Siena, Monteriggioni and San Gimignano
Siena is not a good city for driving and parking.
Before we get to that though we had a lovely day. Once more Rick Steve provided an excellent guide for the city of Siena. With an audio splitter and two pairs of headphones in hand we wandered the streets of Siena learning of the 17 Contrade and the parts they play in the development of the city and its famous Palio race.
The route takes you around all the major sites including the half built duomo and a coffee shop. We stopped off a few times on the way as well for carbonara, prosecco and coffee.
Siena is really beautiful and finding out about its important historical origins as well as those of the banking industry and bank robbing was also an added bonus.
Tired of walking and full of food and drink we headed off to find the car, miles away on that random street where we left it and headed out of town. Jenny got a quick driving lesson from Rob and she was pretty good if not a little nervous. Driving round a small industrial estate was fun so she might drive out on the main roads tomorrow.
Rob jumped back in the driver’s seat and we headed for a small hilltop village called Monteriggioni. Comprising of only a small square, a few buildings and a half collapsed battlement it is an utterly charming little spot to wander, look in the shops and as Jenny found out, stroke some more kitties. It is a lovely place and even better if you find the free parking, avoiding the extortionate fees.
We stayed here a little while had a drink each but decided to head on further for dinner. Deciding San Gimignano was much bigger with many more options.
Although somewhat true, the whole place seemed to be completely closing down and there was apparently no free parking. We traipsed around the whole city to find somewhere to eat, something made more difficult since we both only wanted pizza. Eventually we came back to the main square and found an option which was lovely. Two pizzas and a pineapple juice later we were on our way.
Having had only a little trouble finding a parking space last night we had assumed that we were by now certified professionals, this was not the case. A first hurdle was the road being blocked at the end with no entry followed by at least a dozen cars going in circles as we were looking for spaces.
Eventually we capitalised on a great space, available as it was small enough for the fiat 500 but not much else. Rob manoeuvred in, lined up and beamed at his work to find out that “Sabato” means Saturday, tomorrow, was street cleaning day so no parking at 6am to 8 am. Frustrated and dejected we pulled out of the space and made our way round the block five or six more times. Eventually, another space appears. The sign on the other side of the road says “Venerdi” (Friday) morning is cleaning day, success!
Walking back to the hotel we notice one side of the street is “Venerdi” but our side is “Sabato”. Oh lord no! Eventually after a few more times round the block the spectators of the football file back to Thier cars and we are rewarded with a space. Another 5 minute walk to our hotel on top of the previous 18 minutes…