by Melinda Gallo

A day trip around Tuscany

Today my husband and I took his parents, sister, and our nephew on a tour of Tuscany. We started at San Gimigniano, then to Volterra, and finally to Monteriggioni. We hired a driver, Massimiliano, to take us around in a van. I got spoiled when we did this with my brother just last week to go to the outlet malls. I didn't want to rent a car and drive five other people around a place I've only been driven to myself. Besides, that's no way to enjoy the countryside.

We arrived in my favorite Tuscan town, San Gimigniano. The lush Tuscan hills lead up to this panoramic town. The main street is lined with tourists and shops: everything from leather to ceramics. The open market was being held in the two main piazze near the main church downtown.

Next, we went to Volterra, which is a quiet town whose specialty is alabastro (alabaster). The countryside looked different on our way here: more arid and more rugged. I had the best gelato al limone ever in a bar that makes their own gelato.

The last town on our visit was Monteriggioni. A small walled town on a hill near Siena. There are only three bars, a few restaurants, and a couple of shops to buy wine or souvenirs. You can walk from one side to the other in about 1 minute if you take your time.

Each town was unique, each town was beautiful in its own right, and each town definitely deserves a longer visit some day...especially San Gimigniano!

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