Our last full day and we chose to spend it in San Gimignano some two hours away by car.

The Italians are, on the whole, awful drivers. Frequently on the phone while driving they drive inches from the back of the car in front before pulling out to over take into oncoming traffic or at a blind corner. They think that they are Alberto Ascari when they are more like Andrea de Cesaris (look him up). I mention this only as background and mitigation for what happened.

We decided to take the “quick” route there which while was via the autostrade it was 30 mins shorter than the direct route. Or at least it should have been had there not been a hold up along the way. Now I detest sitting in traffic on motorways at the best of times but it is particularly irksome when on holiday. I mention this only as background and mitigation for what happened.

After two long hours we finally arrived at San Gimignano only to discover that it was full, or at least all the car parks were and there was no space at the side of the roads either. We drove round a couple of times but we weren’t alone in looking and it was proving impossible to find anywhere. We were suddenly faced with having to turn straight back round and spend another two hours in the car. What happened next is censored but let’s just say that we drove to a nearby town and regrouped over a very frosty and disgusting lunch.

A couple of hours later and suitably chastened we went back to San Gimignano and this time had more luck in finding a parking space. It was good that we did as it is a beautiful place, especially if you like towers.

The journey back we avoided the autostrade and went the back roads. We met countless tractors and Andrea de Cesaris but we didn’t mind. Much.