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Day trip to Siena

Siena Travel Blog

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Bird's eye view of the Piazza del Campo

Another day, another day trip!

Whenever I choose a place to visit, the first thing I look for is "day trips", and Firenze has plenty of that. Infact, visiting places like Siena and Pisa are almost a given if you're visiting Firenze. Siena is well connected to Firenze both by train and by bus. I opted for the bus. It takes about an hour, not the most scenic of routes and I actually ended up sleeping on the bus anyway. The irony of Siena being a "Firenze trip" attraction is that city was, at one time, Firenze's rival. Firenze "won" which basically hampered the town's growth and is today considered one of Tuscany's best medieval cities. Whilst I associate Firenze as this Renaissance town with tons of museums and art galleries, Siena is a far cry - it's well, a clay coloured walled city surrounded by hills and very Gothic, dare I say it.

Piazza del Campo

The main bus stop at Siena is far too touristy. And over crowded. You have a line of stores and coffee shops there. I was a bit peckish so I went into one, I had to wait an eternity to get to the head of the queue, and what also irked me about this place is that they know tourists will come so why bother keeping the tables clean. I had a sandwich and a coffee, and the most amusing thing was watching Italian men in business suits and suitcases having alcohol early in the morning. The place seemed rather touristy and got me thinking if I made a mistake coming here.., but follow the signs, walk towards where everyone is walking, and the city starts to unfold...

It's very narrow. And cobbled. I thought of so many walled towns I'd been to in England, and then the cobbled stuff was so European (and not British per se, if you get my drift), reminded me of the Loire Valley from last autumn.

The fountain at Piazza del Campo - Fonte Gaia
I kept noticing the amount of Romulus and Remus statues along the way to the central Piazza, Piazza del Campo.

The Piazza is a wide open space. I didn't appreciate it when I saw it - maybe it was too crowded? or too sunny? or both?! But I sit writing this blog a good month later and I can now appreciate both the enormity and how well structured it is. It has cleverly been designed in the shape of a shell. On one end of this famed place is the fountain, the Fonte Gaia affectionately referred to by the locals as the Fountain Of Joy. I found it more the Fountain of Crowds and had to wait forever to get a picture. Anyway after shooting pictures here, it was about a 5 minute walk to the Duomo.

The Piazza del Duomo is southwest of the main Piazza del Campo and is one of the most interesting ones I've seen.

Torre del Mangia @ Piazza del Campo
It's got coloured bands of marble and sort of criss crosses between Romanesque and Gothic styles in the early 12th century. And if you thought this was good enough, the interior is zebra like - black, white, black, white, with tons of paintings on the floor, once again of Romulus and Remus and other biblical art. This was a highlight for me as it's one of the few Duomos I've seen the world where all dimensions are equally interesting unlike others where I'm just constantly looking "up". The pulpit is octagonally shaped, and has images such as the slaughter of the innocents and the Crucifixion. This Duomo also supposedly contains the hand that John the Baptist used to christen Jesus Christ. True or not, we'll never know. I was really happy visiting this place, it didn't look like the inside would be that filled with treasure as originally thought.
And that Dome itself... hues of majestic prussian blue and gold shaped stars leading up to the top, it was almost magical. I also loved how each pillar ended with a Saint's head. This really is a very intelligently crafted and today (19th July), I can appreciate what a wonderful learning experience this was.

Anyway from here, it was back to the wonderful Piazza, and the Torre del Mangia. The biggest problem with this place is that they allow only a certain # of people in, and you have to wait by the tower for the "previous batch" to get out which takes around 45 minutes. Plus they don't have a time board that says when the next set of people will be allowed. Anyway, I waited and waited, and finally got in. Of all the towers I've been to, I think this was one of the most challenging ones.

Random shot on the streets
I'm surprised I got up high that early. Once above, the views were fabulous. The breeze was excellent and I think what I liked most about this place was the combo of both the tiled roofs and clay coloured buildings right next to the wonderful lush green of the Tuscan countryside. Thankfully only the photog enthusiasts got up this high so had lots of people offering to take my pics (God bless tourists!)

Anyway treated myself to a chocolate gelato and headed back to the bus stop around 3pm. I liked this town. I have to be honest - my first impression of the place was a bit meh, but looking at the pictures,  I can say it's grown on me faster than herpes on Paris Hilton!

 

dyron_888 says:
I love the blog :)
Posted on: Feb 04, 2013
troysgonewalkabout says:
Ouch, what a way to finish an entry!
Posted on: Oct 03, 2012
montecarlostar says:
I wanted to go there but I didn't have the chance. I will have to include it next time I am in italy!
Posted on: Jul 23, 2010
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Birds eye view of the Piazza del …
Bird's eye view of the Piazza del…
Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo
The fountain at Piazza del Campo -…
The fountain at Piazza del Campo …
Torre del Mangia @ Piazza del Campo
Torre del Mangia @ Piazza del Campo
Random shot on the streets
Random shot on the streets
Random shot on the streets
Random shot on the streets
The Duomo
The Duomo
Inside the Duomo
Inside the Duomo
Painting of the legendary she-wolf…
Painting of the legendary she-wol…
More portraits on the floor
More portraits on the floor
Pano view of the town from Torre d…
Pano view of the town from Torre …
Pano view of the town from Torre d…
Pano view of the town from Torre …
Pano view of the town from Torre d…
Pano view of the town from Torre …
Pano view of the town from Torre d…
Pano view of the town from Torre …
Pano view of the town from Torre d…
Pano view of the town from Torre …
View of Piazza del Campo
View of Piazza del Campo
View down from Torre del Mangia
View down from Torre del Mangia
Gelato on a sunny day
Gelato on a sunny day
Romolus and Remus
Romolus and Remus
Another shot of the town
Another shot of the town
Siena
photo by: Pearl510