One way or the other, we try to do as many of the holidays we offer ourselves. Last year we managed to go to Croatia and the Cilento, as well as a revisit of the route in Bohemia, in the Czech Republic.
One of the routes we tried this year was an old favourite: ‘South to Siena’, which follows an itinerary through some of the most beautiful parts of Tuscany. We have worked for many years with our partners there, Michela and Giovanni, who have consistently provided us with attentive and reliable help and service and although we know the route very well ourselves (I lived in Italy and speak fluent Italian), you can never go back too many times.
With the exception of Siena, which is larger, all the towns en route are small, medieval fortress towns perched atop the gentle Tuscan hills. They, together with the cypress trees that flank the roads and tracks, give Tuscany its distinctive landscape, as invitingly elegant now as it was when immortalised by the artists of the Renaissance.
The towns are all magnificent. There is something about medieval streets in the sunshine that is heart-warming and something about small trattorie with courtyard tables shaded by jasmine or vine that is very stomach-warming. Since this is a wine-growing area, good wine is inexpensive and although red wines are better known, there are now some excellent white wines – waiters proved very good guides on that subject. The accommodation was always comfortable, and in most cases with air-conditioning, most welcome in what was an exceptionally hot spell (although, often, an open window is enough at night to remain cool in these elevated towns). The distances each day are not so great that there is no time to enjoy each place on arrival. Of course, in terms of art and culture, Siena has the most to offer but each of the smaller towns has its own personality and enough charm and history and good food to satisfy all interests. Above all, however, it is the magic of the Tuscan landscape that is the most appealing aspect of this walk.
Did we get lost? No, to our relief, we did not. The trail, on the whole, is an obvious one. Did it rain? Not a drop – on the contrary, nothing but blue sky from first to last, a tremendous contrast to the lousy weather we have been tolerating in England this year. Was it tiring? Yes, a little more than expected but in a way that invigorated, rather than exhausted. It was a successful return to a beautiful area.
Click here to see our ‘Tuscany – South to Siena’ tour or email email@example.com for more information!
This post was written by Christopher Knowles
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