After three beautiful days in Tuscany, which included a visit to the fortified town of San Gimignano and Siena, it was time to hit the road again to Perugia. The forecast was for rain and unfortunately the weather forecast was correct so I packed the bike with light rain falling.
The rain didn’t last too long and soon eased as we drew closer to San Gimignano. Walled towns are one of the features of Tuscany and San Gimignano is a great example with defensive walls extending around the perimeter. San Gimignano also has 14 medieval tower houses which makes it quite unique.
Another feature of this part of Tuscany were the large yellow stone brick houses. Situated on hilltops fields of olives and grapes stretching out below them. At this time of year all the trees were being pruned so columns of smoke slowly rose from amongst the trees. With all the smoke there was no chance of capturing any decent landscape photographs or long shots but it was still nice just to enjoy the moment.
As we headed south we skirted around Monteriggioni Castle. On the slopes surrounding it olives grew in abundance.
The Tuscany countryside is so beautiful with rolling hills, stone brick houses and neat rows of grapes and olives.
Once again the satnav took us on an adventure as we were diverted down single lane roads as we picked our way around Siena. It was pretty slow going.
What should have been an hour trip to Sienna took us 90 minutes. From Siena the countryside changed into rolling hills and grain country. By the time we reached Cassia it was time for a stop. Being a Sunday the only place open was a little bar cafe. In true Italian tradition it seemed all the men of Cassia were all in the bar. Some even had brought their kids along and were treating them to gelato. It was an interesting mix of men with grandfather’s proudly showing off their grandkids.
From Cassio we headed south to Asciano a fortified town set on the highest point of land. The old defensive walls still surround the town and there’s lots of medieval houses. Beyond Asciano the the landscape had a huge transformation. The rolling hills were replaced with scrubby hill country. The local farmers scratched small paddocks here and there but the terrain was too harsh for large scale farming. Around the area huge granite boulders were scattered about which reminded us of the south of France.
At Casa Bianca not far from Sinalunga the landscape changed again with fields of grapes and smaller holdings of olives covering the hills. It was quite interesting seeing the changing landscapes.
As it was a sunday there was bugger all open. We rode through rown after rown without seeing any sign of life.
Eventually at Torrita Di Siena we found a Bar Tabac which was overflowing with punters watching the racing. The food on offer was pretty poor, just scabby sandwiches but I made the most of it and ate both of ours. Waste not want not. It wasnt the kind of place to sit idly chatting over a coffee so we didn’t linger. The last leg towards Perugia took us around Mirabella which overlooked the lake and over the last hills before the city.
As we drew close to Perugia we were surprised at how rough the roads were. They were absolutely shocking.
Our satnav didn’t like all the vibrations so called it quits. Our only choice was to rely on the iPhone and google maps. The streets of the old city were pretty steep and trying to find the hotel using the iPhone was useless. Eventually after riding around for twenty minutes we found a sign which pointed us is in the right direction. Soon we found the hotel and after checking in, we headed up to the room.
The room had a great view out over the city below and out towards the distant mountains.
As Michele had skipped her sandwiches at Torrita Di Siena she was famished so our first mission was to find real food. Armed with a map the hotel owner had given us we headed off towards the centre. Well of course we couldn’t find the restaurant that’d been suggested. Our only choice was to keep looking. Eventually we found a great little restaurant just off the main piazza. The restaurant was a little family run business with the two kids running the front of shop and the parents cooking. The food was great and the prices reasonable so I think we’ll visit this restaurant again.
Later we walked around the old city looking at the lovely old medieval buildings. I think we’re going to enjoy our next few days in Perugia.