Farewell Firenze – homeward bound

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Farewell Florence

Knowing it was our last day in we decided to visit the Boboli Gardens another point recommended by our tourist information lady. Being old hands at this ticket thing this time we used the one machine that dispenses local bus and tram tickets – easily done and left us feeling very pleased with ourselves about how far we have come in our travels. Back on bus number 12 and enjoying the scenery. We got off at an old favourite of ours the Arch at Piazza della Calza, we drove through it as we returned the hire car, so nice to be able to enjoy the stroll around the roads knowing that you don’t have to deal with the Italian drivers.

Garden before the little island

A bit of a false start as we initially entered the gardens thinking there would be a path through, no no no – we needed to go through the entry gate and pay for the opportunity 10 Euros each. These gardens were a little more wild in their appearance but free to the pubic and a lovely spot for a stroll, there was also a small playground – nice. Lots of folks walking their dogs too.

Orangery

Back to the Boboli Gardens, lovely and very large are the words that come to mind. We entered at the Castle arch point then traversed for a number of hours up hill and down dale, often following a pathway only to find that it was closed to the public and that we needed to back track. Beautiful little rooms have been created, lovely fountains, a moated garden called L’Isolotto (Little Island), an Orangery, the Viottolone – an avenue of cypress trees, an Amphitheatre and the La Grotto Grande.

Porcelain Museum

Our tickets did include the Porcelain Museum which was lovely, featuring pieces dating back as far as 1700’s and 1800’s mostly from Naples, Venice and Germany. There was even some from Napoleone Bonaparte’s collection.

The avenue of cypress trees, were planted in 1612 and lined with classical statues. This avenue takes you up to the central point where there are the most fantastic views over the city.

Looking down to Pitti Palazzo

Viottolone - cypress trees

The view of the Palazzo Pitti is fantastic, and the palace gardens are immaculate.

Statues, Grotto’s and flowerbeds abound.

Grotto

Palace Fountain

Lots of gorgeous things to see and explore finally ending back at the Palace courtyard. As we were already in the Palace walls at this point we could have waltzed into the ticket area and purchased another ticket to see the Galleries of Modern Art , Costumes, Palatine and the Royal Apartments but John announced that he was tired, hungry and over museums. He has a cold/cough and is feeling a little miserable – he needed feeding. We agreed to head to the Mercato and see if we could grab something to eat as it was 4pm and not sure if it would be open. Winner winner it was so pasta it was for us. I loved the idea that they had what looked like fryers but were boiling pots – they put the pasta in the basket & dipped into the boiling water and hey presto the pasta is cooked to perfection. Not exactly silver service but it was nice, while eating out late lunch we both agreed that we were ready to go home. We have loved our time away but are now ready for home. Funny when I left Finland I wasn’t ready but each time since I have been ready as to quote Dorothy “there is no place like home”.

We will both be really glad to leave the smokers, cigarette buts everywhere, graffiti and those praying on others to make money.

We hunted down the Hard Rock Cafe in search of something for Matthew, that found and off we headed home, time to pack.

Florence is very beautiful and very much the Princess or perhaps Queen to the other towns – really the jewel in the crown. Such displays of wealth – particularly visible in the Duomo & Baptistry with the marble – the green and white marble is everywhere, such a statement – beauty and wealth in all that they have and do. Even the graffiti is less visible here than places like Milan.

Baptistry with Duomo behind

It has been grand – but now it is time to head home – “I still call Australia home”. (Maybe Finland too) but for now take me home as I click my red slippers as “there is no place like home”.

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See you in a while crocodile.

 

 

 

 

 

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Liberation Day in Florence

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Looking towards Ponte Vecchio with the gang

A later start day for this little chick having been up late writing my blog – I’m such a slave to my blog. We didn’t wake until 9.50am but after a coffee and John’s joy of being able to make some toast and a pot of coffee in our room – so nice not having to dress to go out before breakfast we were all systems go. Irma & Kimmo messaged to say that they were on the way into the centre, running through Celebrations being held in the Piazza’s, They were stirred by the National Anthem and others in uniform so continued their walk in a marching fashion. Time for a leisurely coffee and a tad of fudge procured in Volterra at the Chocolate Fair.

