Results 1-8of 8 Reviews
Scotland, Scotland, United Kingdom
October 2, 2010
From journal TRAVELS IN TUSCANY
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
November 22, 2009
From journal Winter Tuscany
St. Augustine, Florida
November 19, 2009
From journal Day Trips to Cities Near Florence
Riverview, New Brunswick
May 2, 2004
Piazza del Campo is ringed with restaurants and obviously they are tourist traps and food quality can be at best, mediocre (and a beer can be 9 Euros, even I got sticker shock, particularly as a bottle of house Chianti was only 11 Euros). But of course, those restaurants are great places to sit in the sun and people-watch.
But you have really come here to see the Palazzo Pubblico and here you get two for one… a civic museum and the 14th century town hall. The museum itself, with its artifacts and art, was very nice, but it was the building that is a real treat. Inside, you will find a 15th century chapel with frescoes by Bartolo, a marble altar and beautifully carved and decorated choir stalls. There is a Consistoro, the seat of Sienese government. In the Sala de Mappamondo there is a grotesque painting of Herod’s slaughter of the Jewish children, which is an odd counterpoint to Simone Martini’s "La Maeste" on the wall which is dedicated to the Virgin. I particularly liked the first room… more recently decorated and illustrating the events of Italian unification… it was just wonderful.
On the museum side, my wife had commented that she was getting a little tired of all the Madonna and Childs that she had seen… the civic museum had a whole room of them, but apart from that kind of overkill, it was a great visit.
Normally the tower, the Torre del Mangia is open (and it certainly is a tall one) but unfortunately during our visit, it was closed for renovations. There are 505 steps… but what a view of the piazza below. Oh well, I bought the postcard.
From journal A Taste of Tuscany
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
March 23, 2002
Today the city is famous for its cobblestone streets of sienna-coloured gothic buildings and one of Italy’s most magnificent piazzas. Express buses take about an hour and you’ll need a day to explore.
Must-do: People watch in Piazza del Campo, star gaze in the Duomo and explore the back lanes and hilly streets for unforgettable views and hidden treasures.
A Diary Extract…
At the Florence market Karen was told off (again) for picking her own fruit. No touchy feely here, the stallholder picks for you. An hour later we were in Siena, first stop was the toilet.
Karen returned covered in water. Hers was a "long drop" and water had flooded the floor, courtesy of an overturned bucket. She was explaining her saturated state when a (dry) English woman emerged from the next cubicle,
"Mine was a sit-down," she said, evidently amused.
I thought that was pretty funny. Karen didn’t.
Siena has a huge fan-shaped square, divided into nine segments to reflect the Council of Nine and something to do with Madonna’s cloak (not the singing one). After exploring the hilly streets we bought small freshly baked pizzas from a café to compliment our market goodies and sat in the main square, the Piazza del Campo. It felt like a colosseum.
Pigeons preened themselves in fountains while others scrounged for scraps. I love pigeons, they are so polite. Coloured flags sailed over the crowds as harassed tour guides gathered their charges. Teenage girls posed, looking oh-so-chic while boys practiced for the World Cup. Soccer balls bounced everywhere. We never had day trips like this when I was a kid.
After lunch we were followed by two lost, camera laden, colour-coded tracksuit clad oriental tourists, detouring to return them to their flock. They bowed and took our picture. At Casa di Santa Caterina, beautiful chapels and cloisters surround the house of Siena’s patron saint, Saint Caterina. It’s a peaceful refuge, decorated with paintings depicting her life. I wonder how she’d feel about having her preserved 650 year-old head in the church of San Domenico. The Catholic Church does have a fascination for preserving body parts!
Washing flies from balconies rendered in sienna, gold and lemon, window frames and doorways painted shades of turquoise, lime and cerulean blue. Old men in black suits sit on kitchen chairs in the narrow streets. Smoking, talking, reading, just looking. The Duomo beckons, its ceiling a child’s dream of blue and gold stars, its floor a canvas of intricate inlaid marble. It’s beautiful beyond description.
We return late in the day for our special moment. We pick a spot away from the dwindling numbers, behind an enormous column. And we lay on the floor and look at that ceiling.
From journal TRAVELS IN TUSCANY - No Licence Required
by Go Girl!
Los Angeles, California
October 11, 2000
From journal Dreamy Tuscany
Vancouver, British Columbia
September 2, 2000
From journal Tuscany: A Lazier Pace of Life
Many practice races are held in the days leading up to the Palio. Siena itself comes alive with many outdoor parties, midnight revelries, and rowdy chants of parading youth, cheering for their contradas. This is not an activity concocted solely for tourists. This is as local as it gets. Different contradas are represented with different banners/animals. Choose your favorite, get adopted by the locals, and party along with them all through the night.