a short stroll through damp monteriggioni

After leaving Siena, we drove to Monteriggioni, a castle town with not much to it. The Castle of Monteriggioni was begun in 1213 and enclosed completely by walls. The expense and labor was paid for by Siena as a strong defensive bulwark against Florence’s expansion into the sensitive area crossed by the Via Francigena. The history of this town is filled with countless armed clashes with its rival Florence, which many times tried to destroy the walled hamlet.

Monteriggioni fell during the siege of 1553 by the imperial troops aligned with the Florentines, who bombarded the castle until it surrendered.

fullsizeoutput_1ddfb

The Castle of Monteriggioni

fullsizeoutput_1ddfc

The Castle of Monteriggioni

fullsizeoutput_1ddfd

The Castle of Monteriggioni

The Via Francigena in Tuscany goes over the Ciso Pass to follow mule tracks through forests and reminders of medieval times. The road goes past fortified villages and then descends to the Ligurian Sea at Sarzona; it continues alongside the Apuan Alps to reach the walls of Lucca.  It then travels through the valleys of central Tuscany and crosses the Arno to the fortress of San Miniato. From here, past vineyards and olive groves, and following a path through the Elsa Valley, it reaches the 14th century towers of San Gimignano and medieval Siena.

It sounds much like the Camino de Santiago, and I noted that I should check it out for a future long-distance walk.

fullsizeoutput_1e293

Via Francigena

We strolled through the town as rain threatened.

IMG_7858

Monteriggioni

IMG_7859

The Chiesa di Santa Maria, which dates back to the 13th century, was once the headquarters for a canonical community. It has Romanesque-Gothic features and is composed of a single nave with apse.  There is a small round window framed in brickwork, a source of light on the inside, together with small side windows and the large Gothic window on the back wall.

fullsizeoutput_1ddff

Chiesa di Santa Maria

We dipped into a few shops; in one of them I bought a white t-shirt with a newsprint design on it for 25€.

We found one shop with some funky shoes.

We drove back to our Airbnb at Castello di Fulignano and had wine and cheese and crackers and prosciutto, and then the sun started to come out.  We strolled around the grounds to admire views of the Tuscan countryside.

fullsizeoutput_1dddf

view from our Airbnb at Castello di Fulignano

IMG_7159

view from our Airbnb at Castello di Fulignano

fullsizeoutput_1de05

view from our Airbnb at Castello di Fulignano

fullsizeoutput_1de06

pool at Castello di Fulignano

fullsizeoutput_1dde4

view from our Airbnb at Castello di Fulignano

Mike threw together a gourmet meal: green beans, tagliatelle, pesto and cheese.  It was delicious.  He also made a salad with tomatoes and lettuce, garlic bread, leftover salami and cheese, but I was too stuffed with cheese and crackers to eat the salad.

fullsizeoutput_18f7c

green beans & Tagliatelle

IMG_7874

looking out from Castello di Fulignano

After dinner, we hopped in the car to go in search of some sunset pictures, hoping to find a view of San Gimignano from the west.  We never found a good view of the town, but we got some nice shots of the countryside.

fullsizeoutput_185d1

Tuscan countryside at sunset

fullsizeoutput_18720

Tuscan countryside at sunset

IMG_7180

Tuscan countryside at sunset

fullsizeoutput_1ddf2

Tuscan countryside at sunset

fullsizeoutput_1de07

San Gimignano from afar

The next day, we would head to southern Tuscany.

*Steps: 13,001, or 5.51 miles (Sienna & Monteriggioni) *

*Saturday, May 4, 2019*