Panzano,San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni

Sunday, April 30

Panzano is where we began our first full day in Tuscany strolling through their delightful Sunday Market. There are shoes, clothing, fresh vegetables, cheese stands, meat stands, and lots of leather goods.

I eyed a few items to ponder on as we headed to one Dario Cecchini's meat market who is Italys most famous butcher. It's here we sampled his homemade sausage and stuffed pork not to mention the homemade bread and Olive Oil, Yummy!  This outdoor market was small but gave you the feeling that it was big as well, like a neighborhood party was going on. A great start to our Tuscan tour.
Our next stop was to Monteriggioni: a small town in the province of Siena located high on a hill surrounded by vineyards and olive groves, a charming and breathless place that looks set back in time.


The Ladies
 It still has all of its' medieval surrounding walls intact as well as 14 gigantic towers.  The best thing to do to enjoy one of those breathtaking panoramic views of the countryside would be to climb the tower and walk right on the wall, which is at least 580 meters long. 

Although we didn't have time to do this another interesting thing to visit especially with children who love listening to stories of knights is the fun "Armour Museum". It houses pretty incredible reproductions of medieval and Renaissance weapons and armor.  You are able to 'hear the story on your skin' and try on some of the weapons and armor.  After all, what child does not dream of being a knight for a day (and let's be honest, many adults too)? 

San Gimignano entrane
Our next destination was to the town of San Gimignano one of the most charming and picturesque of all Tuscan hill towns.

Like many walled medieval towns in Tuscany, San Gimignano was once used as a fortress in the hands of different empires and powerful noble families throughout its long existence.  It's roots date back to Etruscan time (3rd Century BC) and is primarily noted for its medieval towers.  At one time more than 70 towers existed (built as symbols and wealth) but now only 14 remain.  The views from the top were spectacular with the orange colored roof tops and valleys below.  This town is a wonderful place to shop for ceramics, art, leather goods, and as Rory promised the best Gelato in Italy. There are street performers and so many cute little cafes. Just one note: backpacks and wine shops not good, just saying! We loved this town and would love to return here someday and stay longer. 


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