Ponte Vecchio 1

It was agreed that we would walk to the Ponte Vecchio for a further exploration and brave the crowds. Today being the Liberation Day from Fascism combined with school holidays the Italian language is heard everywhere. Again foolishly we had thought that many places would be closed but this is not the case here, all and sundry are out taking in the fine weather and spending time with families. Tourists also abound but I’m sure the bulk of the numbers are Italian’s. The queue for the Duomo today had reached an all-time high – snaking for what seemed like miles.  Our friend at the tourist information also indicated that numerous museum would be free today as part of the celebrations,  while she had hoped this would delight us we were more in the horrified stage imagining how many other’s would be lining up to see the attractions for free. Our predictions seem to be true – those museums free were over run with crowds.

Back to the Ponte Vecchio, such an interesting structure but not quite with the beauty of the Rialto Bridge. Irma informed us that while most of the bridges were bombed during the war fortunately the Vecchio was spared. It was packed as we had expected and interestingly mostly full of gold / jewelry stores. Apparently the top floor allowed the rich and important folks to cross the bridge without being seen by others – great for any clandestine activities. A small stature and viewing area can be found in the middle, obviously a photo spot. While we were walking towards the bridge we witnessed 2 fire trucks and 2 police vehicles trying to cross a bridge and head to a fire beyond the Oltrarna. What a nightmare, between the garbage truck, bus and other traffic their emergency sirens just seemed to go on and on as they made a halting progress towards a fire, wherever that may be.

Marble portico

Our next goal was to fine the boar. Just near one of the markets there is a little fountain called il Porcellino, a 17th century copy in bronze of the Roman marble statue of a wide boar that can be seen in the Uffizi. The snout is very gold due to the superstition that any visitor who rubs it will return to Florence someday. Coins that are placed in the mouth then drop into the water grate, this is then collected for charities.

Il Porcellino picture for review

We agreed that a spot of luncheon was the next order of the day, and aimed to head away from the huge crowds gathered around the Duomo. This was not so easily done as many folks had come into the city for celebrations. We first tried popping into the Piazza Del Mercato Centrale, although there were few stall holders downstairs selling fruit and veg and other food items the upstairs was hopping, crowds of folks all trying to nab a table.

Upstairs

We gave up after a quick circuit and eventually left looking for other opportunities, finally settling on a lovely spot on the way towards the Accademia – wine and pasta being high on the list of needs.

After a good meal of yummy pasta & healthy dollop of wine, beer and grappa we agreed to reconvene later on in the evening for our next food odyssey.

Band celebrations for Liberation day 1

Our meet place was to be the Piazza Della Signoria, just near the statue of David. As we arrived music could be heard as the Firenze Orchestra were playing a number of stirring tunes, those pieces with words many of the audience were singing along.

Once Irma & Kimmo joined us we wandered along looking for the perfect place to eat finally it was found.  A delightful evening spent, reminiscing and planning our next catch opportunity – will it be Australia, Spain or Scotland or even in beautiful Finland, who knows but just wonderful to consider and explore. Finally it was time to go our separate ways as Irma & Kimmo are heading off to Pisa tomorrow morning. Sad farewells but holding onto the hope that it is just arrivederci.

Tracy and the flowers

 

 

 


Fabulous Florence

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John and Tracy bridge view

Up bright and early with the goal to get in to the Galleria dell Accademia to see the statue of David before the masses. Yep us and about 100 other folks with the same idea! We joined the queue of others already starting to snake around the corner, at 8.10am, running through our mind is okay it opens at 8.15am and then we should be in business.

