Montecantini, Lucca, Pisa and Gaiole in Chianti

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It has been crazy and a whirlwind trip so far.  But on the 27th of June we left Firenze in a rented car for Montecantini Terme where a friend of my Mom’s lives.  He took us to the little mountain vista town of Montecantini Alto and then we had dinner with his family at his house.

By a wall overlooking Montecantini Terme from Montecantini Alto

By a wall overlooking Montecantini Terme from Montecantini Alto

The main square in Montecantini Alto

The main square in Montecantini Alto

The path from Montecantini Terme to Montecantini Alto.

The path from Montecantini Terme to Montecantini Alto.

At the top of the path to Montecatini Alto is the 14th Station of the Cross.  The pilgrims, each Good Friday make the climb from Montecatini Terme to Alto doing the stations along the way.

At the top of the path to Montecatini Alto is the 14th Station of the Cross. The pilgrims, each Good Friday make the climb from Montecatini Terme to Alto doing the stations along the way.

We stayed at the Grand Hotel & La Pace Spa in Montecantini Terme which was pretty neat.  Great bed and shower.

The next day we drove over to Lucca and Pisa then down to Gaiole in Chianti where we stayed 3 days at the Castello di Spaltenna.  From there we drove down to Siena for a day visit and over to Assisi on our way down to Rome.

St. Peter's Gate entry to the walled city of Lucca.

St. Peter’s Gate entry to the walled city of Lucca.

On the Piazza San Martino in front of the Duomo of San Martino in Lucca.

On the Piazza San Martino in front of the Duomo of San Martino in Lucca.

Here I am in the horse cart doing a tour of all the famous squares, churches and points of interest in Lucca.

Here I am in the horse cart doing a tour of all the famous squares, churches and points of interest in Lucca.

A typical street scene in Lucca.

A typical street scene in Lucca.

Inside the famouse Amphitheater of Lucca which is now a lively square but we were advised not to eat there since it is so touristy.  It was once a colosseum and then centuries later they used the old materials to build the houses and apartments.

Inside the famouse Amphitheater of Lucca which is now a lively square but we were advised not to eat there since it is so touristy. It was once a colosseum and then centuries later they used the old materials to build the houses and apartments.

One of the many towers in Lucca.

One of the many towers in Lucca.

This is the church of Santa Maria Forisportam which in latin means "outside the gate".  It was built in the 12 century to a Romanesque plan. [My Dad is telling me all this].

This is the church of Santa Maria Forisportam which in latin means “outside the gate”. It was built in the 12 century to a Romanesque plan. [My Dad is telling me all this].

The driver of "Hermie" asked me if I wanted to come up and join him on the driver's seat.

The driver of “Hermie” asked me if I wanted to come up and join him on the driver’s seat.

This is the fountain in the Piazza St. Pietro with the church of San Giovanni E Reparata in the background.

This is the fountain in the Piazza St. Pietro with the church of San Giovanni E Reparata in the background.

A door way arch with a beautiful bas relief fresco.

A door way arch with a beautiful bas relief fresco.

Lucca is the birth home of Giacomo Puccini, the great composer of Opera. There is a museum in the square where his house is maintained.

Lucca is the birth home of Giacomo Puccini, the great composer of Opera. There is a museum in the square where his house is maintained.

It is very common in Italy to fill up your drink bottle at the many fountains.

It is very common in Italy to fill up your drink bottle at the many fountains.

The Puccini museum is to the right.

The Puccini museum is to the right.

Down the street to the Church of San Michele in Foro.

Down the street to the Church of San Michele in Foro.

The Church of St. Michele in Foro built by Pope Alexender II in 1070.  It stands where in Roman times there was the city's forum.

The Church of St. Michele in Foro built by Pope Alexender II in 1070. It stands where in Roman times there was the city’s forum.

This is the Temple of the Holy Face which is inside the Duomo of Lucca in Piazza St. Pietro.

This is the Temple of the Holy Face which is inside the Duomo of Lucca in Piazza St. Pietro.

Inside the Duomo of Lucca.

Inside the Duomo of Lucca.

Some of the wall surrounding Lucca.

Some of the wall surrounding Lucca.

I don’t have a lot of time to post more information, so I will just post as many photos with captions that I can.  Assisi will have to wait until I am back in the States.

A quick drive to Pisa before we head off to Gaiole in Chianti.  There is the leaning tower.

A quick drive to Pisa before we head off to Gaiole in Chianti. There is the leaning tower.

This is the church connected to our hotel in Castello di Salptenna in Gaiole in Chianti.  There was a wedding there the day we checked in.

This is the church connected to our hotel in Castello di Salptenna in Gaiole in Chianti. There was a wedding there the day we checked in.

Looking north down the main street in Gaiole in Chianti. That is the church we went to for Sunday Mass in the background.

Looking north down the main street in Gaiole in Chianti. That is the church we went to for Sunday Mass in the background.

This is the main square of Gaiole in Chianti.  Small isn't it?

This is the main square of Gaiole in Chianti. Small isn’t it?

In Gaiole they have installed about 20 modern sculptures all around the little village.  This one is "The Cycloops".

In Gaiole they have installed about 20 modern sculptures all around the little village. This one is “The Cycloops”.

In Gaiole there was a ceramic shop where they hand make any design you want.

In Gaiole there was a ceramic shop where they hand make any design you want.

Ready for Sunday Mass at the church in Gaiole in Chianti

Ready for Sunday Mass at the church in Gaiole in Chianti

Down the walk to the main building and square of the Castello di Spaltenna

Down the walk to the main building and square of the Castello di Spaltenna

Then we have the beautiful city of Siena up on top of a mountain with all the pagentry of the middle ages.

We all bought Contrade or neighborhood scarves.  Mine for the tortoise or Tortuca, my Mom the Pantera or Panther and my Dad the Giraffa or Giraffe.

We all bought Contrade or neighborhood scarves. Mine for the tortoise or Tortuca, my Mom the Pantera or Panther and my Dad the Giraffa or Giraffe.

Flag Waving is a big part of the Siena Palio.  Here two guys are practicing their flag waving to the beat of a drummer you can't see.

Flag Waving is a big part of the Siena Palio. Here two guys are practicing their flag waving to the beat of a drummer you can’t see.

We parked in San Franceso then took the escalators, all five of them, up to Siena.  I am wearing my contrade scarve for the Tortoise neighborhood.

We parked in San Franceso then took the escalators, all five of them, up to Siena. I am wearing my contrade scarve for the Tortoise neighborhood.

This is Frederick and I am waiting to board my flight back to America. No place like it (except maybe Italy:)

 

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