Toscana – Chianti

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Our several jaunts in Chianti seemed to attract the clouds and rain.

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Perhaps the higher elevations attract more rain, but I think they started to dread seeing our little Ford Fiesta!

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The road to CASTELINNA IN CHIANTI winds up and up into the hills in the far distance.

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The town dominates the hill-top and has a lovely intimate old Town Center.

Here was another small town interested in art work.

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The church was quite beautiful,

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but it looked as though we were in for a storm, so we moved on.

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Looking at the map, we decided to visit RADDA

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As we walked into the small town, my eye was taken by these roosters, which are the symbol of Chianti Classico.  The above link tells the interesting story.

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On entering the town square, we quickly realized something was going on; a wine festival!  Each tent was exhibiting a different vineyard with tastings.

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It was the perfect opportunity to people watch.

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The  drive home was pretty spectacular.

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On another day we drove the winding back roads to GREVE, the gateway to Chianti.

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Once again, there was low cloud cover with intermittent storms.

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After having lunch in one of the restaurants in this beautiful old square, we walked around in the drizzle and rain.

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Along the route home, the low cloud wafted like smoke among the valleys.

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I’m going to include three other towns I forgot to mention in Toscana -Hill Towns.

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CORTONA, home of Francis Mayes, author of “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

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It has an impressive town square.

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When it started to rain heavily, we ducked into this restaurant for lunch.

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Afterwards, we walked up & up through the narrow lanes,

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which provided a great view of a large cemetery down in the valley.

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We continued our climb along this quaint path which led to the top of the hill, to the church we wanted to visit.

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It had beautiful stained glass windows and frescoes.

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And from the top of the hill, we could see over to lake Trasimeno (which Francis Mayes mentions frequently in her book).

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MONTALCINO lies south of Siena, just over an hour’s drive from where we were staying.

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It is also known as a very good wine region, so everything in town was about the Brunello wine.

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The town was established back in the 9th century and this fortress, which makes up part of the ancient city walls, dates to the 13th century.

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This little kitten was one of a pair, so young they were still  unsteady on their feet.  I hope their moma found them!

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A biking tour taking time out for a hearty lunch.

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Once again, I really enjoyed seeing the elderly so nicely dressed and always out and about, socializing with their neighbours.

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We then crossed the hills into a different terrain of undulating fields.  Equally as beautiful.

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We were headed East to PIENZA.

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It has also been given the designation UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Perhaps some tourists honing their artistic skills?

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The vistas were breathtaking.

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Perfect!   I think we need some more cheese.

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♦-♦-♦-♦

Next stop – Siena and Florence

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