March 22, 2016 – San Miniato

Today is an example of what happens when I don’t carefully plan things out.

We leave Siena around 10AM bound for San Miniato. San Miniato is named for the first martyr of Florence. After becoming a Christian hermit in the Florence area in 250 A.D., he was arrested by the Roman emporer who demanded that he make sacrifices to the Roman gods.  Miniato refused and was then put through numerous torments –he was thrown into a furnace, was stoned, and was thrown to a wild animal at an amphitheater. He was unharmed. Finally, he was beheaded but his legend states that he picked up his own head.

There are quite a few of these head carrying martyrs known as cephalophores. Here’s a song by They Might Be Giants about cephalophores, “You Probably Get That A Lot.”

But I digress. Our plan is to go to San Miniato visit the cathedral and especially the museum attached. There are a lot of really excellent art objects in it.

We get to San Miniato. I figure, small place, we’ll see the cathedral easily. But, no. First it is on the top of a hill and you cannot park in town. You must park outside the town and walk up. We reach what appears to be a town square but there is no cathedral.

Here I am wandering around the square
Here I am wandering around the square

We stop in a church. It is not the church we are looking for. We walk down hill and up hill. We stop in another church. Wrong church again. We walk really uphill and then up a bunch of stairs. Finally we are at the right church. But all the good stuff that we have come to see has been removed to the museum. We find the museum only to find out that it is only open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It’s Tuesday. Sigh.

Duomo dedicated to Sant'Assunta and Santo Genesio
Duomo dedicated to Sant’Assunta and Santo Genesio
Interesting old stuff has been removed and replaced by Baroque decoration
Interesting old stuff has been removed and replaced by Baroque decoration

There’s a big tower on the top of this hill that we’ve climbed. It’s called the Frederick II tower. Frederick II was the Holy Roman Emperor and came from Swabia, the southwest area of today’s Germany. The tower was built between 1217 and 1223. Unfortunately the Germans blew it up in WWII but it was rebuilt in 1958. John and I have no desire to climb the rest of the hill or the 400 steps inside but Sarah is eager to take a look.

Frederick II Tower
Frederick II Tower
View from the Tower
View from the Tower
Next we decide to have lunch in a palazzo that has been turned into a hotel. It is near the Tower and is supposed to have interesting frescoes. It is closed for renovations. Can anything go right today?!
Closed for renovations
Closed for renovations
We walk almost all the way back to the car before we find a place that is open for lunch. We are the only patrons. I guess Tuesday is not a day for eating lunch out in San Miniato. We are handed a piece of paper with four choices that you can have with either rice or penne. It’s nothing fancy but we are hungry from all our hill climbing.


After lunch we head to our next hotel in Montecatini Terme. We will be here for four nights while we tour several small surrounding towns.

We spend some time doing a little hand laundry and then go out to find our new drinks and snacks place. As we sit in an empty lounge we figure out that Montecatinis have happy hour later or not at all. We decide that pizza will be dinner tonight. Our friend at the desk hooks us up with a Tuesday special in what she says is the best pizza in town. $1 for a pizza! What a deal!

$3 worth of pizza!!
$3 worth of pizza!!

 

 

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