Aug 17 FRI – Orvieto – Montepulciano – Siena

On Friday August 17, we woke up around 10AM.  We both took a thorough baths. Bath is a trademark of old hotels. You suppose to submerge into the hot water and scrub yourself.  No curtains and nowhere to hang the showerhead. Very relaxing, if you know, what you are doing.


08-17 Orvieto-Siena Orvieto - last stop in Umbria
Some images here are clickable – view them in a separate page Some images – just thumbnails – just curiosities and references


In the lobby we paid the hotel €57 cash (no breakfast), and on the way to parking garage Lira needed her morning caffeine (€0.90 – 11:29). We paid €12for 24H parking, and start swinging around the city to find the way to a highway. Our target this time was tiny Castiglione d’Orcia, as found in photo album “Most Beautiful Villages in Tuscany”.  We quickly entered Tuscany (from Umbria), and 13:16 we exited highway A1 to continue on local roads.  At 13:25 we stopped somewhere in the middle of the road and even used a video-camera to capture the moment.  It was cool inside the car, and toasty 37°C outside.


Ristorante Fattoria Pulcino Montepulciano - street view
This is out very first meal in Tuscany.  Outside temperature is +34°C or 93°F, but it is still a perfect temperature for picnic in a shadow My favorite view is street view.  When you unmistakable know that it is Italy, and it still unexplored.  You can go or you can go down


I noticed the signs to Montepulciano, and decided to try visit both. At 13:44 we stopped for lunch at a typical vinery “Ristorante Fattoria Pulcino” just couple of miles from Montepulciano, and we had a great meal, but without vine (€26 – 15:00).

Car climbed up to the city entrance, and we parked on a crowded lot (€1.80 – 15:23-16:46).  We spent here a town of Montepulciano hour and a half.  For the first time we understood the concept of “Le contrade”. This is a plural of Italian word “Contrada”, and it means a city-region.  Many cities in Tuscany are subdivided into small area with its own name, flag, management and traditions.


Montepulciano - Main Square Montepulciano - Side Street
Montepulciano Piazza Grande has this interesting contraption: either well or place for executions Montepulciano is very narrow, elongated town.  Most side street lead directly to the sharp edge


One flag in particular we liked very much (), but could not find a place that would sell it. Montepulciano is very small, but there are 8 contrade in it. Streets are going sharply up and down, and one contrada turns into the other, and you know this by changing flags (bandiera) on both sides of the street.

It was getting closer to 5PM, and we had to start thinking about our next stop.  Siena was still 66 km away.  We had to skip Castiglione d’Orcia.  We drove directly to Siena, and I made a turn to the good looking HOTEL sign just outside city walls. It turns out we found an excellent hotel (18:22) for €80 with a pool, A/C, breakfast, parking, Wi-Fi and a refrigerator.


Montepulciano - Stone Last Long Montepulciano - Contrada di Gracciano
How incredibly long time is.  Stone lasts long.  People here are just a decorations and structures are the artists. TEXT 02


It was still a very hot evening. After the refreshing swim in the pool, we walked to main city square.  On the way there, I bought in 3 different places 2 slices of pizza and one kebob(2021 – 20:56).  Main shell-shaped city square in Siena is called Piazza del Campo. We reached it already in the darkness, but we still saw the “remains” of previous day horse race (Palio di Siena on August 16).  A circle track around the square is covered with pressed mud, or sand, or some other cushioning material.  Right over the cobble stone pavement.

This horse race (Palio) is an extremely important in the life of the city. For example, the very first thing we learned from the owners upon arrival to the hotel, was which contrada won yesterday, and were on the map we should go to witness the celebrations.


Siena - city walls from hotel Siena - street lamps
Lucky again. A day after famous Palio, we found a superb hotel on the very first attempt.  Magic! It appears there are regular street lights, and special “contrada” specific holiday street lamps.  They work only on special occasions, and no one stealls the bulbs !?


Siena is much larger city and has 17 districts (contrade).  They also have very colorful banners, and these are abundantly available for sale: smaller for €6 and larger for €8.  In addition to banners, city is decorated with street lights that are uniquely designed for each contrada.

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  1. Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2023/11/24)
  2. Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2023/11/28)
  3. Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2023/12/04)
  4. Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2023/12/08)
  5. Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2023/12/12)
  6. Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2023/12/16)
  7. Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2023/12/20)
  8. Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2023/12/24)
  9. Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2023/12/28)
  10. Aug 19 SUN - Firenze - Day 2 - Uffizi Gallery (2024/01/04)
  11. Aug 20 MON - Firenze (Day 3) - Collodi (2024/01/08)
  12. Aug 21 TUE - From Pescia to Lucca (2024/01/12)
  13. Aug 22 WED - Lucca (Toscana) - La Spezia (Liguria) (2024/01/16)
  14. Aug 23 THU - Cinque Terra [... in progress ...] (2024/01/20)
  15. Aug 24 FRI - Torre del Lago Puccini - Pisa and Agriturismo (2024/01/24)
  16. Aug 25 SAT - Agriturismo in Pitigliano [... in progress ...] (2024/01/28)
  17. Aug 26 SUN - Road to Napoli [... in progress ...] (2024/02/04)
  18. Aug 27 MON - Napoli - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/08)
  19. Aug 28 TUE - From focused Napoli to heavenly Sorrento (2024/02/12)
  20. Aug 29 WED - Capri - Day 1 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/16)
  21. Aug 30 THU - Capri - Day 2 [... in progress ...] (2024/02/20)
  22. Aug 31 FRI - La Dolce Far Niente [... in progress ...] (2024/02/24)
  23. Sep 1 SAT - Mount Vesuvius [... in progress ...] (2024/02/28)
  24. Sep 2 SUN - Last day in Rome [... in progress ...] (2024/03/04)
  25. Sep 3 MON - From Rome back to Boston (2024/03/08)
  26. Italy 2012 - Final Summary - Rules to Adopt and Follow <br> (2024/03/12)

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