Getting out of Florence was really a trip... We were going to stop at some of the outlets we were hearing so much about on our way to Tuscany ... Gucci, Prada, Armani, etc... My husband was not as excited about this stop as I was (I can't imagine why). But, it was really fun once we got here (after being lost about 3-4 times trying to find it)... Whose idea was this anyway??? We had lunch at the outdoor outlet and it was actually really good. We bought a couple things, but didn't break the bank... and off we go to Amorosa. Amorosa is a small village next to Sinalunga. Sinalunga is a town and commune in the province of Siena, in the Tuscany region of Italy... I know... it took me about 2 days to figure this out ;-) The funny thing about driving here is that they have these great turnarounds (if you know DC at all, we are talking a crazier version of Dupont Circle). It is not crazy because it is so crowded... It is crazy because each turnaround has about 10-15 signs that mark different places (and directions). We found ourselves going around the circle a few times to try to catch the sign (and direction) we needed.
We did find our way, eventually... and getting lost in Tuscany is not so bad... But, you do get a little nervous when you stray off the beaten path and you do not speak the language.
Our hotel in Amorosa -- amazing grounds... and wonderful staff:
Walking up a street in Siena:
The piazza of Siena...
The town of Siena is fascinating. They are probably best known for the Palio, which is a horse race that lasts less than 2 minutes. It is the subject of debate and competition all year round and can cause men and women to laugh or cry. The Palio is considered the greatest traditional festival in Siena. Personally, I am glad we weren't there for it (it is held on July 2nd and August 16th) because it sounds kind of like the "running of the bulls" where the horses (and riders) can be injured or killed in the name of sport... But, it is a tradition that has been going on for centuries... you be the judge.
Siena is divided into seventeen contrade, or areas of the city. The Sienese people belong first to a contrada and then to the city. Each street has the crest posted boldly stating their contrade. Their pride and loyalty is really amazing.