We did the day trip to Monteriggioni, Siena, San Gimignano and a wine tasting at Guardastelle which enabled us to get a good flavour of the delights of Chianti. It could have been a most wonderful day but was spoilt but the tendency of this company to pick up and drop off at locations well away from the attractions. Expect long walks, often up steep inclines, before you even begin your sightseeing. This tour was on a 55 seater coach and not a small minivan as some of the passengers had been led to expect. Half were English and half French so our guide, Fillipo, was forced to talk almost continuously. This he managed magnificently and our driver was exceptionally careful, particularly on some of the narrow lanes and tight turns. In Siena we were turned over to a local guide who was truly excellent, especially for the magnificent cathedral. The disappointment of the day was the set lunch which was sold (€11) as salad, pasta, mixed cold meats and cheeses plus wine and water. The restaurant, La Favourita, had set up a plastic tent in a square overlooking a parking lot for motorcycles and we were seated together at one long table. Bread was stale and served out of paper bags left at intervals along the table, the salad was a mound of limp lettuce, the pasta had very little sauce so was dry, the meats and cheese platters were OK but skimpy and the wine tasted like something you might clean paint brushes in. We would have been a lot happier - and fuller - making our own way to one of the many restaurants which line the streets and squares of Siena. The coupon we received for an ice cream in San Gimignano did not make up for lunch although the ice cream was simply divine. Given the competition from other tour companies, we felt that this one needed to try harder. However, that said, the tour did give a wonderful opportunity to get an overview of the delights of the Tuscan countryside.
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