The first four photos show the ruins of the 12th century San Galgano Abbey a little southwest of Siena. When we made a quick "comfort" stop in a cafe across from the abbey on our way to the medieval hilltop town of Massa Marittima, the abbey was so charming it was hard to leave. However, the weather steadily brightened, and by the time we returned for a more extended tour later that day, the abbey and its grounds glowed in the golden Tuscan sun. It stands in a quiet field and evokes deep peace and a truly spiritual atmosphere. I was thankful we were not rushed away after the guide's presentation because our time there was very meaningful to me. Although I enjoy revisiting the photos, they are not necessary for me; I can bring the scene and its serenity to mind anytime. It is among the pictures in my mind (saved up from a lifetime of experiences) that can calm me anytime.
The other three photos depict a gorgeous family winery and vineyards where we revelled in an informative tour and very classy wine tasting. The Castello di Monsanto winery is the keeper of the largest reserve of Chianti Classico in the region. Prime Tuscan Chianti is in another category entirely from the straw-wrapped bottles that accompanied budget spaghetti meals early in our marriage! We could all imagine ourselves on the set of a movie or participating in the wedding of Italian nobility as we sipped and strolled the lovely grounds. As always, you can click on any photo for a larger view.
Since I had been determined to travel as lightly as possible (see my post on packing for two weeks in Italy in one carry on plus a small backpack here), these photos were taken with my small Canon Power Shot A530. My newer, heavier camera did not make the cut. However, the photos this faithful workhorse of a camera produces are still pleasing to me.
Question of the day: What travel dream brightens your winter days?