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We got up today in

posted by xscot mcknight

We got up today in San Gimignano and said, “Hey, let’s go over to Volterra today.” About 45 minutes. So, after a light breakfast and wandering through San Gim for about an hour, we got in our car and drove through what we think is the finest scenery in all of Italy: Tuscan landscapes.
Volterra is an ancient Truscan town, which at one time hosted some 25,000 residents who were bent on powerful defense of themselves. Think Spartans. The Florentines took them over, which they had the knack of doing — even sending the great Dante from his home. One favorite site is the port, built in about the 4th Century BC, made of tufa, reminded us again of how ancient this city is.
We enjoyed our time there. I have to admit that some of our favorite experiences in Italy are simply sitting in an outdoor cafe and having coffee (latte). Love it. Peaceful, quiet hubub of tourists — many of them German which gives me the delight of listening in on spoken German and occasionally talking in German with some natives. And of course we do dip in occasionally to a gelato shop.
And we love to stop at vineyards and olive orchards during our drives. We stop in to taste (and purchase) “tipici produtti” — home-made stuff. We stopped at now fewer than three places today — for some olive oil and vino rosso.
We don’t miss Florence one minute.
Have you ever seen the sun cascade over a Tuscan hillside of poppies or olive trees or vineyards?
On eating dinner … every restaurant is local, private, non-corporate. And we try to pick a restuarant where I can taste the local chef’s take on risotto.



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Carlo

posted May 30, 2007 at 3:38 am


Yes you can understand why the Brits love Tuscany so much too. E proprio bellissimo.
Umbria next door is also full of treats: Gubbio, Perugia and Assisi are well worth a visit and the landscape can be just as beautiful.



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Ted Gossard

posted May 30, 2007 at 4:17 am


Wow, I can almost feel and especially taste it. Thanks for living that for some of the rest of us. Oh,…maybe someday (Deb wants to go to where her ancestry is from sometime, Germany. That would be fun, too, with the beer and everything.)



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Pat

posted May 30, 2007 at 7:57 am


How relaxing! You guys know how to do it!
Safe travels home…you’d probably like to stay forever!
We’re all envious!



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tony jones

posted May 30, 2007 at 8:14 am


I totally agree with you and Kris. I think Firenze is entirely overrun with American art history students, and thus less enjoyable than lesser known sites. I spent a day in Volterra in 1989 — I bet it hasn’t changed a bit.



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John W Frye

posted May 30, 2007 at 8:59 am


You could be a writer for travelogues–you help us see, hear and taste Italy!



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CAS

posted May 30, 2007 at 10:17 am


Scot,
You’re scaring me with the negative comments about Florence. I’m planning on taking a trip there to see the art for my 25th wedding anniversary. What’s the story? Too many crowds?



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Diane

posted May 30, 2007 at 10:54 am


CAS,
Florence is wonderful, magnificent, but yes crowded and full of students. Well worth the effort, I’d say. You may know this (we didn’t): book your spot for the major museums as far in advance as you can, as in months. We had to wait in line for two hours to see the Uffizi (well worth the wait) but we naively thought we could call two days ahead and get a reservation. (PS: I went there as a 20th anniversary trip two years ago.)



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CAS

posted May 30, 2007 at 12:53 pm


Thanks Diane, I appreciate the tips : )



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Diane

posted May 30, 2007 at 2:07 pm


I too loved Tuscany (and Umbria) and if not for pesky details like three children at home … ah … could have stayed for a long, long, long time. Now Scot, as one gelato fan to another could you define what an “occasional” gelato is …? I’m curious …



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J-Marie

posted May 30, 2007 at 4:20 pm


favorite gelato flavors include….. ?



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Peter

posted May 31, 2007 at 6:44 am


Das mit den Deutschkenntnissen wusste ich gar nicht – wie schön! Noch einen gesegneten Urlaub in der Toskana!



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Julie

posted May 31, 2007 at 9:56 am


To CAS:
Florence must be visited, experienced, explord. For sure book museums ahead. Pay attention to Mondays (many are closed) and find out holidays and rennovation periods. The David must have a reserved ticket of the wait is horrible.
But Florence can get tiring too. The crowds, the noise, the busyness of the city. Tuscany is so marvelous, so enchanting that it is worth it to do both Florence and then some other town. San Gimigniano is a favorite with Europeans who travel to Italy and skip the big cities.
Happy honeymoon!
Julie



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Julie

posted May 31, 2007 at 9:59 am


LOL – 25th wedding anniversary. Not honeymoon!
Definitely include a trip to Tuscany. More romantic. :)
Julie



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Scot McKnight

posted May 31, 2007 at 10:02 am


Diane,
Never more than two per day. :)



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