Short Trip to Siena

San Gimignano was perfectly located for day trips to other parts of Tuscany – one rainy morning we hit the road and traveled to Siena, about 45 minutes away. Siena was a great city I wish we could have spent more time in, but we had enough time to walk the streets window shopping, tour the Siena Cathedral (Duomo), and have dinner in the Piazza del Campo.

Here is Kyle, looking quite touristy:

DSC_0718This is the Duomo di Siena, which was definitely the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen, or could imagine. Every piece of this place is covered in art and history.  If you’re ever there, I recommend paying a little extra for the tour – there is too much going on around you to comprehend on your own.
DSC_0725 DSC_0727 DSC_0740 DSC_0741 Check out these floor tiles, throughout the cathedral there are flowers that look quite … 1960’s … and not 1300s. DSC_0743 DSC_0744At some point in history the city of Siena decided they wanted to expand the cathedral, and began work on the “new” cathedral which would have beed a major addition. It never went through, but in Italian fashion they didn’t tear down what they had built – so today you can climb up into the “front” of the new cathedral and look out on the city and beyond into Tuscany. 
DSC_0792DSC_0775 DSC_0777 DSC_0784 DSC_0786Can you believe they race horses in this space? I, can not.
siena Piazza del CampoThe next post will be about our visit to Florence!

San Gimignano – Our Little Hilltop Home in Italy

Outside of the first and last nights we spent in Rome, we stayed the entire weeek in a lovely little apartment inside the walls of a medieval hilltop town – San Gimignano. The town is somewhat insignificant, historically, however by keeping low-key over the centuries it was able to remain structurally intact.  The town today is known for it’s many remaining towers, and I can’t remember anything else about it’s history … but they had some great gelato options, wine stores, little shops – what more could a honeymooning couple need?

We stayed in the Fattoria Guicciardini apartments, which were right inside the wall of the town and had a lovely courtyard. The apartment was stocked and the windows (fully equiped with throw-open shutters) looked out into a little road with shops and a small wine bar below.

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San Gimignano 1After seeing that last photo I’m reminded of all the old men who lived in this town. They’d walk around together all day, talking and arguing, then at night they sit together along the side of the road in little huddles eating gelato while they talked.

Here are some photos of the wall that surrounds San Gimignano, some areas around town town, and a few photos from the top of one of their tallest towers – which was the most terrifying of all the tower-climbs we did on this trip (who on earth thought it was a good idea to make the stairs see-through?) but well worth the view from the top!

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One night we had a real Italian night, after eating our weight in pasta and drinking enough wine to ensure a great time, we found this group of old men screaming at a soccer game. Perfect setting for eating our nightly gelato and pretending like we knew what was going on around us.

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Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day – the Rest of Rome

Who needs a nap when you’re in Italy? After the Colosseum we just powered through the rest of the day, staying up until the wee hours (maybe 9:30 – wild!) to get in everything we wanted to see. Do I recommend this? No. Would I do it this way again? Yes. After it was all over, it was nice to have said “been there, done that,” so we could get on to the more important parts of our honeymoon – wine and gelato.

For some reason I have yet to figure out, Kyle really wanted to see this fountain while we were in Rome. We got lost a handful of times on our way to find it, but once we did it was worth the trek (actually, I was in a haze of starvation and have no idea what it was like)! The Trevi Fountain‘s legend is that if you toss a coin in, you’ll be “ensured” another trip to Rome… we didn’t toss a coin in, I was too hungry and angry at Rome for making me walk so far to get here.

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After some dinner, I was in a better mood. After getting lost a handful of times (transitioning from a cell phone GPS to using a paper map in Italian is not as easy as we thought it would be) we had finally found the Spanish Steps. It was pretty cool and fun to sit and eat gelato while watching the men trying to sell laser pointers, flowers, and squeaky toys incessantly to anyone and everyone on the steps.

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Oh, and this was the first of MANY street cleaners we saw though out our trip. The Italians apparently take the cleanliness of their city streets quite seriously. I appreciate it. DSC_0502

After sleeping like babies, we got up and tried to make the most of our last few hours in Rome before we needed to head out. We had a fantastic breakfast with a view at our hotel, and then went on the rooftop with the camera, a tripod and the super-zoom lens to see what all we could capture of the city.   DSC_0521 DSC_0522 DSC_0536 DSC_0537 DSC_0567*

Across the street from the Colosseum is the Roman Forum, which is where we spent the morning. It was really neat but the entire time we kept asking “why didn’t anyone clean this junk up?” (just kidddddddingggggg…. but seriously, anyone else been and thought that too?).

There were some great views of the Colosseum, in case we hadn’t gotten enough pictures the day before.

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DSC_0591Goodbye Rome! We’re off to San Gimignano for the week.