1 October, Monday: Tuscany
We toured the 14th century Duomo, which has an amazingly detailed facade. Another unique feature is its floor, which consists of 56 marble panels which are intricately carved with mythological figures, Old Testament scenes, and civic emblems. For two hundred years, beginning about 1370, more than forty artists contributed to the work. The floor is covered for conservation purposes eleven months of the year. Only in September do the covers come off so the public can view the marvelous artistry. Even then, most are roped off so you can't walk on them, but many show extensive wear from earlier traffic. Some even have centuries-old graffiti carved into them. Today is the first of October, so we were very fortunate that the floor was still uncovered.
Our choice for lunch was again a good one. Ristorante San Desiderio appeared at first glance to be one that catered to tourists. Two long tables at one end of the restaurant seemed to be set for a tour group. But we were hungry and decided to give it a shot anyway. The big wood burning pizza oven was not operating today but the food off the main menu was excellent. (Sure enough, a large German tour group came in while we were eating.)
Al went up the Museo dell'Opera tower again for more pictures while I wandered about the piazza area. Finally we headed back to the car and found a 195,000 lire ticket for parking in a "residential" zone. Maybe if I keep looking at that sign near the car, I'll figure out what it says. I think I know now.
Back to the villa. I rested and Al took advantage of the sunny afternoon to get some pictures of the nearby Tuscan countryside. For dinner, we headed back to Monteriggioni and one of the restaurants, Il Piccolo Castello. This was the only Tuscan restaurant we experienced with a rather uninteresting modern décor; but the food was just as good as all the others had been.