Comings and Goings

I realised that in my last post I forgot to give an update of our itinerary since we had left Italy fairly open.

As mentioned before, we spent a few days in Bologna with friends, then we headed to Florence for 3 nights. We are now in Siena, (still in the Tuscany region) and will be here until Monday 15th. We then we head off to Venice for 3 nights before spending our final night in Italy in Bergamo (outside of Milan). It is from here that we fly off to Belfast on Friday 19th.

I am currently standing in the lobby of our cute hotel in Siena, yet again free internet but I have no shoes or socks on and the tiles are getting cold so I don't think I will be here for much longer.

So here is a quick update. In Florence we went to the Uffizi Gallery (and queued for an hour) and saw Botticelli's Birth of Venus, the Galleria dell 'Academia where we saw Michelangelo's real statue of David, the Gallerie Michelangelo where we saw models made from Leonardo da Vinci's drawings (and got to play with some of them) and for something completely different (and non-religious) the Criminal Museum with a display about serial killers from all over the world dating back to the 14th century. As well as the Duomo (more impressive on the outside that the inside) and the Ponte Vecchio and ate the obligatory gelato.

Yesterday we arrived in Siena around lunch time and the first thing we did after checking into our hotel was eat a huge very nice buffet lunch at the restaurant next door with a glass or two of vino to go with it. We then went on a tour visiting the nearby town of Montelchino and a couple of wineries to taste the local Brunello wine. The first we went to was interesting as it is experimenting with playing classical music to its vines. The second, included a wine making museum and was run by a charming 80 year old man called Mario who loves the ladies. We also tasted olive oil, prosciutto, pecorino cheese, biscotti and grappa. And Mario was very generous with his wine and everybody went home just that little bit schozzled.

Today we spent the day wandering around inside the walled city of Siena. It is a nice small wandering city, slightly hilly but not too strenuous. We also visited the Civic Museum where Aaron climbed its associated tower and the Duomo (much more impressive than Florence's) and its Crypt, Baptistery and Museum. We certainly got a fill of religious art today. Plus we went to one of the Basilica's where we saw the preserved head and thumb (don't ask me why they have her thumb) of Saint Catherine, who along with Francis of Assisi are the patron saints of Italy. That was pretty cool.

Tomorrow we are doing another tour, this time to San Gimignano where we visit yet more wineries.

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