Saturday morning we boarded a bus from Rome to Siena and a few hours later settled into our 3-star hotel for a five day stay. We happened to be perfectly situated steps from the old city center so we dropped our bags and walked out the front door to explore. In minutes we knew we were in the heart of Tuscany, walking the medieval city and it’s labyrinth of narrow, cobblestoned streets.
The old center is a maze of pre-renaissance brick buildings, stories high that can give you a bit of claustrophobia if it weren’t for the antique beauty around every corner. All of a sudden a view appears between buildings or over the red clay tiled roofs of the Tuscan countryside. Flower pots and brightly colored shutters adorn the crumbling buildings and at every corner brightly colored contrada flags are blowing proudly displaying the regional alliances of that neighborhood. Siena is famous for the Palio horse races that happen twice each summer when these contrada battle for supremacy and pride.
It all happens in the main Piazza del Campo, a beautiful fan shaped square in the center of the old city. You reach it after wondering an endless gauntlet of shops, everything from designer wear to wine, gift shops, cafes, restaurants, bakeries, delis, butcher shops…..anything you could want or imagine. Down a lane you’ll see a walkway that unassumingly opens up into the piazza. It’s the biggest piazza in Italy and regarded as the most beautiful medieval square in all of Europe. It is surrounded by some incredible architecture and a meeting place where people come to see and be seen while relaxing on the fishbone paved piazza.
For the next few days we just wondered the streets, gawking and people watching. Sunday was busy after the locals headed out to shop and eat after church, the atmosphere was intensified by a thick fog that had enveloped the city. Sounds were more amplified and everything seemed more surreal, the church bells were chiming and we felt like we were in a dream.
Below is another video of our first few days in Siena, just click on the photo. I’ve added a link (click here) to our Youtube page if you missed any of our other videos (note the arrow that scrolls threw to other videos). There are more photos in the Gallery; click on Photo Gallery-Uk and Europe- Italy-Siena. If you have any suggestions for the blog, photos or videos send us a note, good or bad, I’d love to know if I’m boring everyone or how to improve.