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  • Day19

    Tuscany: Volterra & San Gimignano

    May 22, 2019 in Italy ⋅ 🌫 14 °C

    Just a two-hour drive from Florence, you'll find Volterra, a walled hilltop town in the Tuscany region of Italy. This town has perhaps the best sightseeing of all of Italy’s small hill towns and plenty of history dating back to the 8th century B.C. Its out-of-the-way location keeps it from being trampled by visitors, and so this was an ideal location for us after bike tour in Croatia.
    One interesting story here was of the 2300 year old Etruscan Arch that was part of the defensive wall surrounding the town. During World War 2, the German army was retreating from Volterra on June 25, 1944. The locals were told that the Archway was going to be blown up the next morning to slow down the Allies who were approaching the next day. To save the Arch, locals worked through the night digging up paving stones making up their road and piling them up to build a wall within the Arch. The Germans decided that they wouldn’t waste their dynamite, and so the Arch was saved.
    San Gimignano is the epitome of a Tuscan hill town, with 14 medieval towers still standing (out of an original 72). Packed with tourists, this nearby town was worth a morning stopover with breathtaking views.
    Siena is nearby as well, and that is best known for its huge square (the largest in Italy) where the famous Palio horse race is held every year.
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