SIENA - SAN GIMIGNANO - ASSISI
While at the Villa we visited a number of towns in Tuscany and Umbria. Sometimes we would all to the same town, other times we would split up and visit a town of interest to a particular couple. This is one of the essential elements of a successful group tour - independence.
First settled in the time of the Etruscans ( 900 to 400 BC). Then came the Roman era. Siena is said to be founded by Senius, son of Remus, the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. As Siena was not near the major roads it missed on opportunities for trade and in general is said to not have done very well under Roman rule.
Later, around the 1100's the city had its major development that included the Duomo and the impressive Piazza del Campo, which is considered one of the most beautiful civic spaces in Europe.
Be careful about having lunch at one of the restaurants on the piazza. In previous years we have had a lunch on the piazza at a reasonable price. This year, well, the food was pricey. Check the menu and the price before you sit down!
Do spend some time walking the streets that lead away from the piazza. The crowds are thinner and you will be able to get a feel for the city.
One can not go to Tuscany and return without the question: did you see San Gimignano? Unfortunately it is a day-trip nightmare with with streets just jammed with tourists. On previous trips we have stayed just outside of the town, and going into San Gimignano in the evening is a more pleasant experience. Oh well, join the crowds and see the town as it is very spectacular.
Originally an etruscan settlement it became a city-republic in the 12th Century. The walls of the city date back to 998. It was a town of importance in those days as it was along the business route known as the Francigena Way.
The families that ran the town had 72 towers built. Of these, there are 15 towers that remain.
There are ample shops to select leather or ceramics along the main streets and of course, a gelato is in order.
Located in the province of Perugia, and part of the Region of Umbria, this is the birthplace of St. Francis, who founded the Franciscan religious order in 1208.