It was a long travel day to make our journey back to Italy... a 5 hours drive from Menton, France to Siena, Italy. The ride wasn't smooth at all as it was pouring so made traffic worst! There was a car accident near Genoa so we wasted half an hour sitting on traffic. We made a lunch break at Deng at Prato, Italy just before Florence. Once we got off the highway and into this little town, we were surprised how many Chinese signs and businesses are there; it looked like there's a big population of Chinese reside in that town. The restaurant is family-run, only a few tables, and cozy.
After lunch, we continued our journey - only one hour away and we made it to Siena and the rain stopped! I did the research on where to park our car as the center of Siena is restricted access to cars and it's located up on a hill - San Francesco Parcheggi where it's just below the Basilica of San Francesco. What makes this parking lot convenient is that it has escalators all the way up to the Basilica of San Francesco. Luckily, when we arrived in the early afternoon, there were available parking spots in the parking lot!
We only take our carry-on luggage where I had already repacked with what we need for the next few days and our drinks up. From the parking lot, the entrance to the escalators is just a short walk across the street. I have never seen such a long escalator up like 3 levels at least. And then a few more escalators after that! It's a very tall and steep hill! I was glad that I found out about this parking lot, totally worth the money although it was very expensive we parked from the afternoon to the next morning!
Note that there’s a paid public bathroom in town and it’s clean We still have time after exploring San Gimignano so we stopped by Monteriggioni; it’s along the way back to Siena anyways.
Monteriggioni is a small town (I would say village) built with fortifications and watchtowers completely surrounding it. You can Google the drone pictures of it to see it’s quite incredible. However, inside the castle wall, there are only a few houses which you can walk around a whole loop in a few minutes.
There are a restaurant and a few souvenir shops that’s it. Parking was €2.50 for our brief visit which we parked outside the entrance. It looked more interesting from the outside than the inside but it was hard to find a good spot to take a photo as it’s located up the hill. This was the best spot we found that you can see the towers of the fortification walls where the town is enclosed inside.
After a long day of exploration and climbed a tower, we were starving so we ordered so many dishes even the waiter warned us about how much food we ordered. We said no worries LOL! One thing I like Chinese restaurants in Italy is that they tried to make its menu like Italian menu with first course, second course, and main course, etc. so each plate is smaller in quantity and only €4-9 each that’s perfect for two of us to try different dishes.