Friday, October 12, 2012

Siena

We were in Venice for three nights and then we moseyed on to Siena for five. We took the train from Venice to Florence, and then hopped a bus from Florence to Siena. I had heard that taking the train all the way takes longer and drops you off further from the city center.

When I say "city center" that means inside the old, medieval walls. Our apartment was just two blocks from the main square, Il Campo. We couldn't believe this apartment! Here is the kitchen.


This view is looking from the entrance to the living room and kitchen. The ceilings were like 15 feet tall and it was spotless.


We were right above the most famous pastry shop, Nannini. I would go downstairs to the pastry shop and get yummy nibbles to have with our morning coffee.


This is Il Campo. It's the main square of the city. Siena is a college town and students come to the square and just hang out. They sit or lay in the main open area. We sat at a table and had two beers. We had beers because this town is hilly! It's like running around Duluth or San Francisco. We were thirsty.


Here's a photo where I tried to show you how steep the streets are. The streets here were wider than Venice. They even parked cars! We were amazed at the tiny cars. It would be fun to get a tiny car like that here.


The story goes that Siena was established by Senius, son of Remus and nephew of Romulus, the twins suckled by the she wolf. You see this image all over Siena.


There was a big water fountain in Il Campo. These pigeons took full advantage!


I think these rings are still there from where you could tie up your horse. They are so old that over the years they have worn into the stone. Siena is known for it's "Palio", a horse race in Il Campo. There were photos and paintings of horses racing all over town.


We found a favorite meat shop. They had prosciutto, salami, cheese, wines, and olives. We stopped here a couple of times to get little bits of things to take to our apartment.


Restaurants are everywhere. Most restaurants don't open in the evening until 7:30 and then only Americans eat at that freakishly early hour. You can usually get a reservation if you go really early, like 7:30. Our favorite was Dino's. It was a tiny little place we stumbled into one evening when everything else was full. They are a small, family owned place and they make everything themselves. Half a liter of wine cost 3.50!


We visited the duomo - the main cathedral in the city. The exterior was magnificent.



And inside just took your breath away. All stripes! How cool is that?


Oh, here are the steps leading up to the duomo. We certainly got our hill legs.


Porcini mushrooms were in season! I never had a fresh porcini mushroom, that I recall. I started having them in food and then we started seeing them at the little markets. I bought a few here and there to cook in our apartment. They were about 5.00 for one mushroom, but it was worth it!


One evening we were hanging out by Il Campo and it started to rain. Here is Steve helping get the rain off the tarps.


Here's another way to find a restaurant. Just look for a table or two outside of a building. I loved these little places.


I'll leave you with this photo of me shopping in one of the leather shops. In my next post, I'll show you our trip to the Chianti wine country!


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