Siena Journals

Enchanting Siena

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A November 1999 trip to Siena by travel2000

Nannini Photo, Siena, Italy More Photos
Quote: Simly enchanting...we had three Italian friends take us through this medieval town. We spent one whole day exploring the narrow streets and marveling at all the wonderful sights.

Enchanting Siena

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Overview

siena Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
duomo....yes, especially the interior, oh...very impressive. This town is very picturesque, after walking through it, you will realize that everything you see is a highlight!Quick Tips: Train is not a good way to get there. There are some buses, but make sure you take the right ones. Some friends of ours got off at the wrong stop and even worse, headed in the wrong direction. It is best to ask the Tourist office in Firenze (or wherever you come from) for specific instructions. This is one town where driving may be the best way, although parking can be frustrating during peak seasons.Best Way To Get Around: Walking, that's the only way to see the town. It is not a big town and it's tr...Read More

Nannini

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Restaurant

Nannini Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
These are famous cafes/pastry shops in Siena, owned by the family since way back when. Even their children are famous, one a singer and the other a race car driver. Stop by for coffee and cake and don't forget to buy the Panforte, Sienese sweet that is chewy and is made with honey and nuts and spices. At some branches, there is also gelati.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

Nannini
All over Siena
Siena, Italy

La Taverna del Capitano

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Restaurant

Quote:
This is an old tavern with tight tables and filled with locals. We stumbled upon this place with hungry stomachs and were enticed by the traditional entrance. The food was good although the pasta was a bit too al dente (even our Italian friends agreed) I had bucatini (spaghetti with a hole in the middle) and boar ragu. The sauce was good and hearty. We also had an array of antipasti and some desserts. I recently went back for a second visit this Spring and found the food to be much better. The menu is still deep in Tuscan tradition. This osteria is also a member of the "Slow Food"...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 3, 2000

La Taverna del Capitano
Via del Capitano, 6/8
Siena, Italy 53100
+39 0577288094

Osteria della Chiacchiera

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Restaurant | "Osteria La Chiacchera"

Quote:
The name of this osteria literally means "chatterbox." It is in a small space with basic tables and décor. The main reason to come here is the good food (my friend who brought me there told me the food is often called peasants’ food because of the simple ingredients used.) We tried the pici (hand-rolled pasta strands typical of the region) with tomota and mushroom sauce and the penne arrabbiata, which means angry. It is actually in a spicy tomato sauce, full of "fire." Secondo dishes include sausage and beans and boiled meat and potatoes with tomato sauce. This is an excellent place to have a traditional Sienese meal at very low prices. They don’t charge cover or service , the norm at most re...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 17, 2002

Osteria della Chiacchiera
Via Costa S. Antonio, 4
Siena, Italy 53100
+39 0577280631

Antica Osteria da Divo

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Restaurant

Quote:
This is located in an Etruscan archeological site. Sit in the back rooms or basement, which are in actual Etruscan tombs. Although it feels like being in a cave or stone vault, we didn’t feel claustophobic at all. This is used to be a more low-key (read lower priced) trattoria, but now there is jazz music and a stronger, more interesting menu. The food here is now very good and a nice break from the heavier tradition Tuscan fare. The menu still has Sienese flavour. Try the Pici with hare ragu (al lepre.) Pici is a hand-rolled pasta that are long thick strands, very typical of the area. The duck breast is very good. But the main highlight for me was the dining atmosphere. How often can you dine i...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 16, 2002

Antica Osteria da Divo
Via Franciosa 29
Siena, Italy
0577-284381

Enoteca Italiana

Restaurant

Quote:
This wine bar has an excellent cellar, which also serves as Italy’s museo del vino. You can choose from wines all over Italy and sample by the bottle or glass. Have a light snack and relax in this wonderful space located in a Medici fortress. It is located close to the church of San Domenico and there are many locals. The good thing about this enoteca is that it is open till late. I believe it doesn’t close until 1am. In the winter time, there is also a piano bar on Friday nights. Although Siena is a quiet place after dark, you can come here for a night cap after a long day of touring. It comes alive in the evenings. You can also buy the wine you enjoyed tasting. Prices are very reasonable and i...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on May 16, 2002

Enoteca Italiana
Fortezza Medicea, Viale Maccari
Siena, Italy
0577-288497

San Domenico Church

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Attraction

San Domenico Church Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
g?Tthe church honoring the patron saint of Italy, St Catherine. It's a brick church, it's huge and it's very simple. Especially macabre is the saint's preserved head in a glass box (looked real to me) and her finger in another glass box. This was our first stop into Siena. It's at the top of the hill, so be sure to take your photos at the top of the stairs next to the church.

Hours: Apr-Oct 7am-12:55pm and 3-6:30pm; Nov-Mar 9am-12:55pm and 3-6pm

Free admission

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

San Domenico Church
San Domenico
Siena, Italy

Piazza del Campo

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Attraction

Quote:
This is where the annual Palio takes place-you may have seen clips on TV of this famous horse race. This square is in the shape of a fan, and actually slopes down towards the Bell Tower. My friends told us how involved the people are about the Palio and how the rivalries from centuries past between dominant families still exist. If you marry into a different family, you would not be allowed to speak or be seen with your spouse on the day of the race. Yes, this still happens in this day and age! Be sure to notice that the paving of the piazza is divided into 9 sections, each representing the government of the Nin Good Men from the 13th century.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

Piazza del Campo

Siena, Tuscany 53100

Palazzo Publico

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Attraction | "Palazzo Pubblico"

