South Tuscany At last we get to the walks - the major portion of the trip. This page is devoted to the walks on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. The Walkers' World representatives, David and JR, and guides Lorenzo and Sarah were responsible for a well thought-out itinerary and setting the historical context to explain what we were seeing. It was very difficult to winnow down all the photos taken to a few that are representative of Tuscany in general and the towns in particular.
The Tuscany - South Walking Tour group photo
A great group to be with
From our headquarters at Vescovado we walk to the hill-top village of Murlo.
We take the bus to Montalcino and, after lunch walk part of the Pilgrimage route to the remote abbey of St. Antimo. Note the hills...
Destination Murlo in the distance. Rough plowed land to absorb more winter rains - a pretty common practice.
Guides Sarah and Lorenzo. Darryl paying close attention.
Sandra & Lorenzo at the gate to the fortress at Montalcino. This was the last to fall to Florence. It is also the home of Brunello wine - yum.
Each year there is a competition for the label on the vintage Brunello - this was my clear favourite - got to have a sense of humour.
Speaking of deep, dark and delicious - here are Sangiovese grapes on their way to becoming Brunello ....
A great overview of the Tuscan countryside. St. Antimo church is center-left and is our destination for this walk.
Light-green Olive trees in orchards. cypress spires beside roads and grapes in rows...repeating elements of the Tuscan countryside.
St. Antimo: The old, 9thC original apse beside a later construction. The older structure is attributed to Charlemagne - maybe?
3 - 8
Do I have a fixation with grapes? These are (likely) Vernaccia which in a couple of years will be a good white wine typical of this area.
A break in the walk and a chance for Lorenzo to answer questions.
San Gimignano from a distance with all 14 of the original medieval towers still standing
This year's grape harvest was just getting underway. Old fashioned hand picking and modern equipment says a lot about the industry.
San Gimignano - a motto - He who has the tallest tower, or the most towers, wins
San Gimignano is famous, aside from its architecture, for saffron. We had lunch at the 4-Cats (Quatro Gatto) - ravioli and risotto.
2 - 6
A longish bus ride to the starting point for this day's walk. We walk through the countryside to the (hill-top) town of San Gimignano.
It's a nice, warm day and in the afternoon the town does a lively trade in gelatos.
A rest break in the shade close to Bagno Vignoni. The geothermal spring has cooled but still has a lot of minerals and sulfur in it.
Hot water pouring out of a vent near the top of a cliff. Several mills used the falling water for power.
Bagno Vignoni: The town square is a spa tub - famous baths since Roman times.
We have wildlife. On a rock near Bagno Vignoni this little critter didn't hang around for a conversation.
Pienza: Pieve dei Santi Vito e Modesto a Corsagnano - church lintel depicts a two finned mermaid - like the Starbuck's icon
Pienza: A selection of Pecorino cheeses - differing ages and methods of maturation discovered by accident when hiding the cheese in WWII
5 - 6
We're off to the ancient hot springs of Bagno Vignoni from our starting point at San Quirico.
In the afternoon we bused to Pienza for a look around. Later we visit an old church with some interesting decorations.