Sen-sational, that is!
There are very few regrets I have about my travels to Italy; I can count them on one hand. Second to my "big fail" of trying to consume Rome in under 2 full days was my 3 hour whirlwind spin in Siena.
There's so much great architecture and things to see, do and eat here, you're really doing a disservice to yourself if you try to jam-pack it into a "fly-by," like I did. Another reason the longer your stay in Italy... the better!
Two days. Preferably longer!
Getting To Siena:
We arrived to Siena by car from a 1/2 day trip to San Gimignano.
The Palio ~I first learned of Il Palio when reading Dario Castagno's book "Too Much Tuscan Sun" (as if there could ever be too much Tuscan sun!). Even though my post cards and emails to Dario go unanswered, I still consider Dario a friend because of our mutual love of Siena. Dario's details of the race certainly instilled in me an appreciation and love for the people of Siena... the passion they have for the race... and the detailed story behind the Palio's significance. What's twice as nice is that the race is actually held two times each year (Luglio y Agosto) so if you're in the area, you must have a look-see.
I was on an extreme high with our feet landing in Siena just hours from the famed annual horse race. The Sienese had already sanded the outer perimeter of the amazing Piazza del Campo (shown above), the venue for the much heated 10-horse race. Standing in the Texas-sized Piazza, I could understand why this piazza is embraced as "the heart of Siena."
Bleachers were at the ready and there was an energy in the air radiating from locals and visitor's alike. While we watched The Palio on TV from our stay in Monterosso (Liguria), we were treated to a unique view of the race's contrade, flags and fanfare via local televisione. Why not learn more about the Palio in Dario's book or in a "wiki click" here.
Treat yourself to a 360° view of the Piazza del Campo here and ingest a bit of a Piazza with a spirit as big as blue skies.
Il Duomo di Siena ~ Known as one of the finest examples of Italian Gothic architecture, this amazingly ornate church will surely take your breath away, as it did mine.
Built of marble starting in 1215 (check it, 1215!), safe inside there are sculptures crafted from Donatello, Pisano and Michelangelo.
Never before have I seen such an amazing site ~ a marble lion jetting out from the side of a seemingly mile-high structure. Think I'm joshing? Click on the foto at right. I doubt double stick tape and Super Glue make this a timeless treasure.
With time and rain sprinkles working against us, we sadly darted for our exit from this wonderful city without entering the Duomo. If you're lucky enough to have been inside, please drop us an email at ForTheLoveOfItaly@att.net and share your foto... "For The Love Of Italy!"
Pasticcerie Sinatti ~ The only thing sweeter than the hills and thrills of Siena is this pastry shop that prides itself on handmade delights that are sure to sugary please.
"Come Rain, Come Gain" ~ Fleeing lions, but not calories, we darted through the narrow streets of Siena making sure to stock-up on a variety of biscotti and other fingery fine delights. We made our way back to the car and followed the curvy Tuscan roadways back to our villa stay in S. Albino... where we ended the sweetest of days in the best of ways.
Want more Siena?
So do we! Enjoy a glass of wine, some Bocelli and see some stunning photos of Siena at our Flickr photo stream. You might just learn the significance of the wooden marbles (pictured up top).
Our Next Stop?
A week's stay in Liguria (again!)... My new post is coming soon!
Still There? ~ Get more of a great thing; Bookmark our new site at ForTheLoveOfItaly.com ~ Your online resource for Italy travel tips, inside stories and a chance to meet fellow Texans and native Italians who love Italy and Texas as much as you do!
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