Weekend 3: Siena + San Gimigniano
We spent the whole day calling San Gimigniano “San Jimmy John’s” or “San Chimichanga”, if that tells you how good our Italian is getting after all this time. Or how much we miss Mexican food. Which is a lot.
Siena was gorgeous, in a completely different way from San Gimigniano. Similar to the other big cities we visited in Italy so far, Siena is a hodgepodge of centuries’ worth of architecture, and when the sun came out, it was dazzling. Honestly. It was really bright. We saw some more churches in Siena – you’d think we’d get sick of seeing churches, but we don’t. They’re all beautiful, and very different, but there’s so much to describe I don’t even want to get started. Reference Florence.
San Gimigniano was my favorite part though. The place was two hours from Arezzo, deep in the heart of Tuscany, and looked pretty much just like a green screen. It was amazing. It looked exactly like what you think of when you think of Italy – green, rolling hills, the trees that look like bushes on a stick, orange farms and vineyards everywhere, steep, windy and narrow streets lined with enotecas and gelaterias. And a giant well that actually never pumped out water, the fascists just put it there in the thirties.
Weekend 4: Cortona
Well, Cortona, but mostly home. Even world travelers have to sleep, you guys. But anyway, my roommate Sally and I took an afternoon trip to Cortona, about thirty minutes from where we live. Sally is the most pure soul I’ve ever known, with the ability to make even the most ordinary things sound beautiful. She also can booty dance like nobody’s business. It’s always the quiet ones.
We basically got to Cortona with every intention of exploring the city. But the city is on a massive hill, see, so when we got there we decided we wanted to climb up a little bit and get a good view. Every time we would make it up a little ways and saw how close it looked like we were to the top, we would keep going – it went along like this for almost three hours. But man, was it worth it. When we got to the top, we found the real gem of the region: Cattedrale de Santa Margherita. She’s the patron saint of the city, and it turns out that most of the townspeople climbed the mountain for years to pray every day and to attend mass on Sundays. It was beautiful. Perfectly restored paintings and frescoes covered every inch of the walls. The ceiling was painted like a glittering night sky, and a statue of Madonna, looking every bit angelic, stood in the center of the cathedral with dozens of lit candles at her feet. When we walked in, the organist was practicing – magic.
Then we sat on the very tippy top of the hill for almost two hours. The birds were singing, the sun was setting, and everything looked like it had gotten covered in gold fairy dust or something. My descriptions are getting more ridiculous as the night goes on, but it’s late here, okay. It really did look fairy-dust-ish. Anyway, if you get the chance to randomly hike somewhere, just do it. It’s always worth it. Honestly, if you get the chance to do anything out of the ordinary for you, you should always do it. That’s been the moral of my trip so far. Just do stuff – straying from the itinerary is hard for me, but I’ve been so glad I did every time.
I promise to be better about this, and hopefully with more photos each time – but if you’ve actually made it to read this whole thing I’m impressed and you’re probably just my mom. Hi, mom. I miss you.
A doppo, Emily