December 17, 2013 – Monteriggioni and San Gimignano

Leaving Assisi, we decide to make a couple of side trips on the way to Florence. Originally we thought maybe we could cram in Siena, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano and still get to Florence at the appointed time to meet our greeters at the apartments. But we realize that there is no way all that is possible so we set aside Siena for a train trip from Florence and make our way to Monteriggioni.

Monteriggioni is a medieval walled town, located on a natural hill, built by the Sienese in 1214-1219 as a front line in their wars against Florence. It is a picturesque little place but more importantly it is the home base of a character from Assassin’s Creed, a video game that Sarah plays which takes place in various historical locations and times around the world. While John and I settle back with cappuccini and cookies at an outdoor cafe, Sarah runs about photographing significant sights.

After our visit to Monteriggioni we travel on to San Gimignano. San Gimignano is famous for its towers. Due to a conflict between the Guelphs and Ghibellines, the families built tower houses of increasing height. Towards the end of the Medieval period they were 72 towers up to 230 feet tall. There are about 12 remaining.

There’s plenty to see but first, lunch! We find an open restaurant, Osteria del Carcere, and settle into a much longer lunch than anticipated. Although there is no pasta on the menu, we have no trouble finding yummy things to eat for lunch. Everything is made while you wait so that’s why it took a little longer than anticpated.

After lunch we only have about half an hour to sightsee. Sarah goes off on her own and John and I visit the Duomo. Inside are frescoes of the Sienese school of the fourteenth century. There is a free audio tour. We only get about half way through when it is time to meet Sarah and head on to Florence. This is a place I’d like to return to and finish admiring the frescoes.

We need to return the car to the Florence airport, call our greeters, catch a taxi, and arrive at our apartment by 5 PM. We manage all this and meet the lovely and gracious Miki and Franco who explain all about our apartments. I booked these places through ItalyPerfect and as it turns out we have part of a floor of a palazzo all to ourselves. Our section of the building is locked off from the rest of it and we have a large entrance hall with our two apartments across the hall from each other. We will be here for 10 days.

Can we possible eat more? Yes, we can. We go downstairs to a trattoria near to the apartment. It is bustling with local people who look askance at us. Sorry, just Americanos traveling at the non-tourist time of year.

Exhausted we look forward to our first night in our new home.

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