That was our mistake, the tour groups were a priority and moving in at the rate of knots, sadly the skip the line and non-reserve ticket folks – that would be us, we only being dripped in depending on the numbers of tour folks coming and going. It was understandable for us as we didn’t pay to skip the queue and/or pre-reserve but those that had were becoming a little tetchy to say the least. We eventually gained entrance by about 10am, at least before the 2 hour mark. In the pictures above the queues are wide as half are unreserved and the other half are skip the line.

David 1

Well we forked over our 12 euro each and just walked in, nothing to crowded which was interesting. It was easy to work out where David was situated as that was where the folks were flocking. Our picks of the gallery were the lovely displays of musical instruments, the statue display area, an amazing tapestry and David of course.

The statue of David is amazing and we took in all the things that others had suggested we look at such as the vein work in his arms, muscle definition and enlarged hands and feet – fantastic.  We left with an interesting feeling – knowing that you need to see somethings for yourselves but really questioning the whole line up & what else the gallery offered that made it unmissable. Much of the early religious painting didn’t really appeal to us so this probably played into it.

The next stop was to be the Piazza del Mercato Centrale, we had seen some parts yesterday. This was fantastic, upstairs there were a range of eating spots and even a cooking school. Downstairs was fruit & vegetables, fish stalls, meats, cheeses, breads etc. We found a great place to stop for a coffee then headed off now sustained in search of the 2nd David believed to be located in the Piazza Della Signoria.

 

David Statue in Piazza 1

This second statue is as impressive as the marble one, in fact the whole Piazza is really quite something.

There is a large Neptune Fountain, the Galleria Degli Uffiz and even if you don’t go through the gallery the entry area and Loggia Dei Lanzi.

Lunch was a calling by this time and we have learnt on our travels not to miss the window of opportunity. Our host had suggested a place near where we are living so we winded our way through the lane ways to find. An excellent meal was had by we two. We both had pasta – John the specialty of the Trattoria – 13 Gobbi and I opted for the gnocchi. Both were gorgeous, and made a nice little spot to stop and refresh.

At the tourist information yesterday our very helpful assistant had encouraged us to visit the bronze statue of David at the Piazzale Michelangelo. We decided hat we should make it a trifecta and visit the third! To get there she had suggested catching bus number 12 to save our little leggies, we debated about whether to catch a bus but after easily finding where to get a ticket – 1.50 euros each waited in the line and soon found ourselves on a rather nice bus heading over the bridge. Interestingly as we were on the route we could soon see the reasoning behind why our lady at Hertz had sent us over a particular bridge. Some are one way, some are pedestrian only and one was completely closed due to upgrade. Even the bus was on a detoured route.

Bus ride

What a lovely surprise, the bus meandered us through a round about route Oltrarno area, so green and just gorgeous. Dorothy we aren’t in Kansas’s any more – these streets are lush and green, the houses are huge and stunning and the streets are all up hill. Nice wide footpaths and very nicely cared for streets. So lovely to sit in the bus and look out the window, being very grateful that we hadn’t walked! Certainly a spot for those who are part mountain goat. e bus continued along continuing to climb now heading towards the Piazzale Michelangelo. We jumped off at the steps leading up to Chlesa di San Miniato al Monte and hiked up to take a wee look.

Here we discovered not only a lovely church but also amazing views over the city.

Great view

The views were even better than those from the Tower as the lovely features of the Duomo set against greenery were delightful.

David Statue Bronze face on

By this stage Irma had messaged me to say that they had arrived in Florence and were settling into their apartment. With a balcony overlooking the river they were able to see the folks visiting the bronze statue of David so we were on a mission to see if we could be found. The beautiful greenery proved our undoing so after the photo opportunity John and I carefully began our descent from the hill. Some of the paths were closed due to some major restoration work being undertaken but this is when it pays to follow the young – in between their chatter, selfies and gps – they led the way. Crossing the Ponte San Niccolo to find Irma & Kimmo waiting on the other side.

