Living under the Tuscan Sun (Siena, Italy)

It’s quiet.

In the distance a hum from a farmer starting his tractor. The odd bird calling, but it’s dead calm. The fog eerily crawls through the valley as the sun rises over Siena and the hills await the warmth. Centuries old villas and monasteries nestle on the hills, as the suns first rays glisten the walls with the deepest orange.

It’s early and asides the farmer, the streets of Siena are bare of the life that will choke it later this morning. Bus loads of tourist descend from Rome or Florence to spend a few hours admiring II Campo whilst tasting some gelato. The greenest of grass is damp from the nights dew, but this only adds to the landscape. The brick walls of Sienna that ring the town, are in turn the gateway to Tuscany. Step through the gate, and rolling hills await you.

They greet you as an old friend. You feel like you have been here before. That this back road will take you on a journey into the heartland of Tuscany. Walk far enough and the paved road becomes a dusty track leading further out into olive groves and vineyards.

Vespa in Siena

We are glad we visited both Siena and Florence. As the ancient rivalry goes, we should pick one as our favorite. If we had our time again we might have stayed a few days more in Siena and headed out on Vespa from here. Siena had a certain feeling about. A place to visit for an afternoon, for a quite stroll around its cobbled streets and then maybe some gelato. It’s more laid back pace and you can enjoy the town with no beggars/gypsy approaching you. For this reason and the stunning views from our hotel, we chose Siena.

Returning to Firenze on Wednesday to take the train to Lugano, we were greeted by an old friend in these parts. A innovative gypsy who boarded the train as soon as it stopped and then proceeded to “assist” passengers with their baggage. Initially unaware of what was happening with this gypsy Porter, and it was like time stood still, our luggage was loaded. Only when the cases were locked down did it become apparent our ‘Porter’ wanted a tip! Ah Italy, we won’t miss this!

Our train sped out of Firenze heading north towards Milano. Sitting back in our leather arms chairs, we stretched our legs and relaxed. Outside Italy passed us by, delighting us with bright blue skies and green fields, with the occasional village to break the picturesque view. In the confines of our arm chairs, we felt totally relaxed and did what all good Italians do after lunch, we took a nap.

This entry was originally published at TravelPod on 4 October 2012.

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