We had two days in Livorno, Florence, and spent the first day visiting San Gigminano, Montegrionni and Volterra with Papillon Service Italy. The second day, we briefly visited the leaning tower of Pisa, Chianti region, before heading off to a lunch prepared by the instructor of a cooking school, plus a visit to a local cheese maker with Taste Tuscany Tour.
Our first stop at Montegrionni was a brief one, because this walled city is so small, it can be covered in about 10 minutes. There are two portions of the walls that one can climb, at each end of the village. Again, this can be done in five minutes or so. The view from the top of the walls is very beautiful and is worth the 2 Euros. Afterwards, we headed to San Gigminano, where the scenery is so beautiful, everywhere you turn is post card quality scenery. This walled city is much bigger, with restaurants, torture museums - very distrubing, shops and a big church which we did not visit, plus the world champion gelato maker. Needless to say, this one shop has the most business, but there are other gelato shops nearby. Part of the village is on a slope, therefore, not suitable for those with walking difficulty. The first portion of the walk is doable, up to a certain point, then it is uphill on cobblestones. There are restaurants/eateries where the slope starts, so if the going gets difficult, one can always opt to have lunch there, and use that as a meeting point for those who are going up to explore more of the city. It is quite a big area, and one can spend 2 hours easily just wandering around. After the 2 hour stop here, we headed to Volterra, another walled medieval village, equally breathtaking scenery, with shops, ruins and gardens.
On the second day, our visit to Pisa early in the morning proved to be a very good choice, since we managed to avoid the masses of tour buses, and were able to take a few good pictures of the surrounding architecture. Chianti is also very scenic and charming. This was mostly a stop for stretching our legs, before we head to the cooking school for lunch. It was a very pleasurable trip, all in all.
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