano and the proposed site of his death in 1181. It is also the site of the sword in the stone where legend has it Galgano struck his sword into the stone in anger at how his parents, girlfriend and other knights sneered at his choice to become a Christian, after Archangel Michael appeared twice in his dreams. He succeeded and it was declared a miracle.

    Thankfully there was a cafe not too far from the sites and we got to enjoy a light lunch sat under the trees in the Tuscan sunshine. Perfetto!
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  • Day15

    Breakfast and a parade, Grand Piazza

    September 18 in Italy ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    This morning I watched my last sunrise over the Tuscan hills from our kitchen window. I will miss this view (but not the four flights of stairs to our apartment 😬). We managed to fit in one last breakfast in the Piazza Grande where we were also entertained with a medieval themed parade. While I am still unsure what the parade was in aide of, the participants took it all very seriously. I thought it might have been a farewell parade for Brad and I 😬😂

    We then bid our wonderful apartment farewell and hit the road towards Siena.
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