Saturday, September 17, 2011

TOSCANA...and other such hilltop towns...



This shall be the very, very condensed version of my past week. Just the highlights. You don't want 200 photos in one blog post, trust me. I haven't blogged sooner because, well, I HAD NO INTERNET! *pulls out hair* What is this world coming to, when you travel to distant lands and stress because even your 3G gets all Italian on you and takes siestas throughout the day? Ugh. Moving on...

We've spent almost the entire week gallavanting about the Tuscan countryside. We went to Sansepulcro and watched their annual Palio della Balestra Festival – a medieval crossbow match.
The target after all competitors shot
My favorite

The next day we went to Montepulciano, where New Moon was filmed (*clears throat* Alice’s car? Volturi?) then on to Montalcino for some Brunello tasting.

Me with Montepulciano in background

The building Edward stepped out of...the fountain was built
for the square since there is none.
The streets of Monetpulciano
I also want to take a moment to inform you, if you didn’t know, that there really aren’t any “major” roads in Tuscany. Sure, you might have a freeway here and there, but the “main” roads in lovely Toscana feel like your neighbors long and windy driveway.  After a full day of feeling like I was going to throw up (yes, I'm very sensitive to motion which I find it highly inconvenient ), me and Dramamine were best friends.

Near Montalcino with abbey in background

The next day we went to San Gimignano (pronounced “Jimmin-yahno”, unless you’re the GPS, who insisted on calling it “Jimig-Nane-oh”. Come to think of it, hearing a GPS say Italian words was quite entertaining…). In San Gimi, we had our cooking class. We made homemade pasta (pici) and bruschetta and sauces and panzanella and chicken…and our teacher picked the herbs fresh from her garden. Our dear teacher said, “The secret—“ she wagged her finger “—wait, there is no secret. Everything must be fresh!” Oh, and never—and I mean NEVER—serve bread with pasta. When we told her that is how it’s done in the States, her jaw dropped and her eyes bulged and she said, “Oh, noooooo!”

View from the Fortress in San Gimigniano

Homemade pici and cheeses (um, NOT homemade :D  )...Mmmmmm!
By the way, a staple of Toscana is fagioli (cannellini beans). They're on every menu as a side, and we always ordered it to share. It's my new favorite food group. Also, a little warning about the shops and restaurants here. They open and close when they want. On three different occasions, my uncle had a restaurant picked out, but when we arrived, they were closed for whatever reason. O_o

Okay, and something else really random. They sell paprika seasoned Pringles here. Yeah, I know I'm in Italy. Why am I eating Pringles? Well, my uncle bought some for our long car ride (not a lot to choose from at gas stations...) and THEY'RE DELICIOUS! We ended up buying Pringles for every car ride. I'm going to buy a few packs for the return trip...

The next day, in my Dramamine-induced coma, we headed for San Marino. Like the Vatican, it’s its own small country. It took us all of a windy, narrow three-hour drive to get there, and it was beautiful!

From the top of San Marino, Umbria in background (and a "perspiring" raincloud...)
The next day was Assisi (my personal favorite…mostly because I like to climb around in ancient castles)


Me on top of the castle railing!

I LOVED this long corridor! It went between towers...
Alas, we’ve arrived in Roma, where we ended this jaunt. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen the Colosseo, it always amazes me. And I always have to take a photo of it ;) I find it incredible that people and cars and mopeds and busses drive down cobblestone streets, and…BAM! There’s the Colosseum.

Spanish Steps - finally, without scaffolding!

Colosseum. Wait, does this even need a label?

NEVER drive in Rome. Never, ever, EVER! There aren’t lanes, and even when there are, people ignore them. Cars go everywhere, triple park, quadruple park, taxi’s drive on sidewalks, mopeds try and take off rearview mirrors—I usually close my eyes in the taxis.

Flying back home tomorrow. It's been a WONDERFUL vacation, but I miss Ben and can't wait to see him.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure.

Ciao e buona sera!

***If you like YA Fantasy, check out my book, GAIA'S SECRET. The sequel is coming soon!


  1. First of all, thanks for the journey! I enjoyed seeing new places and a couple familiar places. The abbey was close to where we stayed. What a wonderful family adventure for you. Have a safe trip home!

  2. waoooow amazing! and very nice,have a nice trip back home.greatings nina azar

  3. Well look at you! All chic and European and beautiful!! Wow it's been forever since I've stopped by and couldn't remember your blog addy so found it today to see what you've been up to.
    Oh you must be having so much fun! I discovered very early on in Rome that it's somewhere i'll never drive. lol And I've been to San Gimi... visited a torture museum there that I'll never forget.
    How cool you saw where New Moon was filmed! What an awesome awesome trip. Okay, now I'm going to get caught up on your previous posts....
    ciao, bella! :)

  4. Hi, I wanted to let you know that I have given you a Liebster Blog award on my site. The link is here:


  5. Jen - THANK YOU!

    Norma - Oh, what a beautiful place you must've stayed. Thank YOU for reading along...I always love it when you post your travel adventures.

    Nina - Thank you! Wish you guys could've come along.

    Pk - Oh I SAW that torture museum, but we didn't go in. So much to see, and the list keeps growing, doesn't it?? Ciao ciao bella :D

    Jamie - Aww, thanks :D

  6. Your photos make me hungry to go! It's on my bucket list, just after England, Scotland, and Ireland! It looks like you enjoyed yourself!

    Even if they take a 3 hour siesta every day, it's a far cry from "The American Way" of cramming 30 hours of stuff in a 24 hour day!

    Thank you for sharing your trip!! :)

  7. M.S. - That bucket list never stops growing, doesn't it??? So glad you enjoyed the photos...England, Scotland, and Ireland are near the top of my list, too.

  8. Those pictures are AMAZING! Such incredible sights!

  9. Satta king Play Bazaar
    this is a good is a great idea to do business with a security company that has 24*7 hours monitoring


Thanks for stopping by! Please, leave a message...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...