Our first day of exploration in Tuscany was to Montepulciano and Siena. I wish it had been sunny as we were driving through the Tuscan countryside.. Oh well, next time!
Grape harvest in full swing! Fun to see wagons full of grapes going down the road.
We arrived in Montepulciano and found a good parking spot right outside the town gate. Their town “welcome center” is down a stairway (from the main town gate) and has public restrooms.
This church was just outside the town gates…
And here we go…
They have the most charming bell ringer – it actually moves and hits the bell!
Snapshots along our walk…
Luckily I had read about Cantina Contucci in Rick Steves’ travel guide, so when we came up from a back way and spied it, I knew we were in wine heaven! Their history of wine has the amazing longevity of 1008-2008! You can learn more about their history at their website: http://www.contucci.it/storia.en.php
We were greeted by their friendly and charming cellarman of 50 years, Adamo Pallecchi…
He led us to the tasting room for their famous line-up…
This one – it’s good – he seemed to say.
and it was!
The whiskey lover is even appreciating the good Italian winesCan I fit one of those in my suitcase???
And back out on the streets, a little happier for the wine
Just up from Cantina Contucci is Montepulciano’s main piazza
I loved the whimsical figures adorning the piazza – no stately statues here – these playful nymphs were chunky and lanky and loving life! You wanted to join in and cavort with them.
I heard violin music from a courtyard as we walked along and it drew me in like a siren. This handsome young man was playing in the window and then stopped to chat with a friend. Ahh, the atmosphere!
This was a fabulous panorama we stumbled upon down below Contucci and the piazza… You walked down towards an arched gate and then could see across the countryside
A murder of crows just happened along, cawing and jeering to each other.
Time to move onward to the next place, but I wish we could have stayed there a bit longer. Montepulciano is on the “return” list.
When we left, I was navigating towards Pienza, the pecorino (sheep) cheese town of Tuscany. However, as mentioned in an earlier post, it’s easy to take a wrong turn and a GPS is quite handy. So, instead of Pienza, we ended up closer to Siena. Oh well. Another day.
We really had no idea what we were doing when we arrived in Siena. My guide book said look for the soccer ball signs for the stadio for public parking. Well, I guess I was tired and we were overwhelmed with the town being much bigger than anything we’d driven in before. I got stadio confused with stazione and we ended up in the parking garage of the Siena bus and train station. Once you drove in, you couldn’t get out. You had to take a parking pass from the machine. We still didn’t have a clue where we were in relation to the town “centro” which is where we wanted to go. So we parked, wandered around a bit and figured out we were NOT in the right place or even close. **sigh**cry**
Ok, now how do we escape the parking garage – the machine won’t let us OUT! Luckily no one is behind us so Wally backs up and parks so we can figure it out. He realizes there is a machine where you pre-pay and takes care of it. Great! We’re free again.. Where is the stadio? Soccer ball sign – that way. NO, go that way… can we go home now? Oh, wait, there’s a tourist bus parking lot with cars in it ~ PARK! So we walk a mile (it seems) and get to Siena’s “centro”. We’re tired and hungry and there are lots of tourists so here are a few highlights.
Blue skies came out just as we arrived on Piazza del Campo, home to the renowned Palio horse races twice a year. Amazing that they race horses around this piazza!
A panorama of the Piazza del Campo from where we had lunch
After lunch the skies turned dark gray and rain threatened, so we decided we were ready to go home to La Mucchia Casa Vacanze, our home for the week. We arrived back in time to catch the neighbor combining the sunflowers across the street.
Time for wine! Some of the nice white wine we brought from Todi.
Tomorrow, the Arezzo Antique Fair!