A great Day Trip from Florence, SIENA is special!
SIENA is medieval for sure, but also reminds you of that one crayola crayon, you guessed it, Siena! It is definitely colorful, especially when the Tuscan sun is slowly setting and the buildings are aflame with that special crayon!
The center of Siena is pedestrian friendly and you are free to sit at a cafe’ on the main square. The ll Campo is the heart of this Tuscan town and the Palio di Siena, the famous horse race! This event is evident year round, with colorful flags, banners and wall plaques. However, to really enjoy this event, plan on visiting during the ll Palio occurring twice a year, July 2 and August 16. Ten horses and riders represent 17 neighborhoods (contrada’s) and bets are placed on which contrada will win!
SEE THE RACE VIA YOUTUBE HERE!
Part of the charm is to wander narrow streets and visit unusual shops. I found the best porcini dried mushrooms and local Vin Santo right in the main square – but then, that’s another story!
The Duomo is 13th century Gothic, with a six-story striped bell tower that you can climb. I loved the interior columns of the Duomo, which are striped, as well as the intricate marble inlays, Michelangelo statues and fantastic Bernini sculptures. In fact, this is where I really fell in love with Bernini!
The main drag for shopping is Via Banchi di Sopra and you can find easy-to-pack colorful scarves and flags that depict the symbols of Siena’s 17 different neighborhoods (such as a wolf, turtle and snail). A local sweet that is famous is panforte, a rich, chewy concoction of nuts, honey and candied fruits (even I as a fruitcake-hater, liked these).
Lastly, as with all the other towns in Italy, join the evening passeggiata, the evening stroll starts at 7 PM along the Via Banchi di Sopra -but you must do this with a gelato in your hand!!
Linda Schooley, Your Let’s Go! Gal