Trippin’ to Tuscany – Part 2

This week is a continuation of our Tuscany Trip. If you haven’t already, head on over to the Trippin’ to Tuscany – Part 1.

In the first week of our vacation, after Siena, we did a day trip to Cortona, Le Celle, and Montepulciano. Cortona is small town set on top of a hill in the Chiana Valley, which offers great views of the valley and Lake Trasimeno. Dating back to Etruscan and Roman times, it’s a little slice of beautiful Tuscany with its remains from the Etruscan period. Outside these ancient walls is the house where they filmed, Under the Tuscan Sun. The restoration of the house was not done during filming, but in 2006. If you’d like to see the film’s version vs. what it looks like today, visit Hooked on Houses.

When we arrived, we parked down below and took an escalator and stairs up to the town.

A view from a small piazza where we entered the town.

Square in Cortona

Alleyway exhibition of moccasins by Sara Lovari.

A planter outside a Gelato Café

Worn stone buildings balanced and jutting out up and around the city walls.

Taken from the ancient walls is a cemetery; the first big cemetery I’ve seen in Europe.

Not far from Cortona is Le Celle Hermitage, a Franciscan hermitage. St. Francis of Assisi and some of his followers built a few of the cells in 1211, which is how the place received its name. After the death of St. Francis, Brother Elia restored works to make sure the place remained property of the Franciscan order. He is believed to have broken stone from the cave to create a chapel, and behind it, the cell where St. Francis lived. As of today, seven friars inhabit the place, practicing St. Francis’s teachings.

Here are a few pictures of the grounds.

Stairs leading up to the church and cell where St. Francis lived.

The cell is small, so I was only able to get half of it.

And Shakespeare stepping on Martin’s aunt’s foot.

From the monastery, we drove south to another small town called, Montepulciano, also located on a hilltop with panoramic views. Famous for its wines, one can always self-medicate any aches and pains from walking the steep streets with a few glasses. Montepulciano dates back to the 4th Century B.C. It suffered during the 13th Century from the struggles between historical enemies, Florence and Siena for the land. The center of commercial and artistic life helped establish Monte Pio in 1467, the first bank in the world.

The town is a great place for anyone wanting to learn about the Renaissance Period. Unfortunately, we didn’t do much research prior to going so we didn’t capture the prime places of the town.

A statue of a horse at the front of the city.

Inside one of the wine stores, we took a free tour underneath it that consisted of old artifacts and the wine barrels used to store their wine.

Splendid architecture.

A lamp store

We arrived in the mid-afternoon, so it was perfect for panoramic views of the sunset

Another end to a fabulous Tuscan day. Stay tuned for a couple more posts of our Tuscan travels.

Tuscany and Nature,
Baer Necessities

Enjoy some Parmigianino cheese, olives, and a glass of Chianti.

To those in the States, have a safe and filling Thanksgiving.

8 thoughts on “Trippin’ to Tuscany – Part 2

  1. Tuscany, what a feast for the eyes. Wonderful photos Denise (particularly like the one of Shakespeare standing on Auntie’s foot – what is it with dogs, so many of them do that, a part of doggy communication?). The giant horse was very striking, the square in Cortona so beautiful. I clicked on the link to the ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ house – the gardens!!! Will be revisiting that site to get some ideas for my spring planting. You must all be exhausted but very, very happy…enjoy the rest of your memorable trip!

    1. Thanks, Laurette. Sorry I’m getting back so late. I’ve been sick for the past week. GAH! The next time we make it back to Tuscany, I’m going to have to find the house from that movie.

  2. Old stone streets and narrow pathways are such a treat. Wandering around them is like getting lost in a maze. When I was in Mykonos it was pointed out the purpose of the streets being so haphazard was to confuse any marauding pirates that might have come ashore.

  3. You’ve got to love free tours 🙂 And that sunset in the last photo is absolutely stunning. In fact., all these photos make the places you visited look like wonderful, interesting collections of beauty and history. I especially like the looks of the amount of sunlight in those pictures! I deal for holidays and avoiding some winter weather I’m experiencing here 😛

    1. Olivia, we’re always on the look out for free tours. LOL! Those sunsets bring me grounded and thankful for the opportunity to see these beautiful places. I hear you about the winter weather. It’s been nothing but cold and rain in Germany.

  4. Denise,
    Thanks for more of the beautiful travel pictures and the narratives. Enjoyed seeing them as I’ve never been there and it’s a treat!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying them, Veejay. I know some people haven’t traveled to some of these places, so it gives me joy to be able to share some of my experiences. 😀

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