Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Tales from Tuscany

Hi everyone, I'm home and despite the rain which has greeted our return, it is great to be back. As you can see from the title many of your guessed the answer to my Riddle me Ree post......it was indeed Tuscany. It just shows how recognisable the wonderful countryside is.


We stay in the tiny hamlet of Pancole, which is very near to the ancient medieval city of San Gimignano. The hotel has an excellent restaurant and one of the things we love is not having to drive anywhere in the evening for dinner. We simply walk down from our room and eat, such a luxury and it also means we are able to enjoy a drink with our dinner, bliss.






We had seven days of clear blue skies and 29-34oc temperatures. I understand that this was a good week to have gone away as here at home it has done nothing but pour with rain! On our first day we went into San Gimignano and climbed the tower to see the wonderful view from the top, out across the rolling hills of Tuscany.








To get to the top of the tower involves an awful lot of stair climbing but the views from the top are stunning and well worth the achey legs. This is the view looking back towards Pancole which is less than a 10 minute drive from the centre.











On the right is the tower we climbed. It is always best to do this at the beginning of the day before the heat gets too intense. It is the old clock tower and one of the tallest structures open to the public. In it's time San Gimignano had over 70 towers. It was a pecking order that the richest had the tallest ones. Over the centuries many have fallen down or been removed but there are still many standing in this walled city and they dominate the skyline for miles.






Above are a couple more views from the clock tower the second photo shows the view down into the centre of the city.
After visiting the clock tower we returned to the city centre and strolled around. This is the ancient well and is always a good spot for eating the award winning ice cream sold in the local gelataria.


I can never resist Italian ice cream and my choice for that day was a scoop of coconut and a scoop of blackberry with no less than lavender as a secret ingredient ...it was seriously tasty and had to been eaten pretty quickly in the heat.






We also walked down to the ancient fonts where the fresh water springs from, shown above, and took in the wonderful views surrounding this delightful city.

we even spotted two rather hot dogs waiting patiently for their owners!
As heat of the day rose higher we took the short walk back to our car and drove "home" to Pancole to sit on our balcony, enjoy a rest and wait for our evening meal.

I hope you have enjoyed the first of my tales from Tuscany. We also visited Florence and Sienna so I will be back with some photos to share, hopefully at the weekend. In the meantime I have my last jewellery class of the year this afternoon and the washing machine needs loading yet again.For the moment the rain is holding off so I hope to get it dry outside. Billy had a lovely time with my parents but he is so pleased to be back in his garden again.

I hope you are all well and I look forward to catching up with your posts really soon.

Bye for now,

Jane x

24 comments:

  1. Oh wow Jane, what lovely piccies and looks like you have a wonderful time xxx

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  2. *jealous*...glad you had a fabulous time and thank you for sharing the fantastic sunny pictures. Laney x

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  3. Welcome back Jane, looks like you had a wonderful time!!
    What a beautiful place, your photos are gorgeous. That ice-cream looks delicious, no one can make ice-cream like the Italians!
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your holiday.
    Hope you get that washing dried, you wouldn't if you where here, that's for sure!
    Vivienne x

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  4. Dear Jane,

    Great to have you back, and I see you had wonderful time! It all looks fantastic, and topped with that divine weather it must have been heavenly! It seem to be so idyllic, and just that you can walk everywhere, that's what I love in a holiday. Renting a car is alright for a day or so but otherwise it's fantastic just to wonderful to wonder around.

    Have a great week and I wish the weather gets better at yours too! And I am so happy that Billy is happily home again!

    Yours,
    Mia

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  5. Hi Helen, yes it was such a great holiday!
    Jane x

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  6. Hi Laney, yes I know, I cannot deny we had a fantastic time ;0),
    Jane x

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  7. Hi Vivienne, I am glad you are another Italian ice cream lover...wow they were so good and yes I had more than one whilst I was out there.
    I have been really lucky and so far I have got 6 lots of washing dry outside...2 more to go if there is time today..!!
    Jane x

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  8. Hi Mia, yes there is so much to see and do. We now have very fit calf muscles from all those steps we climbed!
    Billy is so pleased to be back, he has been sleeping on the patio in the sun today...bless.
    Jane x

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  9. Welcome back, Jane! Your pictures of San Gimignano are so lovely - we stayed there too not so long ago! Such a beautiful, historic and atmospheric place, we love it too. Well done on climbing the tower - my husband is always keen to climb up towers and duomos! I look forward to seeing your next pictures! Have a great week.
    Helen x

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  10. How great that you have stayed there Helen, yes it is a most atmospheric city, you can feel the history all around. Our achey legs are getting even more exercise tonight as it's our dancing class!
    Jane x

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  11. Dear Jane, Thanks so much for taking me along with you on your tour of Tuscany, as I may never get there myself. What a wonderful place!!
    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  12. It's a pleasure taking you there Teresa, I'm glad you enjoyed "seeing" beautiful Tuscany.
    Jane x

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  13. Yes Jane, thank you for the awesome pictures! I may never make it there, but boy would I love to. It looks so amazing and I know I would love it. Thank you thank you. xoRobin❤

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  14. Hey, I guessed right with the Northern Hemisphere! Gorgeous pictures. I'm trying not to be jealous, but I think I'm losing that battle. So glad you had a good time and great weather!!

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  15. Robin, it's my pleasure and it really is such fun to share places with my blogger pals who may never actually visit in person. And yes, you really would love it!
    Jane x

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  16. You were certainly correct with the northern hemisphere Linda ;0), great guess eh!The weather was just perfect, glad you like the photos, more to come..
    Jane x

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  17. Welcome back Jane....such beautiful photographs!....I have only been to Italy once but I do remember those amazing choices of ice-cream...I went to Florence at the time and so it will be lovely to see your photographs...I am sure they will bring back lots of memories!
    Susan x

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  18. I am SO jealous!! Wow..Jane..these are amazing images...oh, Tuscany..it's just gorgeous! I know you must've had a fantastic time. I've been to San Gimigniano and remembered how beautiful it was (I'm sure I spelled it wrong)..thank you for your lovely visit..I have been so delayed on visiting you and wow..it's great to see you're enjoying yourself on holiday! Take good care!

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  19. Thanks Susan and yes the ice cream there is rather special. My next post is on Florence so I hope to trigger some very special memories for you then.See you soon!
    Jane x

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  20. How great that you have also visited San Gimignano Shirley. I hope your legs got you to the top of the clock tower to see that breathtaking view! More Tuscany photos to come!
    Jane x

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  21. Welcome home, Jane! It was so nice of you to share highlights of "Jane's Journeys" with us! It was almost as if we all got to take in the sights of the beautiful Tuscan countryside with you, without actually being tag-alongs! There's nothing like getting away to appreciate returning home- I wondered if the picture of the two pups snoozing might have hinted a little bit of homesickness for Billy? :o)

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  22. You are so right Michele, we often joked that it would be fun to put Billy on a lead and take him along...mind you he would hate it..he is a bit of a home loving boy.We did have such a good holiday. Have a great weekend, the sun is back here after all our rain, and we are expecting highs of 28oc!
    Jane x

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  23. Thanks...a post from Florence next!
    Jane x

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Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I really enjoy reading every single one of them.
Jane x