Saturday, April 5, 2008

San Gimignano and the Chianti

Today my parents rented a car, so we would be able to explore some of the surrounding area. One place they had been and really liked was San Gimignano, which is also not so easy to get to by train or public bus, so that's where we went. On the way there, we stopped in Barberino Val d'Elsa, where we got some bread and prosciutto for a picnic, and then headed off to San Gimignano. After a picnic among olive trees, we were ready to explore the town. Back in the day, the rich families here tried to outdo each other by building higher and higher towers on their houses. Even though many of them have since collapsed, the town still earns its nickname of "Manhattan of Tuscany." On the central piazza, we enjoyed some of the gelato of a famous gelateria where many celebrities have apparently eaten, and which some call the best gelato of Italy. I think I'll have to sample many more before I can make that judgement, but it was pretty good.
On the way back, we stopped in Colle di Val d'Elsa, which is another one of those Tuscan hill towns, and then at a winery in the Chianti, where my parents bought some olive oil. There are definitely enough places to buy wine and oil around here. Finally, we drove back to Florence through the Chianti, stopping in Greve in Chianti, where we picked up some salami at a gigantic butcher store. On the drive, we saw a picture perfect sunset over the rolling hills.

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