Yesterday we went on a day trip to Siena. Like a lot of the cities near Florence, Siena was a growing, thriving city, neck-and-neck with Florence, until the Black Plague stopped by and decimated the population. Florence somehow escaped/pulled through, and became the reigning leader of Tuscany, while other cities like Pisa, Lucca, and Siena were under their control.
Siena is the first town we’ve been to with hills. And I mean HILLS. We ate at an osteria situated on a huge slope, and our chairs and the tables had their legs cut to accommodate.
Everything we saw we allowed ourselves to get sidetracked by. We took pictures and were in complete awe of this city on a hill. On accident we found the San Domenico church, which was not very interesting except for the scaffolding taking up half of the freezing interior. Oh, and the mummified head and thumb of the saint of Siena, St. Catherine.
We hiked up a hill to get to Siena’s Duomo, which is massive and covered in stripes and filled with works of art by masters such as Michelangelo and Donatello. It’s floor is covered in panels of art, which were worked on for almost two centuries. Normally they are covered up so they aren’t harmed, but some are always uncovered so visitors and see them.
After the Duomo we went to the Piazza del Campo, a sloped semi-circle public square that holds a bareback Palio horse race twice a year. Also on the piazza is the Palazzo Pubblico, the medieval town hall turned art museum. We got gelato and sunned on the square for some time, watching the tourists and locals walk by.
Siena is such a small town that we had already hit all of the main spots! We walked down Via Banchi di Sopra, Siena’s main passeggiata street, and made our way back to the train station to head home.
For once we were able to see and do everything at the pace we wanted, and still have time to sit and relax! There’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than to explore the country you live in.