They invited us up to their rather elegant room and we spent a number of hours catching up on family and friends news, while enjoying a red wine on the balcony. Oh how wonderful it is to see these dear folks, it has been over a year but it is like time has stood still. Mother is good, + brother Matti & sister Kaija are great (actually we even called Kaija to say hello. Hugs and kisses sent from Paivi, Finland Finland Finland the place I would most like to be – yes I can say that even as I’m in Florence. A place so dear in my heart. Eventually we make a move in search of dinner, stumbling across a little spot along the Via de Malcontenti.

The waiter had been to Australia, actually worked in Norwood, so after a bit of a conversation we glided in for a meal. Overall an enjoyable meal and the osso boco Florence, John used the opportunity to have a pizza – something he hadn’t had a chance to have yet.

After coffee & grappa, we agreed to head home to our spots and reconvene in the morning. Tomorrow is a National Holiday and fireworks are expected in the evening so lots of excitement to come.

Beautiful view

 

 

Farewell Fattoria Poggio Alloro

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Farewell Fattoria Poggio Alloro it has been grand. We have had the most amazing time on the beautiful farm, the award winning wines, fabulous olive oil, amazing food and home grown saffron and honey. The family and staff have made us feel so welcome it was so hard to leave but sadly we must. We have gotten to know many of the folks at the farm and of course had our favourites.

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Well today was the day to return the car, yesterday one of our favourites a lovely young lady who works in the front office helped Claire, John & I map the best route into Florence. With a plan we slept reasonably well, but think it was still very much on our minds. We were up bright eyed and bushy tailed, taking in the fabulous breakfast to ensure that we had enough sustenance to make the journey. John packed the car and we piled in. Hi Ho and off we go! We left with plenty of time to spare so that the trip wouldn’t be under pressure. This driving is very stressful business, for all! Actually John did an amazing job, and the directions from the girl were spot on, luckily by the time we reached Florence the traffic had built up so we were going a quite a slow pace which sure helps in the finding of the way. Even managed a deft move of crossing to a petrol station on the other side, managing to pull into a service station that fortunately had pump service (saves trying to negotiate what type of fuel etc) – another problem solvered and then squeezed our way back into the traffic (again crossing to the other side).

We pulled into the Hertz where we were to drop off the car and it was like rafferty’s rules. Every man and there dog were either returning a vehicle or picking one up. Cars, people and luggage everywhere. One whipper snipper jumped into a car reversed then tried to zip it into a spot for cleaning in a parking spot right near where John was turning. As the park was narrow – John needed to swing out to get around which required a bit of reversing. Whipper snipper was riding John’s tail and just getting closer and closer – Claire to the rescue, she jumped out gave the whipper a bit of snipping and set him straight, he wasn’t exactly willingly waiting but with Claire standing guard did wait a moment giving John time to get around the corner and pull into a park, only to have to move again a few moments later as this didn’t suit hi-vis girl  running around barking orders – in Italian too! We dumped the car and ran out of there – well not really as just dropping off the key took over 30 minutes with the well organised system they employ – not! we just trotted off at a good pace towards the Florence train station. It was here that Claire & Shane headed off to Pisa and we went off to our accommodation.

Winner winner chicken dinner, our accommodation turned out to be a delight. It is a perfect way to spend our last few nights in Italy, we are located right in the historical area (mostly pedestrian only roads) with everything in an easy walk. The front is still the old palazzo facade and behind the entry doors is a mini village stretching out the to the next street, There are lovely gardens, it is incredibly quiet and the apartment is beautiful with all modern cons as it is new. A fantastic host – writing a list of great restaurants nearby & suggesting the best spots to see.

We had driven in the rain and waked to the station with a drizzle but finally the day had cleared – no sunshine but the rain had stopped enough for us to do some exploring. We started visiting the San Lorenzo Market,

San Lorenzo Market

looking at the Basilica San Lorenzo & Medici Chapel, from here we headed to the Baptistry & Duomo and Giotto Bell Tower.

