Under the Tuscan Sun: San Gimignano & Pisa

Pisa at dusk, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout FlorenceTo follow up on Part One of my Tuscany day trip, below are my futile attempts at capturing the sensational beauty of the Tuscan countryside. It’s 100 times more breath-taking in real life. After such a heavy consumption of carbs and wine, most people, including us, slept as babies on the way to San Gimignano, though. enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, The tiny towers on the horizon is San Gimignano. enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence,

San Gimignano is a small walled medieval hill town, renowned for its medieval architecture such as the towers in the picture above. My first impression was San Gimignano is such a tourist hub. When we arrived, throngs of tourists and tour groups were already there, and more started pouring in. The main street is lined with souvenir shops selling everything under the sun, all of which apparently were targeted at tourists. There were not a whole lot of local “actions” as in local people out and about minding their own businesses.

Or we just didn’t know where to find them.

However, it doesn’t make the town lose any of its quirks and charms. Still very well worth a visit if you ask me.

I have said it a thousand times before, and y’all are most likely sick of hearing about it but I’ll say it once again that the weather we had in Florence and all other cities was pure perfection. It wasn’t necessarily sunny and breezy all the times, but cloud and rain came at opportune times. By the time we got to San Gimignano, the sun was no longer as harsh as it had been earlier in the day. Shortly afterwards, the sky turned on its overcast and foreboding mode lending the town a more poignant medieval kind of vibe. Or was that just my overactive imagination?enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence,

enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, enchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florenceenchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florenceenchanting hilltop town of San Gimignano, The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence [Read more…]

Under the Tuscan Sun: Siena & Chianti Vineyard

The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaBefore I left for Italy, I booked two tours with Walkabout Florence, The Best of Tuscany tour and Cinque Terre Trek.

Now, I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry if they would measure up to the unanimously glowing reviews on every travel site. You know, high expectations often lead to disappointment, which is the last thing I would want from traveling. Happiness, sadness, frustration, loneliness and surprises are all part of the package. But disappointment is something I never want to sign up for.

My experience with Walkabout Florence started with Cinque Terre. After it was over, I was positively sure that I would enjoy Tuscany. And I really, really did. For the sake of brevity, I’ll try to keep this short and sweet and let you enjoy the photo uninterrupted 🙂

First of all, click HERE for a detailed itinerary of what this full-day tour covers. Besides the Mediterranean ocean, Tuscany with its picturesque, desktop background-quality landscapes had been on my bucket list for as long as I could remember. It wasn’t exaggerated to say I could barely contain my excitement before it all began.

Our tour guide for the day was Michelle, who hails from Canada but fell in love with Florence when she was an exchange student and decided that she would call it home one day. And it’s been her home for the past 10 years or so. (Maybe slightly under 10 or over 10, I can’t remember with certainty. But it really doesn’t matter, anyway.) She is very passionate about Florence and incredibly funny and knows Florence and the Tuscany region like the back of her hand.

Our first stop of the day was Siena, which is an hour drive away from Florence. Siena and Florence used to be bitter rivals centuries ago, but I’m glad that they have made peace. The last thing I wanted was being trapped in a war-zone and die in a foreign country. LOL. It became more understandable why after we arrived in Siena. The town is strikingly similar to Florence in layout and architecture.

However, the main color of Siena seems to be terracotta, which I have an affinity for. I was very smitten with the way the terracotta architecture, the yellow sunlight and the blue sky complement each other. They make for beautiful color combinations. As for the exhaustive history of Siena, I’ll spare you because it’s available with just a few google clicks away. Below are some photos of Siena’s architecture and cityscape.

The Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, SienaThe Best of Tuscany Tour, Walkabout Florence, Siena [Read more…]