Posted by: aboveandbeyondtravelblog | August 31, 2011

11 Day Mediterranean Cruise Onboard the Celebrity Equinox: Day 2 – Umbria & Tuscany

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After a long night’s rest, we woke up feeling pretty good. Today we are going to drive north of Rome into the Umbria and Tuscany regions. The day was going to be around 90 degrees with full sunshine. It is very dry here with low humidity, so 90 didn’t seem too hot.  We drove on some of the back roads instead of the highways so we could see more of the country. Our first stop is Lago (lake) de Bracciano, a favorite water spot for the Italians in the area. Right along the shore, up on a cliff is the old town of Bracciano. This was beautiful, it was the first hill town of the day, but it wasn’t the last we would see today!

We then traveled northeast into Umbria to the old hill town of Orvieto. We have had some of their white wine in Ohio and wanted to see the town to match. It also was beautiful, looking up at it and walking around it. I should probably say that hill towns were the original villages that built huge fortification walls around themselves for protection. Most of them were on high outcroppings of rock that made it difficult for the enemy to attack.

From here we went into Tuscany and the hill town of Montepulciano. We have been here before but wanted to go again, but we couldn’t have picked a busier day. This was the last weekend of summer for them so they were having their annual Barrel Race, with teams from each community around them. The teams have a certain color scheme and everyone was wearing a scarf for the team they supported. The evening’s events started with a parade with each team supporters wearing clothing from the middle ages in their color scheme. The final event was for each team to push their wine barrel up the long, winding, steep road into the main plaza. What a fun thing to see and we were so happy that we “fell” into this extra bit of culture!

This was a fun day, especially trying to figure out road signs, directions, toll booths and anything else that went with being in a different country. You just have to learn to be flexible and roll with the bumps in the road!

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