Under the Tuscan sun…

24.11.2011
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Kategorie: Italy, Trips | Tagi: Chiusi, italian restaurants, Montepulciano, Perugia, San Gimignano, Siena, Toskania

1st November is already long gone but with the time passing so fast… This year we decided to escape from all those depressing celebrations and “recharge out batteries” before winter. It’s best to do it in the sun. Or maybe under the sun… under the sun of Tuscany and Umbria, to be exact.

Autumn in Tuscany — a view from San Gimignano

Autumn in Tuscany — a view from San Gimignano

So here we go again — Italy, with my favourite pizzas, pastas and a variety of Italian desserts. Let’s add some local ham and cheese to the list and there we are — in the culinary paradise. This time we started with Perugia, the capital city of Umbria. It’s a nice, middle-sized town and a perfect spot for a family walk in an early Saturday afternoon. We chose a hotel associated with wine (Hotel Gio Wine Area), although wine wasn’t our main motivation 🙂  The hotel looked very friendly, was in a convenient location and had quite a good restaurant, which for us — feeling very tired after the flight, long wait for the pram to appear on the baggage claim belt (of course it appeared on the wrong one) and an enormous traffic jam on the way from Rome to Perugia — was a life-saving factor. From the hotel we walked to a train called MiniMetro and after a couple of minutes we found ourselves in the Old Town. Such a beautiful place! Especially if you realise that first accounts of the city (then called Perusia) come from as early as the 4th century B.C.! Piazza IV Novembre is also worth visiting if you want to feel the atmosphere of this lively city.

Perugia

Perugia

After Perugia we went to Chiusi, a tiny and a bit sleepy town, where we had this:

"Simple" pizza in Chiusi

“Simple” pizza in Chiusi

Chiusi - Museo Etrusco

Chiusi – Museo Etrusco

a delicious though very simple (in the positive sense) dinner in a small local restaurant. Capricciosa with olives, artichokes, mushrooms and slices of prosciutto was absolutely divine, and even the baby food we brought was re-heated and served in a clay bowl. As a starter we of course had antipasto misto, which is a mix of regional specialties.   From Chiusi we went to Montepulciano — a charming and lively (as opposed to Chiusi) town, with small shops offering souvenirs and local delicacies. The truffle salami we bought there was, for a long time after we came back home, a nice treat for everyone who visited us.

Montepulciano

Montepulciano

Although Łukasz complaining a bit about us not staying in Montepulciano for the night, we decided to move on as our first plan assumed sleeping in… Siena.

Siena

Il Campo — love at first sight

Il Campo — love at first sight

This was love at first for me. I fell in love with dark streets leading to the Old Town, old tenements and, above all, in Il Campo, a big market square that is always full of people and never goes to sleep as at midnight crowds of younger and older fans of late nights are still there — sitting, lying, wandering around on the centuries-old cobblestones. The square is surrounded by restaurants full of people, there’s pizza, pasta and wine everywhere… Il Campo is equally fascinating at night and during the day, when the sun is shining and the sky is blue… you can even get a tan with your delicious pizza bites or at least “recharge your batteries” with the sun for at least another month 🙂

Antipasto misto — the best of all starters

Antipasto misto — the best of all starters

Delicacies in Siena? Again various pizzas and pastas, and something really special this time: Melanzane alla Parmigiana, which is a perfectly soft, mouth-watering aubergine with tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. And then pizza with rocket… It’s November but suddenly I feel flavours of summer all over again.

Pizza — cannot be missed

Pizza — cannot be missed

San Gimignano

On our way from Siena to the must-see No 1, Florence, we passed through San Gimignano. This town is a lovely spot for a nice walk and breathe in in a bit of the Tuscan autumn. It’s famous for the towers rising above all the other buildings of the town, which look like prototypes of modern skyscrapers 🙂 It’s hard to believe they were built in the Middle Ages. Those towers, apart from protective functions, were also a sign of the wealth and importance of their owners. From viewpoints in San Gimignano you can see beautiful, post-card like landscapes. You don’t believe it? Take a look at the pictures 🙂

Tuscany in autumn, view from San Gimignano

Tuscany in autumn, view from San Gimignano

Wonderful autunm Tuscany

Wonderful autunm Tuscany

Then we move on to Florence — amazing but horribly crowded. And that was supposed to be the last stop on our trip in Tuscany… Well, “supposed to be” is a good description as what really happened did not go exactly according to the plane… TBC. One way or the other, if next year you fell like escaping from always-the-same cemetery conversations, Tuscany will be waiting for you:

Tuscany in November

Tuscany in November