I have gone a bit out of order now but in between our stay in Umbria and Cinque Terre we also stopped off near Siena for a couple of days. This was a bit of a quirk of hotel availability and also our desire to at least see a couple of things in Tuscany. This was the area that had really drawn me to Italy at first and I expected we would spend more time here but as I researched, I realized that Tuscany was a bit more expensive and more crowded option for what we wanted than Umbria. The views are enough to draw anyone in though; there seems to be another incredible view over the farmland hills around every corner you turn.
The place we stayed in Tuscany was just a few miles from Siena, an old estate perched on top of a hill with more gorgeous views. The communication with the owners was a little odd but the accommodations were quite nice, with a huge swimming pool, and the price was certainly right for a nice two-bedroom flat.
On our first night, we went into Siena and it certainly lived up to expectations. It would have actually been nice to have a little more time here but we made the most of it, not leaving the city until about 10:30 at night. By this point, the kids were really into ‘night adventure walks’ so we found it a great time to see the city. Siena was also the scene of one of our more frustrating at the time, but comical in retrospect, dining adventures. As we searched for a place to eat we went into two different places that had not a soul in the dining room, and were told they were completely booked. I still do not understand this phenomenon, but we finally caught on and started making reservations.
Our next day, we took a leisurely drive south from Siena for about an hour and a half, and enjoyed lunch in Pienza – another beautiful town – before looping back to our place to relax in the sun. Although we did not have an opportunity to explore the area as thoroughly as we may have liked, this was a nice introduction to Tuscany and I can certainly see the appeal for those many, many tourists that flock here.