Leaving Cortona arriving Siena

The sun sets in TuscanyStreet parade in CortonaOur room in CortonaLife size garden ornamentsLife size garden ornaments
PienzaPienzaPienza Street
Pienza shopA whole rolled pig in PienzaWhole rolled pig sandwichPienza streetAnnabelle WhiteAnnabelle White
Motor bike trucksLost in San Quirico AlighieriSan Quirico Alighieri gardenSan Quirico AlighieriA watering whole in San Quirico AlighieriSan Quirico Alighieri

Leaving Cortona arriving Siena, a set on Flickr.

The night before leaving Cortona the locals did another big street parade in traditional clothing with beating drums that we put down to saying goodbye to us.
The next morning again after the kiss kiss on the check we said goodbye to Jeanette at the Casa Chilene B&B in Cortona. This B&B sets the standard that all the others should try and follow. Jeanette Wongs service and cooking was superb. Jeanette teaches the Italians how to cook in her spare time.
Once seated in the car it’s was a deep breath and then away we went again traveling on our wrong side of the road. We are starting to feel a little more comfortable with driving now as time goes by. Our first stop was another lovely little town called Pienza. This is a UNESCO world heritage town. Pienza has some gorgeous little shops and streets with wonderful hand made Italian shoes and clothes and a lot of other foody stuff. Really wonderful just wondering around looking. Annabelle White a New Zealand cook and celebratory speaker who has a cooking segment in one of the NZ woman’s magazine’s was escorting a group of about 10 people on Vespa motor bikes, around Tuscany, on a food and cooking tour. Sheree thought she recognized her when she heard her speak, and went up to her and made herself known. Annabelle immediately embraced us as fellow country men and named us Mr and Mrs Dunedin. She then told us about a little shop that had sliced pork and local cheese buns that were divine. She promptly marched us up and into it and ordered for us in Italian. Annabelle was right it was divine. See the photos of the whole boned out pig carcass that the pork was sliced from and Sheree eating her bun. We later went and saw them off as they went on their way to finish the tour(see the picks of the yellow vespa’s).
Our next stop was the little town called San Quirico Alighieri. Not much here but it was very medieval and unchanged over the years with a lovely rose garden. It was hot here so we found a lovely bar for a drink that was sheltered by a large grape vine growing over the seating area outside.
Bagno Vignoni was supposed to be our next stop but some how we missed it and did not realize until we reached the town of Buonconvento, the last town before Siena. As it was only a 20 min back track we turned around and found this ancient roman town popular for it’s bathing waters. Their is a nice hotel here and we would liked to have stayed, had we not already booked in Siena so as to experience the healing spa waters.
soon we were off again on the last leg to Siena and the Agriturismo Malafras B&B. We arrived at around 7pm after a journey that should have taken about an hour and a half, that had taken us all day. However we were in no hurry, we had the time and loved all the stops.
The Malafras B&B is like a country farm house that has the grape vines and olive trees to make its own wine a olive oil. We were offered a sample of their desert wine as soon as we arrived..lovely.
We quickly unpacked and sat out on the large deck that our room opens out on to, with a local red wine. We had to pinch ourselves as we soaked in the view of the grape vines and olive trees that spread out below us, with the green fields and a few other farm houses in the distance as we watched the sun go down in Tuscany….ahhhhh bliss.
That night we went for tea in the local village. We were not sure what to order so the waitress made the suggestions of some quite delicious fried and battered mushrooms for starters, Pork for Sheree and Calf steak for Steven. At the end of the meal they gave us a complimentary local Grapa drink each (this stuff is fire water) and some sweet tart. After the half bottle of wine we had with the meal, we made our way home feeling very very happy and content with a glow in our checks.

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Cortona day one

Steven at CortonaThe Square in Cortona (P Della Republica)Cortona StreetsCortona Fort (fortezza)Cortona fort gardenCortona fort
Cortona fortCortona fort gardenCortona fort doorA lovely maiden at Cortona fortSt Fransesco Church
Cortona poppyA Cortona lizardScenes of CortonaScenes of CortonaScenes of CortonaScenes of Cortona
Scenes of CortonaScenes of CortonaScenes of CortonaThe door to the Cortona ChurchCortona ChurchScenes of Cortona

Cortona day one, a set on Flickr.

Today we caught a shuttle bus to the top of the lovely town of Cortona and the Cortona Fort (Fortezza Medicea di Girifalco) it dates back to the 13th century. Up here in the old fortress was a display of art work by Val Di Chianna that was open to the public. The view from the top of the fortress was incredible. We walked back down and visited the Church of St. Francis. This is a magnificent church that has been totally renovated to it’s original inside and out. You are not allowed to take photos inside. Inside is a small retangular container the holds a golden cross that contains a fragment of the cross the Christ was crucified on and dates back to the 10th century. The photo outside shows concrete blocks on the roof holding down the tiles.
This is a true Tuscany town just as we had thought it would have been. It’s lovely and quaint and so typical Italian. Check out the photos.
We bought a pizza and had our ham/salami with a beer (yes I know it should have been wine but it was hot) on the balcony at our B&B over looking the main St. Now we really felt like we were in Tuscany. The town put on a cross bow competition and they all marched in period costume beating drums up the skinny streets… Wonderful moments..

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Car pick up-Montepulciano and Cortona arrival

MontepulcianoInspector ShereeHappy StevenYes it's newMontepulcianoMontepulciano
MontepulcianoMontepulcianoCortonaCortonaCortona B&B

Our new Peugeot had 6 km on the clock when we took possession (see photo). After the paperwork, setting up of Jennifer (GPS) & verbal instruction with a map, of we went, pulled out of the drive way & went the WRONG WAY. Whoops ….great start! Any way with many reminders to ‘keep right’ from Sheree we managed to find the autostrade where at times you could travel at 130km. 33deg Celsius outside. Our destination was Cortona with a stop at Montepulciano in Tuscany on the way. Well we got to Montepulciano & then the rain came down, so found a park & waited until it stopped. Then we went for a wonder up this lovely little town and bought some award wining wine and some local dried ham/salami. This stuff is delicious.
Took some photos of up the street and moved on to Cortona. Our B&B the Casa Chilenne was a bit harder to find and the streets here are really windy (and I mean windy) and skinny. Guess what..it started raining again. Our host Jeanette who is American and lived here for 25 years came out to meet us and take our bags while steven attempted to find a car park.
We got the most wonderful welcome with her home meringues and chocolate eclairs. Later on we went to the town square to seethe locals put on the annual re-enactment of a famous wedding.

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