Stunning buildings in fact we are finding that all the major buildings have been built in green and white marble, thy even have introduced red in the Duomo. It is just incredible to see. The queue at the Duomo was stretching out for eons but not to be dis-waded we bought out 18 euro ticket to see all the sites associated with this  area. The Duomo dome walk is fully booked until Monday so this will not be part of our visit this time.

Baptistry entry door 1

We visited the Baptistry as the line was the shortest and made it through the doors within about 15 minutes, from here we joined the next queue for the bell tower – campanile in Italian! Only a 414 steps up a steep and in some spots very narrow stair case. On the bright side the steps were of a reasonable size and at good increments, also there were a number of points where a gal could catch her breath along the way – very necessary given the cracking pace we were climbing up. It did slow marginally as we went up, but by then I was nearly cactus.

Bell Tower - view 10

Bell Tower - view of the duomo 2

We wandered through some other streets that hosts some incredible high end designers – very lush indeed but probably wont be shopping there myself. Our goal was to reach the information office near the train station. On the way we also discovered the Basilica San Maria Novella and found time for a little gelato stop.

Gelato tasting

There was method in our madness for tracking down the information office as Thursday 25th is a National Day of celebration and we needed some clarity on what would be closed. Much to our surprised our extremely helpful assistant informed us that a number of museums would be open and free as part of the celebration. She also re-iterated that the great ideas that Daniele had recommended for our visit were indeed her list of top things to do too.

Home to our little abode for a easy meal – we opted for a pre-made soup – alla Veneziana and it went down a treat, and so nice to have a light meal in the evening. A girl can only have so much rich and heavy meals late in the evening before it takes its toll.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farm day – indoors

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Lane with San Gimi in the background

As we walked in to breakfast this morning a gentleman I had spoken to before from Bavaria, sent me greetings from Johnnie and Bruce – in fact there is another family also staying here with a San Antonio, Texas connection too, I’m now convinced that Johnnie is their American advertising link. In my mind I think I should take on the Australian marketing of this beautiful farm – no payment necessary just a chance to stay on the odd occasion! We will be very sad to leave here as it has been idyllic and the family and staff so wonderful.

Today has been a quiet day, catching up on things such as posts etc and reviewing our map routes in preparation of returning the car to Florence. In Florence we will go onto our Airbnb and Claire & Shane take off towards Malta. So far Malta is looking sunny but Florence is perhaps a little rainy – thems are the breaks. For us it marks the end of our trip but excitingly our time in Florence also intersects with friends from Adelaide and my dear sister Irma & her husband Kimmo from Finland.

The terrace

John and I has wondered yesterday in Volterra about the towns involvement in cycling given the large amount of cycling attire particularly the jerseys advertising the town. Research today has unearthed that the town is the host of the Volterra UCI XCE Mountain Bike World Cup, now it makes sense. They also boast that they host cycling teams for endurance training, having walked the town I can see why.

Much of my day was spent catching up on Trip Advisor reviews breaking for a light luncheon at about 2.30pm. John decided he needed some exercise so as ever hiked himself off to tour the countryside. The rain was rolling in so returned somewhat wet with muddy boots –not ideal but much happier for his opportunity to walk.

Yet again another feast – and for a few of us our last supper, One couple who we have chatted with a few times as they were leaving early breakfast supplies were given to them. The advantage of sitting on long dinning tables with others has been the chance to interact with so many other folks also visiting the farm.

Dinner - Menu

 

Visiting Volterra

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Table flowers for tonights dinner

Beautiful one day and perfect the next, this seems to be most suited to lovely Tuscany.

John and I on a walkway

Today was allocated to visit the walled city of Volterra proudly stating that they date from 1398, easy to believe when you see the amazing walls that surround the city. There are 2 defensive walls, the Etruscan and the Medieval one.  Although we had only traveled about 45 kms the road is very windy and by the time I hopped out I was feeling as sick as a dog, at some point I was running a list through my mind of what kind of things I had on my person that could be possible to hold fluid content should this arise – literally!

