Greetings from Lucca!
We left Amalfi on Wednesday morning and struck out on our own after throwing Rod and Loi out of the car at the confusing Naples airport.
We drove for quite a while until reaching the lovely hilltop town of Assisi. We spent half an dhour driving about looking for our hotel only to find it was near the city gate just under the magnificent basillica of San Francesco (THE Saint Francis of Assisi) The town was cold and windy as we walked up to the church. The streets were filled with interesting little shops and businesses many selling local products like cross stitch and lace. It was very cold with the wind whistling about thre streets but we made ourselves warm in a little bar by the church. We had a fantastic pasta meal in the main square before heading back to our hotel to warm up.
The next day we drove into Tuscany to Montepulciano. This was a medieval hilltop village with more narrow streets of beautiful buildings this time made of stone. We explored the streets up to the top of the hill. There were magnificent classic Tuscan views from all of the doorways and through the arches as the weather grew finer and sunnier. We ate bread wine and cheese for lunch before heading off to Sienna.
We drove right into Sienna nearly lobbing into the main square before finding a one way way road down a cliff to a dodgy park. This place was full of people, although it was late afternoon and the day before Easter. We followed a walking trail around the oldest part of the city which lead to a handbag shop for Vicky and a trouser shop for Graeme.
We left Sienna for Monteriggiore and our accommodation at Castelbigozzi. This was a 12th century castle/manor/farm on the top of a hill in classic Tuscan style. Our room had great wooden beams and our shuttered windows had views across the Tuscan hills. This is the view from our window.
Today we drove to San Gimignano which was yet again another hilltop medieval village. The feature of this place was its towers built about 900 years ago. More walking and lots of browsing and another trail from the Eyewitness book and that is about it for the whole medieval hilltop tuscan village experience.
We are in Lucca which is another medieval town but this time not io a hill. We drove into the town through an amazing system of walls a bit like a classic castle. Inside it is very cosmopolitan with lots of shops and businesses. Everyone whizzes about on bikes. We hired two bikes and rode around the top of the wall.
Good Friday is a bit different here with the streets absolutely chockers with families promenading - as busy as Friday night before Christmas in Rundle Mall.
Tomorrow it is onto Florence for four days. Vicky has found a few gaps in her wardrobe re the whole leather bag and jacket thing. It could get very messy!
By the way - click on the photos for a bigger view AND keep the comments coming!!