We spent our final, full day in Tuscany in Siena, that gorgeous, rolly city, with streets that curve and turn back upon themselves, a campo famous throughout the world and considered one of the best piazzas in Italy, and a zebra striped Duomo with the most vibrant frescoes around. After finally working things out with our landlady regarding the dog, we intended to leave Scully behind. He was having none of that. For the only time in his entire life, he went into hysterics when we left, complete with high-pitched, loud barking that just would not stop. And so, Scully went to Siena, too. Since I'd seen the Duomo and Museum just a couple of months ago, Scully and I set up camp on the church steps, him with the adoration of every passerby and me with my Kindle. I don't know how Nathan and Mom's visit to the Duomo and Museum went, but Scully and I had a fantastic morning. We moved along the steps with the sun, always staying in the shadow. I continually cleared cigarette butts from each new location - Crazy Dog got his moniker by many of his personality traits, one of which is his severe nicotine addiction. He attracted kids and adults throughout the morning, so I had near continuous conversation. In addition, after the first hour went by, a nearby deli owner took Scully under his wing and began bringing out pieces of baguette and bottles of water. After the second hour, we'd moved up to cheese. Sadly, this nice man gave all of the food directly to the dog. After Mom and Nathan joined me for a picnic lunch on the Duomo steps and they'd finished up their visits to the church, museum, baptistry, and the panoramic viewpoint overlooking the city (in the museum), Nathan took over Scully duty and headed to the Campo, where the two of them took a little nap.
Mom and I shopped - or tried to, but many of the shops were closed. The biggie for me, the Pratesi shoe outlet, was open, and with Mom's birthday gift help, I got my first pair of Italian leather boots. So gorgeous!!! After all shopping was finished, we met up back at the Campo, where Scully again proved his nickname is justified by flipping the back of my skirt up with his head. Now, all of Siena and her tourists know exactly what color my underwear was that day. Crazy dog.
Our day to return home was a long, but active day, per usual. We drove the Crete Senese, a road south of Siena that has the most gorgeous views of Tuscany I could have ever imagined! Sometimes, places don't look like the movies. Tuscany looks exactly like it does in the movies. Green and yellow hills, cypress trees dotting the sky, stone farmhouses placed so picturesquely that it seems a film producer had to be involved. Nathan and his uncle are biking through Tuscany this fall, so the drive gave us a great opportunity to scout out the region...except that Nathan kept saying, "This will have to be on our route," and said it so often that I think it all has to be on the planning route. There didn't seem to be a single place where I heard, "Well this is no good."
From the Crete Senese drive, we stopped in at Montalcino, first visiting a wine store outside of town which included a long visit with the friendly, knowledgeable owner (Francesca at Enoteca Fontepreci) and then a winery she recommended, Mozart Winery (aka Il Paradiso). Both were great stops for Nathan to get more information, tastes, and purchases of the local, hotshot wine, the Brunello. In Montalcino, we had a casual, delicious lunch at the wine cafe located in the town's old fort. This is the first cafe in a fort I've come across and what a great setting! A quick browse through town, all wine shop all the time, and then on to Montepulciano.
Montepulciano was another town I fell in love with, and not only because it's where Twilight's New Moon was filmed. The facade architecture of the cathedral was fascinating and unique, resembling a crumbling log cabin, yet made of stone. Montepulciano is all hills, and as Nathan commented on departure, it was uphill both ways to our car - I don't know how, but he's actually not wrong. We were anxious to get on the road to get home before it got too late, so Montepulciano only got a quick perusal from us, but it goes on our list of places to return for a longer look.