Just because I’ve already left Italy, doesn’t mean I’ve finished writing about it just yet. A couple weeks before I was leaving I realized there were a few cities I wanted to visit, which meant it was time for a road trip! I was heading North of Naples and I was going solo.
Around noon on Saturday I started driving North and it was the perfect day to roll the windows down, turn the music up, and let my worries go.
It does take almost 5 hours to get to Siena if there is a traffic, and because it’s early spring it still gets dark early. I had booked a room on booking.com that was right next to the main square so I would have to park somewhere else and walk. I didn’t worry so much about leaving my car, so found street parking near one of the entrances to one of the city gates and walked into town.
When I first got to Italy, my dental hygienist had told me about Siena and the famous horse races (Palio) that they hold in the city square twice a year. I distinctly remember her telling me one of them was in August (the other one is in July). I ended up getting underway on the ship during that time and didn’t make it. If you are in the area, I suggest you go.P.S., What’s with the Walking Dead theme music opener? Is this about horses or Zombies?!
There were quite a few people out and about around the town, I walked around snapping photos until I found a restaurant I’d be happy at. Champagne was their speciality. 🙂
After dinner, I enjoyed some gelato, strolled around the town a bit more, and then called it a night and headed back to my room to write, before falling sleep.
Pretty soon I was packing my bag, checking out of the hotel and hitting the road. There were other places to see today and I wanted to make it to Montepulciano for lunch.
If you liked the twighlight series, then you may recognize this town from the second movie, New Moon. Near the end of the movie, when Bella is running through the streets, winding up into the city trying to frantically find Edward before he walks out into the sun revealing himself as a vampire, to be killed by the Volturi.
That’s not why I came here to visit, let’s be real, I was here for some good wine!
The town is also on a hilltop, and you’ll wind up curvy roads to get to the city. Don’t even bother trying to drive through the main square, the streets are much too narrow for the trouble. There was a parking lot right outside of the gate and I parked there, grabbed my camera and walked into the city.
Ahhh, Montepulciano wine. If you’ve never heard of it and like wine, then you better get educated.
I walked around the whole town weaving one way and coming around another until I was back to where I started. Since I took the longer route walking up, I took in the scenery until I came around to the main square.
Bravio Della Brotti, or barrel races in Montepulcianom held the last Sunday in August, is a competition where the 8 districts of the city roll barrels 1800m uphill to the city center. Winner takes all!
Leaving Montepulciano, I continued South and stopped off in Orvieto, which you can see from the Autostrade (highway) as you head towards Napoli.
By this time it was late afternoon and like all the other towns, I parked just outside of the city and weaved my way in and around to the main square. This city was a bit bigger than the others and the Duomo is very unique.
Piazza Della Republica.
What’s even more interesting is the labyrinth of tunnels that have been dug into the volcanic rock throughout the city.
A really cute side street I happened upon walking near the square in Orvieto. After a cafe (and okay fine a quick desert) in the city square. I headed back to my car and drove down the hill merging back onto the highway.
On a last minute whim, I thought, “What the heck, why not” and veered off the highway just past the city to see if I would be able to double back and wind up the hill.
You can definitely only drive small cars into this city. Parking at the bottom near the bridge that crosses up into the town, I walked up snapping photos along the way.
The views of the highway and surrounding area are amazing from up here. There wasn’t really much else in the town except a few small shops, so I just walked through and then made my way back to the car, it was getting late anyway.
What a great weekend this turned out to be. If you are in Naples and just want to enjoy some time away, then heading North is the best recommendation I could give you. There are so many small towns to see along the way.
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