Florence is old and dirty and living in the past; particularly the five years in the nineteenth century when it was the capital of Italy. Boy did they go on about that! Generally it is narrow and crowded with tourists including many, many school groups from the U.S.A., Germany, France, Japan, Italy - many school groups.
My favourite bit of Florence was this
It is a restaurant and a brewery. Manchester United knocked Inter Milan out of the UEFA Champions League the first night we went there so we made it clear we were Australian the second night. It was the only place we went to twice (except for the hotel, but we didn't have a choice about that if wanted our stuff back).
After half a day, including a bit when I had to drive on the right, Siena is better than Florence. Another half a day of driving on the right got us to Montepulciano and back again, which was nice.
Siena has many narrow streets and much wider piazzas. It is completely walkaroundable for at least a whole day as long as you can deal with hills - there are seven of them involved in the topography. Hills do make for goodly vistas.
Hills also make for poorly maps. Actually it seems all of Tuscany is poorly mapped, or at least mapped (and signposted) poorly. Roads have names and numbers, either or both may be missing from the map. Intersecting roads and intersecting lines are not necessarily related. Nothing over ten kilometres away is signposted except Roma (or Firenze in the opposite direction). Some things are only signposted from one direction, for example we found Radda in Chianti by turning around and driving back the way we came.
The prize for best castle (and sunniest overexposed pictures) went to Brolio.Radda in Chianti.
Radda is even cuter than Siena if you aren't hauling luggage, but can be completely walked out in less than half a day. So we went to nearby places to walk. We drove by Poggibonsi, which looked dull, on the way to San Gimignano, which looked interesting.
Next we wanted to go to Volterra for a scenic walk out of the guide book. Unfortunately there was no parking to be had in Volterra. Lots of signs suggested parking might be found, but there where no actual parking lots and the signs eventually directed us out of town.
After spending Tuesday getting the runaround from Italian roadsigns (happy birthday Libby) we decided to try a scenic walk out of the guide book near Radda in Chianti on Wednesday.
This worked out much better* until, four hours into the three and a half hour walk, we took directions from a local and went completely off the track. The next day we went to the market in Monteriggioni but there was no market.
Everybody was friendly and all the food was excellent, all the time. Three stars.