Wow, what a weekend I have had. There are no words to describe the utter beauty and elegance that Tuscany has to offer. I mean a photo can’t even do it justice. It is a sight that is beyond remarkable. It’s crazy to think that this region has a history that is thousands upon thousands of years old when us Americans are so accustomed to a 200-year story of our own. One of the greatest things about Italy, especially in Siena, is that the history is not overwrought by modern times. For the most part, the Italians strive to preserve it. For example, they don’t allow cars in the center of Siena so inhabitants are able to freely walk up and down the cobblestone streets without the fear of crosswalks, stoplights, or getting run over. Instead of trying to make money and tear down historical buildings for a Super Walmart or something of similar nature, the city invests money in preservation efforts. People can leave and return to the same place and know exactly where they are. Siena has withstood the change of time, maybe even becoming better as a result of it.
The people are some of the kindest that I have encountered thus far. Most are a part of families that have owned the same business for generations. They still hand paint and hand sew their goods and don’t try to rip you off in the process. It is quite refreshing that I can buy a hand sewn leather bag for its rightful price, not some arbitrary number inflated by a name or location. The produce, the gelato, and the wines are phenomenally fresh and enticing. You can just taste the quality.
My friend, Katie, and I decided to do a tour called: “Chianti and Castles.” However, it was not as tacky as it sounds. We went on two wine tastings, while driving through the Tuscan countryside. Those views were like none other. I now understand why Diane Lane (from Under the Tuscan Sun) would just drop everything and buy a home in Tuscany. It was STUNNING and almost unreal. Besides the delicious wine, I enjoyed visiting Montepulciano. Not only was it a small, intricate hidden gem, but it was the same place where Dante wrote the Divinia Commedia. Upon discovering this fact, I was stunned. After reading the entire comedy and then stumbling upon this place, I couldn’t believe it. I trekked across the same ground as Dante so many years ago. What an inspiration.
Overall, this trip made me feel blessed in so many ways. The ability for me to have this experience is nothing short of amazing. This is most definitely a once in a lifetime experience. One would think I would be crazy homesick being so far from home, but the thought of going on such trips/adventures makes it all the more exciting. Why should I sit and sulk when I could be out exploring? This is my time and I plan to make it count. That is what this trip has taught me.