After being dropped at an entry point we soon found ourselves in the most prominent town square called Piazza dei Priori. Here the Town Hall could be found, some local singers, a clown on stilts – who was possibly fashioning balloons for children but this wasn’t overly obvious and two information centres – go figure. After picking up a map we made a bee line to the Town Hall, Shane was keen to explore further and see if the shields visible on the outside were also to be found inside. At the entry point you could either buy a daily museum / tower ticket or just a tower visit tour. John & I opted for just the tower visit and Claire & Shane chose the museum option. John and I took the lift up to what turned out to be only 2 or 3 flights of stairs while Claire & Shane hiked the stairs – at this point we didn’t realise that they had purchased the full museum tickets. While buying our tickets the lady selling them from a little table behind the curtain kept on rabbiting on about a 40 minute wait. This didn’t make much sense as where she sat there were two small chambers to view that were certainly not over run then and when we were ready we hopped straight into the lift that she keyed for our assent. So far so good. We arrive at an area with a model of the building and plans of the tower then as we walk into the next room manage to see what the 40 minutes might mean!

John and I looked at each other – surely not there are only about 35 people in front of us and on past experience at sights we have been visiting this moves quite quickly. Oh how wrong can you be? Shane and Claire magically appear having done the stairs and after a brief assessment of the queue Shane announces that he is off to visit a museum (more clairvoyant than we realised) while Claire chooses to stay with us. Finally as we reach the front of the line almost 50minutes later the reason behind the slowness becomes apparent. Not of course because we have been told or explained by anyone but as the sign on the wall in Italian and English explains that due to the restrictive size of the tower only 5 people can go up at any one time. Again we look at each other thinking – really, particularly as we had just seen a group of 8 go up before us and they had 4 adults and 4 children.

Looking up to the tower

Our climbing group was to be a party of 7 adults – 2 young lads & a few of us who were a tad older. As we navigated the stairs it was finally understood why!!!! The final circular stair case was so narrow that a very large person would not have fitted, only to finally arrive at the top to what would be best described as a half tower with a huge bell. Standing room only would be an understatement. There was no way to do much more than squeeze passed each other and admire the view, luckily the young lads sprinted up grabbed a couple of happy snaps then left as they seem want to do. John tried desperately to grab a few panoramic view shots but found himself working in tight and difficult circumstances. A quick group selfie and we were off to find Shane who felt sure will have probably managed to complete a number of museums by now.

We meet up at a pathway not far from the Piazza & he has indeed managed a couple of spots already to visit. So we walk towards the Teatro Romano – finding ourselves perched on a narrow pathway overlooking a fantastic view of an amphitheatre – the ruins date back to the 4th century BC.

Roman theatre 1

Volterra also produces beautiful Alabaster with a number of spots where you can visit to see them being made. At the Rossi workshop I purchased a lovely alabaster pear and the next minute the chap decided to demonstrate the making of one so that we could admire his craftsmanship. It was amazing to see how soft the material was and the long practised ease in which he made this thing of beauty. Each piece of alabaster has different colour tones and as a lady at another shop explained the colour tones found within are how they are classified by name. These being Scaglione (transparent white with grey veins), Agata (hued amber), Bardiglio (grey and brown veins) and Pietra Bianca Marmo (white marble stone translucid white). A lovely appealing stone that is very tactile.

Dogs in pram

We manage a light lunch from a bakery and eat very much on the streets, at this point John, Shane & Claire head off in search of the gate entry photo. Shane is looking for a museum but John just looking for more happy snaps to add to his collection. I choose to meander along looking at shops and secretly head towards the chocolate fair that I have seen signage for – sometimes a girl just has to do what is important for her. Funny enough we end up intersecting at another piazza so John switches companions and joins me.

After years of marriage John agrees on the necessity of finding a chocolate fair and joins me on my search. Finally we hit jackpot and after a number of samples settle on a piece of fudge for purchase, I am trying to be mindful of facing the journey home in the car on the twisty roads so restrict myself and share my samples with John.

