Toscana – Siena, Asissi, Val d’Orcia

From Florence, we headed Siena with a rented car (we got the car at Florence airport and left it at Rome airport). The views driving from Florence to Siena are just amazing, it’s quite a narrow highway where you can see the amazing landscapes of Tuscany – cultivated lands with cypresses, vineyards and also some architecture.

It’s quite dynamic because you don’t always have an open view to the horizon, sometimes you are sided by high trees and shrubs and you are surprised when the view is again open to the gentle cultivated hills of the region.

Florence was yellow, Siena is orange/red, due to its brick facades and it is amazing how it contrasts with the greens of the Tuscan landscape. It is also a touristic city and an UNESCO heritage site. The first stop of the roadtrip was then Siena where we started to have lunch at the delicious Trattoria Fontegiusta.

There are places people talk to you about and when you actually arrive there you are deceived, piazza del Campo in Siena is not the case, and the city itself is also a great surprise. This piazza is unique, first of all, it is a great empty space in the middle of a walled city with narrow streets, then the magnificent facades that completely surround it, especially the one of Palazzo pubblico with the torre della Mangia and finally because of the slope converging in one lowerest point, in the direction of the palazzo, which seems to work really well for citizens and tourists, to sit relax or other activities. It doesn’t surprise me that this medieval square was, in our times, 2005 nominated 4th in the world’s best square rank. More about this square here:

https://www.discovertuscany.com/siena/piazza-del-campo.html

https://www.pps.org/reference/internationalsquares/

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Still in Siena we climb to panorama del Facciatone, there was quite a big queue but I highly recommend, from here you have amazing views of the cathedral, the city and the landscape surrounding it. The cathedral is also amazing inside.

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Our AirBnB was a very cute house with a garden in the hills of Asissi, that is the reason why we did a bit more road trip, from tuscany to umbria where we enjoyed the sun setting on the lake. Asissi is another beautiful city, really cleaned and well preserved, it is also UNESCO heritage. There we had our most expensive dinner in Italy, in Osteria Pozzo della Mensa, tasty and good looking but very expensive food.

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On the next day, we went back to Tuscany, in the direction of Rome passing through the astonishing landscapes of Val d’Orcia. A landscape of soft slopes, a green palette where some equally distanced cypress trees which mark the roads or entrances rhythm the landscape and some poppies give a red contrast. This is the landscape that inspired so many painters and when you’re there, you don’t really think that this is an absolute man made a landscape, intensively cultivated, which I agree, kind of ruins all the romanticism of it but that’s also what makes it spectacular.

We passed Montepulciano, Montecchiello, Pienza the ”ideal” city, where we had lunch at the delicious Trattoria della Fiorella: tuscan cheeses, rabbit and panacotta for dessert. I’m just describing it shortly, of course, we stop many times on the way to admire the landscape and photograph the zigzag roads with cypresses until it started to rain heavily, as we were in April. This allowed us to see the charm of this landscape also when it rains. Deffenetly a place to visit again and to spend some more days…

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