Tuesday, 15 May 2007

10th May - San Gimignano / Firenze

10th May
Lucca to San Gimignano then Firenze

Arrival in Firenze 48747km

We decided to skip visiting Pisa as we had a really nice time in Lucca and wanted to head for Florence. My friend Matt had recommended a visit to the town of San Gimignano, near to Florence, so we headed for there first, with the plan to spend the afternoon there and then head for Florence in the late afternoon.

The drive was very pleasant in typical Tuscan scenery and finished up winding uphill towards San Gimignano which sits perched atop a hill. It's another walled town and very well preserved and quaint, but very touristy with it. The town has obviously set itself up as a little tourist trap and have organised parking for coaches and camper vans, although the camper van parking is a fair trek from the town and all uphill.

We kicked around San Gimignano for a few hours, wandering the narrow streets and alleys and eating gorgeous Italian ice cream. The weather was very warm and it was nice to be able to sit in the shade of a cloistered area just off the main square and relax for a while.

Leaving San Gimignano, we made our way towards Florence and Maisy had one of her fits of nonsense, taking us up a tight and twisty narrow road through tiny villages and almost getting us stuck a couple of times. Finally, we made it to the city centre of Florence where the drivers are just simply nuts! It was a real free for all with scooters buzzing around the sides and on the roundabouts you really just need to force your way into the traffic flow or you'll sit there forever. We had no luck at all in finding either of the camper stops listed, but had seen a camping sign further back, so made attempts to retrace our track back to where the signs were. This went surprisingly well, luckily, and we found the campsite within about 25 minutes. Camping Michaelangelo is at the top of a hill just above the city centre. It's hilly, the pitches slope quite a lot and it was expensive at 33e for the night, but it just had to do.

Once pitched up on a slight slope, we decided to head down into the centre and went to a couple of bars and decided to get drunk. Drinks were expensive, but the spirits proved better value than bottled beer as the measures were free poured and generous. We tried to head for a late club, but couldn't find it in the end up, even after a nice wee Moroccan guy had taken us to where it was supposed to be, so decided to head back to the campsite about 2.30am. Bruce just caught the last of the pizza shop and bought himself a slice of pizza for 3e which I slagged him about for getting ripped off....

We decided not to stay on, which was a shame in a way, as Florence looked to be a nice city, but I think we had become all cityed out by this stage and wanted to head for the coast the next day.

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