Ana Raspini is a traveler, besides being an English teacher, and a writer.

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Brasileira, professora de Inglês, escritora, mas acima de tudo, viajante.
Lyrical Travel Journal

A personal, slightly lyrical, point of view on the places I have been to.

quinta-feira, 9 de julho de 2015

Top 5 Tuscany

We visited 11 towns and villages in Tuscany, Italy, this spring:
Monticchiello – Pienza
Sant'angelo in Colle – Montalcino
San Gimignano
Montefioralle – Greve in Chianti
Greve in Chianti

However, visiting so many towns in such short time was only possible because we rented a car, which is what I recommend because the weather tends to be hot most of the year. Even though it was very hot (nearly 40 degrees Celsius), we saw lots of people crossing Tuscany by bike.

As some friends ask me what towns they should visit in Tuscany, for there are hundreds of them, I tried to make a list of my favorite ones (and my friends' too).

I wanted to keep the list at 5 cities, but it is impossible to leave Siena out. So, I'll put Siena as the "base", which was what we did.

Siena - It was near Siena where we stayed at a hotel for two nights. The old town is medieval and beautiful and small enough to be seen in one day, or even half a day if you're in a hurry. I must confess that I had tears in my eyes when we got to the Piazza del Campo, that concave square where the Palio di Siena takes place. You must remember such event from the movie "Under the Tuscan Sun".

1. San Gimignano - I can't quite explain why this town had such an impact on me, after all it was (by far!) the most crowded city we visited. Buses full of U.S. American tourists stopped in front of the town and we couldn't hear Italian for blocks. However, the city was all decorated with flags and had a square with a fountain in the middle, which made it look like a medieval movie.

2. Montefioralle - This village belongs to the city of Greve in Chianti, and it was the place that had the biggest impact on my friends. We stopped there without even knowing what it was, we thought it was a castle. Turns out it is just a village, but at the time it seemed almost abandoned, because there was absolutely nobody on the streets. It was very interesting to walk for hours without seeing one tourist.

3. Monticchielo - Another charming tuscan village that gave us the gift of spending hours sighing and taking good photos. This village belongs to the city of Pienza. There was a restaurant at the entrance of the village that was crowded and the food smelled delicious. We didn't eat there, but it looked worth the try.

4. Montepulciano - This city is a bit bigger if compared to the other towns in Tuscany. Montepulciano was where we spent more time tasting wine and other delicacies. Local producers offer free tastings of almost everything you can imagine: wine, cheese, even bruschetta! I suggest you spend a little more time here, as it doesn't only offer you good photos, but also flavors and interesting conversations with the locals.

5. Monteriggioni - When you get to this village parking lot, you see an aerial photo of the city in a billboard. It is, literally, a mini village surrounded by a wall. I was so shocked by how small it was  that I counted all the buildings in the village, and was even more shocked when I realized they weren't many more than 10! Entering the city you see a small square with a fountain in the middle, and you feel taken straight to the set of a movie about the Middle Ages. Even quite small, there are 3 or 4 restaurants there.

Tuscany is amazing! It is one of the most beautiful places I've been to, and making this list nearly broke my heart. I almost regretted having decided to select half of the cities we visited, for all of them were charming and special in their own way. So, forget the sequence I put them, all these 6 towns are worth every kilometer and every drop of sweat to get there.


For the Portuguese version, go to Diario Lirico de Viagem

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