Well, we asked ourselves this question many times during our trip through the beautiful Tuscany. Is it better to see a small village on a gentle hill or a bigger place with a long tradition, beauty architecture and some attractions? The choice was not easy for us with this abundance of "offers". But then our unanimous decision: It is SIENA. With in the main selection were still Pisa's famous "Campo dei Miracoli", Lucca - the "Pearl of Tuscany", Volpaia and Volterra. But please keep it in order.
We then had to visit Pisa. At least Matthias had never seen the 56-meter high, crooked tower with 294 steps and endless facade pillars in the "Field of Wonders" with the four monuments of white Carrara marble - cathedral, baptistry, bell tower and monumental cemetery. And he is really lopsided. Although the uppermost part of the building looks somehow straight anymore. Meanwhile it has probably managed to stop the built on alluvial ground tower from sinking further. The city of Pisa itself is not so exciting. And then came the charming medieval Lucca with its 87,000 inhabitants. Surrounded by a 4 km long and 12 m high, huge and completely preserved wall ("La Mura"), where you can go jogging, cycling or just go for a walk. Similar to the Green Line in New York. Inside is the old city center. A traffic-calmed old town, wonderful restaurants, delicatessens, really impressive marble churches, narrow streets and brick-red palaces. A tower with 227 steps and olive trees on the top! Ist totally comfortable in Lucca. Roger Waters will play Pink Floyd's "The Wall" at the end of July 2018 right on this wall. Omg! - and we are unfortunately not there.
To say goodbye to Lucca, we made another short detour. In the direction of Garfagnana, a mix of curved hills and jagged mountain ranges with picturesque villages, pristine valleys and chestnut woods. In between a large reservoir, which we reached via a meandering road. We looked for a sunken village and a church. We did not find it, it just was not there. In the evening we learned that you only get to see the village plucs church every five years. That was agreed with the operator of the reservoir. Then the water is drained to the extent that you can see the old village and church again. On the way back to Lucca we were taken by the Devil's Bridge (Ponte del Diavolo) on this rainy day. Andrea pulled out all the stops to successfully capture this asymmetric monster photographically flawless and excitingly designed with her cameras.
Further south we drive over a gravel road a bit into the mountains and meet Volpaia, a fortified vineyard from the 11th century. The owners have carefully restored the almost completely preserved castle village and awakened it to the wine life. A dream in this landscape. Take a break and drink red wine and eat „Caprese“ (= fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, oliveoil, salt and pepper) on the terrace of the restaurant. The next place in the series of the most beautiful was Volterra, a time-honored Etruscan town, in a bizarre hilly landscape. The main source of revenue are the tourism and alabaster, which can be bought ubiquitously in the shops in various forms at not very reasonable prices - from kitsch to art. You should definitely visit an alabaster workshop. And finally in the middle of Tuscany, our winner: Siena. The city with the most impressive flair and a special Italo-romantic charisma. Also beautiful churches and towers, enchanted lanes, lots of art and just a great atmosphere. The Cathedral of Santa Maria is dominated by the colors black and white, the colors of Siena. A really spectacular cathedral! A dream is also the Piazza del Campo with its unusual shell shape. Sloping gently to the town hall, it radiates harmony, which is underlined by white, radial stripes in the red brick pavement.