Nothing to Whine About

Trip Start Aug 05, 2013
Trip End Oct 15, 2013

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Flag of Italy  , Tuscany,
Monday, September 2, 2013

When I was planning my trip, the bus tour of Tuscany was something I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint.

The day started with a visit to the town of Siena. While there wasn't much to see here other than the cathedral, twice a year Siena hosts a horse race known as the Palio right in the center of town.

During the Palio, ten horses represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The jockeys ride bareback, circling the Piazza del Campo three times and the race lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and is not unusual to see horses finishing the race without their jockeys.

After Siena we headed to Poggio Alloro Farmhouse for a tour of the vineyards, lunch and wine tasting. Considering the number of bottles on the table, glasses consumed and the to-go cups requested, I'm not sure if I would refer to it as "tasting," but that sounds more Tour of Tuscany so we'll stick with that.

Now that everyone was good and drunk, our tour guide Eliza corralled us back onto the bus and we headed to San Gimignano.

Everything was quite hilarious when we arrived at San Gimignano (thank you Poggio Alloro!) and our first thought was that we needed to find more wine. But we quickly realized with only an hour in this beautiful medieval town, we could not spend it at a bar. We explored as much as we could in the time alotted and even made a stop at Gelateria Dondoli, the gelato world champion.

We had more than an hour drive until our next stop in Pisa and Eliza recommended that this would be a good time to take a nap (i.e. sober up).

We arrived in Pisa feeling refreshed, and while I thought this part of the trip seemed a bit cheesy, when I first caught a glimpse of the tower I was impressed. We of course still had to take the requisite cheesy pics, but it is really quite cool in person.

After giving everyone time to capture the perfect Pisa shot (believe me there are endless ways to pose with the tower - people are quite creative), we took a quick tour of the city, and after a long day, it was time to head home.

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Michele P on

Hey Melissa,
I'm just getting caught up on your posts . It seems like your trip is going really well. The pictures are GREAT and the commentary really entertaining. I'm staring at gray skies in Chicago -- through my frosted office window and past the cubes, of course. Your views are SO MUCH BETTER. Enjoy!!! - Michele

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