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Italy: August 2010

Time for me to start filling you in on some of the destinations on our Travel Map!

Back in August last year we headed off to Italy for a week. One of my bridesmaids Helen was getting married and I was one of her 3 bridesmaids. The wedding was on the Wednesday so we went on the Saturday so we would have some time before and after the wedding. We flew from Edinburgh to Rome via Amsterdam then drove our hire car up to Siena in Tuscany. We stayed at Villa Catignano, an old Tuscan villa 8km north east of Siena, along with the rest of the wedding party and all of the other wedding guests. The villa has been split into apartments and we shared a 3 bedroom apartment with the other two bridesmaids Lucy & Nic, their partners and Lucy's daughter Emily. The villa had a pool to use as well but we only ended up going there one day; I didn't even go in for fear of the chlorine ruining my french manicure before the wedding.

Since we didn’t have a lot of free time during the week, we took advantage of our first day to visit the small towns of San Gimignano & Volterra. San Gimignano still has 14 of its original towers so we climbed the one in the town hall to take a look at the view before having a wander around the town.

The twilight fan in me had to visit Volterra since it was so close although the New Moon film wasn’t actually filmed there, but in Montepulciano instead. We visited the town hall here as well and bought an alabaster decoration for our Christmas tree.

You can't go to Italy without sampling some of their wine so our friends wedding planner had arranged a wine tasting tour for 20 of us. The tour was excellent, helped by the great tour guide on the bus, and although I'm not a lover of red wine, the Chianti Classico was actually quite nice. We bought some delicious balsamic vinegar at one of the wineries and a bottle of truffle oil at the other before stopping at the walled town of Monteriggioni for a drink on our way back.

The day before the wedding we were able to have a quick look around Siena. We walked into the centre to the main square, the Piazza del Campo, to see the town hall, the Palazzo Pubblico, the venue for the wedding.

From there it wasn’t far along some of the narrow winding streets to the Cathedral. Graham was looking a bit ill by then so we came home so he could try and sleep it off while I got ready for the first of the wedding preparations.

The bride & bridesmaids had appointments at the Italian hairdresser in the centre of Siena so we could finalise arrangements for the next morning; rather interesting when he didn’t speak much English but thankfully the wedding planner was on hand to translate. After relaxing with a drink in the town square and discussing our entrance and positions for the ceremony, we met everyone back near the villa for dinner.

The wedding was the next day but it definitely deserves a post of its own; Siena town hall, lots of Italian food, Italian wine and dancing!

After a rather late night, the day after was a bit of a wash out, not helped by the torrential rain! We eventually gathered up enough energy to go out for something to eat, in the nearest place we could find.

On our last day we headed up to Florence, which was only around an hour away. We walked into the centre past the Pitti Palace {the Medici residence linked to the Uffizi by Vasari’s corridor} then over the Ponte Vecchio, which is maybe my favourite thing in the city.

As you can imagine for Italy in August, the queue to climb the Duomo was massive so after lunch in the main square we decided to visit the Palazzo Vecchio, the town hall. We took the secret passages tour around the palace with just one other couple which took you inside the museum and to some of the usually inaccessible areas including the passages used by the Medici family.

From the top of the tower, we were able to get a really good view over to the Duomo. We then spent some time wandering around the city {trying to find an Internet café to check in for our flight home}, doing a bit of shopping and eating ice cream.

One day is never enough time for Florence but it was lovely to see parts of it again; I had been previously with my parents but this was Graham’s first visit.

We spent most evenings relaxing, chatting and drinking with everyone in the courtyard and the last night was no different. Almost everyone who was at the wedding was staying at the villa or in the adjoining Fattoria, so it was lovely to see everyone for a bit longer. Some people stayed just a couple of nights while others were there for the full week like us. The weather had been mixed all week, with a couple of really hot days and a couple of cooler days, unlike the last time I was in Italy in July when it was just hot all the time. I was surprised how chilly it got at night up at our villa, cardigans and jumpers were definitely needed.

All too soon it was Saturday and time to say goodbye and come home. Unfortunately Grahams case thought it would stay in Amsterdam a bit longer so he wasn't reunited with it until the next day.


  1. That is awesome! I went the Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Venice and Rome a few years ago and loved it!

  2. Ohmygoodness, this looks gorgeous! I certainly would not mind being a wedding guest in Italy.

  3. Well, it's safe to say that my jealousy that you have visited Volterra has not subsided.

    Also, that villa is awesome. I want to live there please!

  4. Looks beautiful! I love that you went to Volterra!

  5. You are the person who gets my travel bug going every time! We both love Italy, I'm desparate to go back again. I really want to do a driving holiday around Tuscany and Umbria but Italian drivers scare me, I think you might just have swayed it for me!
    And now, my claim to fame: when in secondary school I was in the choir, and we did a tour round tuscany, singing in various churches and cathedrals, and we sang in a side chapel of Florence duomo! Apparently, (I never saw her) the girl who played Jessie in saved by the bell (remember that?! What a show!) was there watching us!!
    Now then, I bet you're glad you waited two days to read that!

  6. Amazing photos you have here! Thanks for sharing your trip :)

  7. That villa looks amazing.
    Given that I've just been to Florence I loved this post. :)


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