The Tuscan Countryside 🇮🇹

 


As we continued to explore Italy, we realized that this peninsula alternates between beauty and idyll. Some parts were dazzling such that everything's smothered with things that shine resplendently. The other parts, on the other hand, were so much simpler. But make no mistake, a simple view of farms would breathe stressors away, giving you nostalgia for older times you will never live through...

In Tuscany, it's the latter part that was more common. This idyllic region will whisk you to a bygone era that still exists to this day, somehow preserved while all the rest were completely obliterated by ravages of time.

Tuscany is a region so popular that it is regarded as the birthplace of Italian Renaissance. On its countryside, we saw dozens of vineyards, scattered among countless rolling hills. Tuscany, after all, is also known worldwide for its wines, wines, and wines. 


En Route from Siena


One of the more noteworthy sights in Siena, which we saw while our bus was drifting away...


Siena was our first stop on our Tuscan Country Tour. By this time, we have seen the glory of this Gothic City and we were now on our way to see the next two destinations, San Gimignano and Pisa.


Fattoria, A Family Farm



Before we head on out to these two destinations, we needed to eat lunch. At Fattoria, we had a five-course meal, and some wines and champagnes. Every glass you see on the picture was meant for another kind of wine. The smallest one, as I remember, was reserved for the sweetest, to give you a lasting memory of how pleasant the midday meal was.

Myself inside Fattoria



Fattoria had an amazing view of the Tuscan Countryside. With this view, our meals and wines seemed more fantastic. We've come a long way just to experience what a Tuscan lunch tastes and feels like. I would say that I want to come back for more.

My sister, just outside Fattoria



We were told that Fattoria was established in 2001. I honestly felt a little disappointed as I did think this family farm has been existing for centuries. Regardless, the ambience, the architecture still looked divine.


San Gimignano, A Medieval Town


View of San Gimignano from Fattoria

Fattoria had an unobstructed view of San Gimignano, our next destination. As you can see in the picture, no skyscrapers! Everything was either green or brown. It's almost completely rural. I might even consider San Gimignano rural too. But, despite everything being rural, San Gimignano is by no means remote. Near major cities such as Florence and Siena, it is not that far from modern civilization. 

Yet, you can really feel the simplicity of Middle Ages while still having all the luxuries of modern world, making the "trip back in time" comfortable and convenient.




Many cities in Tuscany had tall towers within their city walls, which were built for security purposes. Guards and soldiers would climb to the top to look out for invaders and marauders. Most of these towers were destroyed during wars, catastrophes, or have fallen victim to gentrification. In San Gimignano, however, 14 of such towers were incredibly preserved for almost a thousand years.

As the medieval town stands erect on a hill, these noteworthy towers give Tuscany an "unforgettable skyline." San Gimignano's ethereal beauty and historical value catapulted its historic centre into a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.








There are only 7,000 residents in San Gimignano, but, at one point, there have been 3 million tourists in one year (more than 8,000 tourists per day). As the town is merely 900 by 500 meters, there were approximately two tourists per square meter.

The town was overcrowded not by residents, but by tourists. Fortunately, we didn't experience this horrible incident when we visited San Gimignano, but I'm not sure if every passerby we've seen was a tourist...




Gelato!

Davide, the tour guide, told us to visit the store with the "best gelato in the world." When we got there, there were so many people lined up to buy this famed delicacy. I saw another gelato shop with no line at all. In my experience, every city in Italy had equally amazing gelatos so I thought to myself, "was that just another promotional stratagem? I can't tell if one gelato is better than the other, they are all fantastic!"

I told my sister that the other shop had no line and the sunny weather was becoming unbearable. After an exchange of conversations, we decided to switch. In no time, half of the people from the shop with long lines transferred to this other shop. My sister and I chuckled because the gelatos we had were fantastic, and we didn't care anymore if it wasn't the best.


My sister posing next to an ancient cistern.


Divina Comedia, retold orally


He was certainly passionate about it

While strolling the town's cobbled streets, we saw an old man speaking in Deep Italian. We can't understand what he was saying, but there was a book in front of him entitled "Divina Comedia." I don't think he would be joyfully narrating another classic, otherwise that would be strange. His passion, his attire, and his gestures entertained us even though we didn't understand a word he said.


Peered over the Tuscan scenery...


Just one of the many souvenir shops in San Gimignano


A simple alley with a splendid view...


Rural Tuscany

Our short stop at San Gimignano had come to an end so we were off to the third and last part of our Tuscan Country Tour -- Pisa.


Playful At Pisa



Our last stop was Pisa where the famous leaning tower stands. This freestanding bell tower leans by almost four degrees, which was caused by unstable foundation. This erroneous mistake was a blessing in disguise, as it instead contributed so much more funds to the local coffers of Pisa by the mere fact that it is leaning.


The belltower, the baptistery and the cathedral were designed with Romanesque Style in the 12th Century but completion took more than two centuries.





The Cathedral and the Tower


The Baptistery


Mama Sarah


My sister


The magnetic fields of my elbow prevent the tower from collapsing.









The tower is as tall as 183 feet on its low side and 185 feet on its high side. In 1990, the tower leaned for about 5.5 degrees. Restoration took place, bringing back the angle to 4 degrees. Makes one wonder, why didn't they correct it altogether? Perhaps, the flaws of the tower earn more than anything else in Pisa. You would agree with me that this is much more a promotional genius than it is an artistic stratagem. We were fooled.




For the price of 20 euros, you would be allowed to climb the tower. It seems expensive so I thought there must be something outrageous to see. Scroll below to find out.









Well, nothing much. I guess, Pisa is good at enticing people to spend money for their attractions because I relented to this kind of temptation without realizing that there's not much to see on top.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed climbing the tower. There was a little thrill as the circling steps to the top would, at times, be more challenging because of the nature of the tower. There was also a little fear that you might slip a little and fall back, affecting all the people behind you and you all fall downstairs like pieces of domino.

I still remember the feeling, the fear, and the excitement, which were more valuable than anything else. After all, there was not much to see but there's much to feel and remember. I won't say that 20 euros was well worth it. I think they should lower down the price to half.


Tuscany In A Nutshell

I would remember this idyllic region as a huge contrast to Legazpi. Here, there's rains all year round, and the pastures are vividly verdant. In Tuscany, on the other hand, everything seems dry, and the skies are absolutely devoid of clouds. Tuscany is a breath of fresh air to me as it is the opposite of my hometown. I appreciate a change in environment, and Tuscany satiated that need.

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