|Signor Fruit and two veg|
|Some of the stalls with Tuscan hills in background|
|In the narrow streets it's hard to avoid the importunate lepers|
|....and the elvish maidens|
We do find parking and after a short walk to the town walls we wait in a queue for the door in the great heavy gate to open and when it does the fierce gatekeepers clad in studded leather cuirasses and fully armed with sword and lance bark unintelligible questions at us in Italian. As visiting emissaries from a far-off foreign land we are closely scrutinised and eventually allowed passage. We drop a generous voluntary stipend in the basket by the gate to appease them and proceed to cross a temporal boundary.
|Milord and Lady|
|The hat seller plies his wares|
|A deeply religious encounter|
|Another Acolyte is recruited|
Once inside our twenty-first century world disappears and we are in the thirteenth century jostled by jesters, pilgrims, crusaders, lepers, owl keepers, bee keepers, falconers and town dignitaries and merchants. All of Montevettolini participates in this richly concocted illusion accompanied by convincing actors and musicians who wander the streets with medieval instruments playing music not unlike that of Galicia or Brittany.
|Mixing ancient dyes|
|The Seigneur (or Eddie Jordan?)|
|The wine flows "siphonically"|
|A Mage plays his devious tricks|
|The Grain Seller|
|The pesky lepers are persistent|
|My new BF, Signor Fruity and Two Veg.|
|Narrowly avoiding decapitation by falconry perch|
|It's a hill town|
When we finally exit the gate at midnight there is still a queue gathering to beg entry. Patiently the gate keepers ask their questions and allow them through when they make satisfactory responses.
We make our way back to Lucca wondering if Medieval life could really have been that much fun....