my first view of siena's il campo :)
So the past couple weeks ive been making day trips out the places throughout tuscany and more. one of the first trips we made was to the next town over which is arezzo. its a cool little place in which the movie life is beautiful was filmed. so we went to the piazza grande there. it was pretty cool. the whole town has a nice atmosphere and there is a big corso that is great for shopping of all sorts. we ate at this great outdoor restaurant along one of the small side streets that had really great pizza and pasta at a great price.
Our next stop along the trip takes us to the hillside town of cortona, made famous by the book and movie under the tuscany sun. cortona sits high about the val di chiana and has a great view out to one of the largest lakes in italy which was home of the last battle and victory over hannible the great.
a view from cortona. i did a sketch that looks almost like this.
cortona is a small little town is full of shopping and stores and food and fun. they have a great little market as many of the italian towns do. cortona is built up on one of the largest hills in this part of tuscany and you can feel it when you walk. every street is sloped either up or down from the main corso. we spent the morning and afternoon there. and barely made it back home for dinner at school because of the crazy italian bus schedules they have here. whos ever heard of a 5-1/2 hour gap between buses. anyways. cortona is great.
One of the most toured cities in tuscany is San Gimignano. it is known for its towers. this city at one point had nearly 80 towers in the small medival town.
one of san gimignano's towers
Now only about 13 towers remain. These towers are hundreds of feet tall. the towers were once a sign of wealth in the city and so families would compete to build a larger tower than others to show how wealthy they were. the towers also served as storage for grains and is believed were used to hang large died fabrics out dry. i dont know if i believe the latter but the towers are pretty cool. and san gimignano has a great view of the surrounding valleys. i believe its better than cortona. the have an old medival fortress that you can climb on top of and look out. the food there is great and the gelato is supposed to be the greatest in the world. however, ive tried many gelato places in italy and it still doesnt compare to castilgion fiorentino's coco palm gelato.
their piazza outside the duomo. i did a sketch of this one too
The next stop along the travling takes us to Siena. This is another medival town that have been rivals with Florence since theyve been around. siena takes great pride in their city of 60,000 and it shows. the city is divided into 17 different districts which you belong to for the rest of your life no matter where you move to. the district that is most prideful right now is the goose district. that is because they won the biannual horse racing event. this even is held in the cities famous clammed shaped piazza called il campo. the horses run around the dirt covered brick in a race that lasts 3 laps and roughly 1 minute. 40,000 people turn out for this event and it is pretty intense.
they don't call it the manhattan of tuscany for nothing
the city itself is a great town with lots to see. we went to the duomo, which has been on of my favorites so far. the floor is covered with different sized and colored marble pieces that make up a mosiac type image. there must have been about 30 of these images that just covered the floors of the duomo. the pulpit was another great site in the church.
The last part of the trip is the famous Pisa. The city was once one of the largest ports for the roman empires navy. it is one of the flatest cities in italy. there really were no hills, which was a relief. pisa is really close to the west coast of italy. of course the main thing to see there is the leaning tower of pisa. there are a lot of great restaurants like most italian cities.
siena's famous tower and city hall
but make sure to check out the other sites while you are there. such as the baptistry and the duomo. there are just as much of a site as the tower itself. i didnt get a chance to actually go up, which i regret but i hear its one of the best things to do in italy. also pisa is one of the only places in italy where you are gonna find large areas of grass to sit on and lay and run and enjoy. because most public spaces in italy are covered with stones and brick. so enjoy it and use it haha.
Alright, that sums of the traveling for me for now. Until next time. Ciao!