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Tuscany & Umbria in Autumn 2

By Kaye Fletcher-Brooke 4 January 2015

The Piazza and cars in SienaStumbling across the Gran Premio Nuvolari car rally in Piazza del Campo (left), Siena was a real joy, with a seemingly endless parade of Jaguars, Bugattis and Ferraris on their way back to Rimini.

If you have your own classic car to enter, or want to find out more, see the Gran Premio Nuvolari website. 

More visual feasts in Siena were to come with the stunning Duomo (below left), all that gleaming marble stuffed full of amazing artistic treasures from Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo. Building started in 1215 a staggering 800 years ago.

Magnificent sights (fashion alert)

Italian broguesOn the steps of Siena DuomoSomewhat less impressive to him was the pair of shoes that Ted’s travelling companion picked up in one of those snazzy Italian leather shops. These were from Pratesi each to his own! Another beautiful square, Piazza Grande (below left), in Arezzo was best viewed from the 16th Century bell tower build by Vasari, curious that Ted was the only visitor at 11.50 – yes the bell was exceptionally loud when you’re stood next to it! The Church of Saint Francis houses stunning frescos by Piero della Francesca and the Legend of the True Cross.

Cultural overload

View of Arezzo from the Vasari bell towerDiversions to see the Madonna del Parto and the birthplace of Michaelangelo in Caprese Michelangelo made Arezzo the perfect base for the ultimate holiday of Renaissance culture.
The most wonderful pizza of walnuts, honey, pecorino cheese and pear from the extensive menu of award winning restaurant in Giovi, Pizzeria Al Fogher, provided a delicious tea with plenty left for breakfast! The route to Assisi took him through Gubbio, a really beautiful old Umbrian town with bronze age origins, up yet another steep hill, but with lifts to help the weary to the top of the town. It’s austere but beautiful with a large open square from which there is a magnificent view across the valley to the other notable hill towns.

A must visit gem

Assisi was a three night stop over and a truly beautiful place to soak in the ancient atmosphere. It’s a must on any tour of Umbria, the birthplace of St. Francis but with roots that can be traced back to 450 BC. As well as the impressive Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi there is a fabulous network of ancient streets and countless churches, souvenir shops and ofcourse wonderful food!

cakes and marzipanSt Francis statuesThe Basilica in AssisiMonk mugs

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