On our exploration we find a number of buildings if not places that the happy snapper fancies so overall a good day’s exploration was had. We arrive back at the taxi pick up point at 3.50pm to find that our very nice driver has already arrived and is chatting with Claire. Given my car sickness on the way up Shane gallantly offers to sit in the rear seat. This time I am prepared – I have a paper bag, a plastic bag and serviettes + only look out the front window with the air conditioner blowing a gale on me. Our 50 minute journey home sees us all arrive safely, fortunately with no upchuck from myself.

In preparation for the evening dinner I rested & worked on my blog as determined to get to bed before 1.30am tonight! Both John & Claire went a walking but not together & Shane rested too.

Yet again I can report back that another marvelous meal featuring local farm produce has magically appeared on the dinner table tonight and also a menu reflecting Easter time.

Dinner - menu

Dinner - easter eggs

Happy Easter for Italy

Buona Pasqua

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Tracy and John 1

A glorious day to be in Italy, the weather is perfect, company great and so much to explore.

Entry Gates to San Gimi

To reduce the stress factor of driving we (actually one of the lovely girls in the front reception of the farm office- as our Italian hasn’t really come up to scratch) booked a local taxi to drive us to San Gimignano. Money very well spent indeed. The place was busy, parking a nightmare and the roads very narrow. The lovely Claudio dropped us off at one of the 2 main gates and agreed to be back to retrieve us at the appointed time. This also allowed John to relax knowing that he didn’t need to face the hairpin bends, roundabouts and navigation assistance of fellow travelers.

A charming walled city indeed with amazing views to be had from one of the 13 towers that remain from the original 72 built.

The Towers

With such beautiful clear skies and a commanding view it felt like you could see forever. The trees in the towered city were covered in blossom and although the main street area is very much catering for the tourist a lovely way to while away the day. There are numerous restaurants, wine tasting opportunities and shops a plenty,, including those selling local food produces such as cheese.

Cheeses

The big draw card though is climbing to any of the higher points and looking across the stunning farming land that is being lovingly cultivated mostly by agribusinesses. I might be biased but I do think that we are staying at the best example but am willing to concede we have neither tried or explored any others. But you know me – nothing but the best so here at Fattoria Poggio Alloro we are!

Apparently one of the towers does not charge to climb up – but this we couldn’t find so we were happy for just John to fork out the 9 Euros to climb up while Claire and I basted in the sun, eventually to be joined by Shane. John reported a number of steep stairs – almost best described as a ladder, so sooner him than me. The views were amazing – particularly given the clear skies.

Claire needed a small morsel for her levels but to tell the truth my poor tummy could’n squeeze anything in and was churning something chronic – even too off kilter for gelato! I think it is the combination of eating so much gorgeous rich food so late with minimal activity. With this in mind we found a delightful spot a little off the beaten track and relaxed for a few moments  and for those of you who have been travelling along with us the toilet was a delight and even had a toilet seat – oh la la – no glutes workout today. John and I shared to beans as we really were in danger of needing a crane to get home, luckily at San Gimi we could almost roll home to the farm!

A few shots taken from the Tower. We also climbed to a court yard and found some lovely views.

Overall a good time was had by all – a few little purchases and we are happy little campers and pile back into our transport with the lovely Claudio.

We were pacing ourselves for tonight’s extravaganza, as other guests had warned us that tonight’s meal was the piece de resistance as the amazing farm produced steaks – were to be served. Stefano had advised not to be tempted by any offers of more foods as we worked through the entrees & pasta -we must remain firm as we would need our strength and room for the delight of the “huge” steak offering to come. Sadly not a meal for vegetarians indeed. Sarah our chef and author of the farm cook book that includes the story of this magnificent place, is pictured below with moi.

Sarah & I

Below is the menu and it’s offering and a few photos of the cooking of what can on;y described as the “beast”!

The art of cooking fantastic steak

Certainly an experience to treasure. Yum Yum. A definite from farm to table experience.