Fog and mist seems to be a popular occurrence in Tuscany, not surprising given the 95% humidity that prevails here year-round. It’s OK now when the temperature is 20 degrees, but I cannot imagine the sauna in summer at 35. We broke fast, reorganized our luggage and by 11 o’clock the sun was peeking out.
The sweet hostess at our lovely agriturismo (B&B La Concordia – definitely a place to stay in Tuscany) reminded me that San Gimignano, one of the highlights of the trip, is in fact en route to Siena, and so we were off…
We stopped at a mass-production winery on the way, to make sure we start the day right with a wine tasting. Nothing special, but a good way to set benchmarks.
We are avoiding highways, and the drive through lush green Tuscan hills really felt like being in a film or novel. No matter what one might say about Tuscany being “sold out” and “overrated”… there is a reason why everybody flocks to this place, and dreams about it when they leave. It is simply stunning, especially now with the richness of spring.
And then there was San Gimignano. Shrouded in a grey cloud when we arrived, it looked positively medieval (well, it is) at the approach.
The first walk through the town leaves one gaping. Around every corner is a sight never before imagined (and equally unimaginable numbers of people).
and also somewhat hungry, a problem we solved at the Locanda Sant’Agostino. Indeed, it was the finest meal we have had in Italy so far, especially the pappardelle al cinghiale and gnocchi con tartufo, and the dessert of sheep cheese custard with caramelized pears.
By the time we finished our meal, and a bottle of wine, and limoncello, and coffee, the clouds had been swept away and the sun blazed in a blue sky.
We looked into the ancient church on the Piazza Sant’Agostino, which houses some of the finest treasures in the town (of which there are many). The oldest fresco is from 1317.
Then we decided to do the entire round about the town again, and also to ascend the highest tower. There is no way to describe the views.
On the way down, the gentleman at the bottom invited us to view a very special room, which hosted the likes of Dante Alighieri, princes, cardinals and popes, who saw exactly what we were seeing 700 years later. The frescoes date from 1299…
Reluctantly, we left the town basking in the afternoon sun and headed towards our next destination, Siena, without any idea of what to expect.