One of seventeen contrada (neighborhoods) marches through the hill city of Siena, bearing a coat of arms, to celebrate their tradition as a medieval military company.

In the magnificent Piazza del Campo.

A pizza dinner on a balmy evening in Piazza del Campo.

Palazzo Pubblico tower, built in the early 14th century.

The Siena cathedral (Duomo) is a stunning example of medieval architecture. It was built in the 13th and 14th centuries.

An unusual decoration on the outside of a Siena home.

More pizza in the piazza.

On a quaint street outside of Palazzina Cesira, a terrific B&B in the hill town of Montalcino. We stay for four nights in what is essentially a private home with a few guest rooms. Robert and Lucilla are incredible hosts.

Exploring the narrow streets of Montalcino at dusk.

Montalcino skyline after a thunderstorm.

View across Tuscan countryside just before a late dinner in Montalcino.

Day trip to the walled town of San Quirico.

Pam's reaction when I said I bought her this villa in Tuscany.

Investigating a vineyard on the outskirts of Montalcino.

Grapes only a couple of weeks before harvesting. Our innkeeper arranged a private tour of the small Poggio di Sotto winery, producer of a high-quality Brunello di Montalcino wine.

Late afternoon stroll through a vineyard.

On our way back to the inn.

Beginning of a long walk near Saint Antimo's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery not far from Montalcino.

Quiet road on a beautiful late summer day in central Italy.

We pass several vineyards along the way.

Just below the town of Castelnuovo dell Abate.

We explore the hilltop town.

More natives enjoying the afternoon.

Outside the nearby Abbey.

Benedictine monks in Saint Antimo's Abbey. We also experienced the Gregorian chant of the monks at the Sunday morning service. From their website: "Visitors come not only for this beautiful abbey that is unique in all of Italy, but also to savour a moment of peace and spirituality. At Saint Antimo you can once again find the door to your heart."