We left our picturesque Tuscan Bed and Breakfast and made out for Monteriggioni. Apart from being a beautiful example of a renaissance era walled town, Zoe and I wanted to visit Monteriggioni for a completely nerdy reason. It’s the home of one of our favourite video game characters. Eizio Auditore from The Assasin’s Creed series. Fleeing Firenze after the murder of his father and 2 brothers, Eizio, with his mother and sister, take refuge in Monteriggioni, where his uncle, Mario, has a villa.
There is no villa in the real Monteriggioni, but Zoe and I were like kids in a candy store, checking out the walls and buildings inside the city. It is absolutely beautiful, set in the low Tuscan farmlands outside of Siena.
After Monteriggioni, we set of to another Assassin’s Creed related village nearby called San Gimignono. This place was amazing. Michelle fell in love with the towers and the narrow streets. Another walled city in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside dominated by Torre Grossa, a 54 metre tower built in 1311. It is widely considered one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe.
No trip to Italy would be complete without seeing the leaning tower of Pizza..... I mean leaning tower of Pisa. No photo I have ever seen prepares you for just how askew the tower really is. It really is at quite a disturbing angle, but is, none the less, a beautiful structure, despite it's famous lean. When reading reviews of this online, I was amazed by how many people suggested that the tower was the only thing worth seeing in the Square of Miracles. The Cathedral and Bapistry are striking buildings and the interior of the Cathedral is quite a work of art.
When studying the map for our drive from Pisa to Florence, i discovered that only 10 kms off the highway was the sleepy little town of Vinci, birthplace of one 'Leonardo of Vinci'. I have always been enthralled by Leonardo da Vinci and have read many times of the influence his home region had on his art, so we just had to stop by and have a look. His home is high in the hills above Vinci and is in a spectacular location. It felt surreal to be in the place where Da Vinci was born and grew up, but we could all realise the inspiration in the landscape that surrounded his youth.
From Vinci, we pushed on to Florence and arrived after dark, exhausted from 2 days of driving and walking many wonders of Tuscany. Tomorrow we would begin to explore the city that was once the centre of the world, and the birthplace of the Renaissance; Florence!