We leave Florence for the Manhattan of Tuscany, San Gimignano, the town of the 13 towers and beautiful squares.
On top of a hill, surrounded by walls, one of the better kept Middle Age towns of the country. The French road, the Guelph and Ghibellines, the Vernaccia wine, all witnesses of centuries of history. Monteriggioni, a fortress of the 1200 with 14 watch towers, "a crown on a King's head", this is what it looked like to Dante. A terrible obstacle to the Florentine armies through the 15th century. A good stop for a country lunch. Siena, the gothic dream City. The Duomo with its coloured bands of marble, dating from the 12th century. The stunning interiors, with the Pulpit of Niccolò Pisano. The Hospital of Santa Maria alla Scala with the recently opened room of the Pilgrims, a showcase of frescoes of the 1400. Piazza del Campo, the race track for the Palio shaped as a shell, with the palazzo Pubblico, filled with important works of art. As we stand in the middle of the Piazza del Campo, images are conjured of the infamous Senesi tradition which is more about the sub-culture of its people than on a horse winning a race.