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Under the Tuscan Sun, Wind, and Rain

70 °F

After checking out of Verona, we picked up a rental car at the airport to drive to San Gimignano. Because we hadn't been able to spend a day on Lake Garda like we had originally planned, we decided to take a detour and stop at Sirmione, a town on the southern shore of the lake. The historic center of the town is on an island in the lake. It is walled, and only cars belonging to residents or hotel guests of the center are allowed to cross the narrow bridge into the center.


Like most people, we parked outside and walked in. We only had a short time there, but we were able to see some of the town and walk along the lakeshore.


We spotted ducks (including ducklings!), geese, and fish, which was fun for my daughter.

The rest of the ride was more mountainous than we expected, which also meant lots of driving through tunnels. My daughter was awake for most of the ride, so we made a game out of counting the tunnels and reached 31.

Later that afternoon, we reached the agriturismo where we were staying in the hills outside San Gimignano. It was beautiful! I spent the whole time that we were in and around there feeling like I was in an Olive Garden commercial.


The walled town of San Gimignano was nearby, either by a short drive or a long walk. We were tired, so we opted to drive in for dinner. We quickly learned that parking was in short supply, especially in the lot near the main entrance to the town walls. We also learned that the parking spaces there were much tighter than in the States, but my husband successfully got us into one. It was tough enough for us in an Alfa Romeo Guilietta (which is intermediate-sized, according to the rental company), so I wasn't sure how bigger cars were doing it.

We had set aside Thursday for the city of Florence and a visit with a distant cousin who lives out there. Parking in the center of the city is both limited and restricted, so we asked around and figured out a place where we could park the car and take the tram into the city center. We encountered a similar parking situation: a full lot with tight spaces. Luckily, there was somebody leaving just as we were looking for a spot, otherwise we would have had to follow the lead of some other people who had parked in "spots" along the side of the lot.

It was great to have the chance to visit my cousin because we had never met before. I think she and my daughter became friends for life! My cousin walked us all over the center of Florence as well. We saw Piazza Santa Novella,


the Duomo,


Ponte Vecchio,


Piazzale delgi Uffizi,


and Piazza della Signoria.


My daughter (and I) also rode the carousel in Piazza della Repubblica.


Thankfully, Saturday went better. We started off with an activity that wasn't so kid-friendly: touring the vineyards at our agriturismo. We brought her because kids are welcome on the tour, but she was understandably pretty bored. She got through it, though, and then was well behaved for the wine tasting lunch afterwards. She didn't taste any wines herself, of course, but she ate with us. The staff even made her pasta in tomato sauce as an alternative to the more grown-up rebollita (vegetable stew) they served. The adults also enjoyed the food and wine. We even got to taste grappa, which once again reminded me of Hemingway.

After lunch, it was back to our room to nap and wait out the rain. It still was raining pretty hard when we were ready to go, so we drove to San Gimignano. The advantage to the bad weather was that the town had fewer people in the streets than usual (because it's so scenic, it's very popular). The rain let up, so we were able to walk around and take pictures before dinner and gelato.


Today we leave San Gimignano for Milan. We're a little sad to be on the way home.

Posted by amikulski 10:43 Archived in Italy Tagged children italy

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