And so we ended up in Siena.
Siena is a gorgeous, old-world city that flies under the radar and is blessedly not inundated with tourists.
We stayed in a farmhouse just outside the city, nestled among the countryside's rolling hills.
With a pretty fly (phat? jawsome? what do the kids say these days?) pool.
And where we spent a lot of time [watching Alex cook and then] eating delicious homemade meals.
Charms of the city...
... and charms of the country.
Sure, Alex had a broken foot, but with my family in Italy -- the first time my brother had left the States! -- what are we gonna do, sit around and cry? Of course not! So we left the gimp at home and took a day trip out to Fosso Bianco, the natural hot springs in Tuscany, where Alex and I had visited last time we were in Umbria.
Turns out... Alex and I didn't actually go to Fosso Bianco itself the last time.We'd made a wrong turn and visited the smaller pools up the trail. This time, we followed the really obvious signs, and found the crazy white sulfur mountains.
It wasn't over-crowded, and we got a pool all to ourselves to stretch out in. To wit:
There's my dad making friends with the locals while getting a waterfall massage, and my gorgeous sister-and-law lounging around up top.
Dad: "It's a sulfur-water selfie! It's a sulfie!" #dadjokes
Doing laps & earning lunch.
PRETTO - VIA DEI TERMINI 4, SIENA
This was soooooooo gooooooood....
My big brother pushing my man around Siena -- and all its cobblestones and janky hills -- like a champ.
My mom said I'm not allowed to post photos of her on the blog but you know what, I love this photo so much. Sorry mommy.
Views from the top of Siena's cathedral...
And from the inside. Absolutely spectacular.
We had to leave Alex behind a little while exploring Siena, so to make up for it we bought him ice cream.
Also, my dad kicked me off wheelchair-pushing duty after I hit a cobblestone and nearly dumped the poor boy on his face.
We also made Alex cook all of our meals as we hung out watching soccer and throwing back beers.
Growing up, my family ate dinner together every single night. It was so nice to replicate that in Siena, and to include our spouses in such a beloved ritual.
My dad's t-shirt says "I heart dogs, it's humans that annoy me". FYI.
Pool time all the time. Before and after every meal, and every spare second.
Alex trying not to break the other leg going up the ancient, steep stairs to our house. This brief terror was worth it for the breathtaking backyard:
It would've been heartbreaking to leave these stunning views, except that our next stop was Umbria, for our wedding! Stay tuned....