Monday, November 12, 2012

You'll Find Me in Siena

As you may recall, a couple of weeks ago I was supposed to visit Siena as part of a day trip to both there and San Gimignano with Bus2Alps. But I worked until 4 am the night before and woke up to a clock that said I had missed the bus departure by 45 minutes, therefore meaning that I had missed the Siena part of the tour.

I got the chance to redeem myself when my a visiting friend was up to our own day trip there. So on his last day in Florence, we bought roundtrip bus tickets to Siena and made an excursion out of it.

I did a little bit of research on Siena before we arrived, but I kind of slacked on my tour guiding skills and it took us a bit of time to find where the actual city centre was. When we did find it, it was worth the half hour of wandering.

We first arrived here, in Piazza del Campo. It's the most famous square in Siena and is where the famous Palio is held twice a year. The large building that dominates the square is the town hall.

After hanging out in Palazzo del Campo for a bit, we wandered to another famous spot in Siena-- the Siena Cathedral. I was amazed -- it reminded me of the cathedral in Florence, but was so much cleaner and a bit more ornate. It looked like absolute perfection against the cloudless blue sky that day.

While staring at the cathedral, I checked out our map and noticed that there was a small symbol that marked a nearby escalator. It didn't say where it brought you to, but we wandered over to it and took it all the way down. We found a small garden and steps that brought us to some gorgeous views of the city.

Making it to the top of the steps

We admired the view for a bit, then eventually made our way back to the main road in the historic center and stopped at Morbidi to pick up some food. If you ever make it to Siena, I highly recommend going here. Everything in their fresh food section looked fresh and delicious, and it was hard to pick just a few things to eat. 

We ultimately settled on little cracker squares filled with shrimp and tuna salad, raviolis filled with cheese and spinach, stuffed tomatos and stuffed zucchinis. We brought our goods back to the main square to eat and enjoy the view.

Our last stop of the day was at a small bar that overlooked the main square. It was the perfect place to grab a glass of wine and watch the sun starting to set over Siena. 

The historic city center of Siena has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, so if you go to visit, be prepared to see a lot of beauty just by walking around. We didn't enter any historic spots that cost money, but we didn't really feel that we needed to... the city is pretty enough on its own. 

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