Quote:
This is the town hall. There are some famous frescoes in the Museum, but the main attraction is the Bell Tower (Torre del Mangia.) It may not look that tall, but when you climb those steep stone stairs, be careful to keep looking up and not down. There were some tense moments, especially if you are scared of heights. But once you reach the top, you will be rewarded with a marvelous view of Siena and the Piazza below. Simply enchanting! Palazzo Pubblico Tel: 0577-292226 Admission: EUR6.20 to the Museo Civico; EUR9.30 combination ticket with Torre del Mangia. Torre del Mangia Hours: M-F: Jan 6 to Feb, Nov to Dec 24: 10am to 3:30pm Mar, May to Jun, Sep, and Dec 27 ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

Palazzo Publico
Piazza del Campo
Siena, Italy

Siena Cathedral/Duomo di Siena

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Attraction | "Duomo"

Siena Cathedral/Duomo di Siena Photo, Siena, Italy
Quote:
Wow, where should I begin. This is one fine Gothic cathedral. The facade is combination of marble and painting, but the interior is where you should spend the majority of your time. Simply put, I found it the most enthralling interior of the cathedrals I have seen in Italy. The black and white motif is represented in the marble inlaids and pillars, there are works from a zillion artists, there are biblical scenes, symbols, you name it, you can find it. There are different coin machines to deposit money to light up parts of the cathedral. Either wait for someone to do it, or spend the money-the light really helps. Plan to spend at least half an hour inside. There is a bookstore with a ton of postcards ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 2, 2000

Siena Cathedral/Duomo di Siena
Piazza Del Duomo
Siena, Italy 53100

Quote:
Head south east of Piazza del Campo to the beautiful Chiesa di Santa Maria del Servi and admire the panoranic view of the city. From here, you can identify the monuments of the city. The Duomo and the Palazzo Pubblico stand out in the skyline.

The church itself is huge, from the 13th century. The masterpiece housed in the church is the "Madonna del Bordone" by Coppo di Marcovaldo. Other chapels inside the church has frescoes and other paintings from the baroque to renaissance periods (Matteo di Giovanni’s "Massacre of the Innocents.")

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 16, 2002

Chiesa di Santa Maria del Servi
Piazza A. Manzoni
Siena, Italy

Santa Maria Della Scala

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Attraction | "Lo Spedale di Santa Maria della Scala"

Quote:
Located in front of the Duomo, this former hospital is one of the famous symbols of Siena. It was founded around the year 1000 to care for babies, the poor, and travellers. In the 1990’s, it was converted into a museum and exhibition space. In addition to the splendid original frescoes and architecture, it also holds the city’s archaeological collections. Some of the beautiful frescoes you will see includes the "Meeting at Porta Andrea" by Domenico Beccafumi, located close to the entrance and ticket booth. In the Sala del Pellegrinaio, there are fresco scenes depicting the history of the hospital. This room actually had hospital beds in it until just a few years ago. You exit the hos...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2002

Santa Maria Della Scala
Piazza Duomo
Siena, Tuscany, Italy 53100
+39 0577224828

Palazzo Chigi Saracini

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Attraction | "Palazzo Chigi-Saracini"

Quote:
This is one of the most famous noble palaces in the city. The palace has a gothic façade, and is one of the most beautiful buildings in Siena. The palace is actually situated on a curve of the street which it gracefully hugs the curve. At one time, it was the seat of the Consiglio dei Reggitori della Repubblica Senese and today it houses the prestigious Accademia Musicale Chigiana, founded in 1932 by the Count Guido Chigi-Saracini. There is a treasured and interesting collection of art kept here, called the Collezione Chigi Saracini. It includes paintings from the 13th to the 17th century as well as antiques and other collectibles. You can only view this by appointment. Call tel. 0577...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2002

Palazzo Chigi Saracini
Via di Città, 89
Siena, Italy 53100

Casa di Santa Caterina

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Attraction

Quote:
The story of St Caterina is fascinating. She is the patron saint of Italy and her head and finger is well preserved at the San Domenico Church. This is the house where she was born in 1355, to a rich Sienese family. She became a nun at the young age of 8 and soon became well-known for her devotion to God and her good deeds. She was paramount in returning the papal seat from Avignon to Rome. This rooms of this house is now a chapel and contains various frescoes by Sienese artists. This is located on Costa di San Antonio, between Via della Sapienza and Via Santa Caterina. Open from Easter to October every day, 9am-12:30pm and 2:30-6pm. In the winter months daily 9am-12:30pm a...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 17, 2002

Casa di Santa Caterina
Costa di San Antonio
Siena, Italy

The Passeggiata

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Story/Tip

Quote:
"Facciamo una passeggiata!" means "Let’s go for a walk!" in Italian. But in Italy, these words mean more than the occasional stroll or walk in the park. Every late afternoon, around 4 or 5pm when the stores re-open, Italians have the tradition of walking along the busy streets of their city or town. You see themcome out after the silence of the lunch hour. They walk arm in arm, elderly mother and daughter, young families, teenage friends, old friends, all dressed up for their daily passeggiata. You will soon notice the same people strolling up and down the same streets, because the object is to be outdoors, to chat, to window shop and run into friends. In Siena, one of the oldest and prettiest s...Read More

Shopping in Siena

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Story/Tip

Quote:
What to bring home Siena is famous for its ceramics and embroidery. Famous Sienese sweets include the panforte (a dense sweet cake made with honey, nuts and spices), castagnaccio (a torte made with chestnut flour and pine nuts and rosemary, only made in the fall and winter months), and cavallucci (spiced cookies.) Local products include anything made with cinghiale (boar), olive oil, farro, and porcini mushrooms. Remember to check your country’s customs rules before bringing any food products home. Food-wise, don’t miss:: La Fattoria Toscana, Via di Citta 51 Offers a good choice of local products in an elegant setting. Choose from aromatic vinegars, special oi...Read More

Le "Crete" Sienese

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Story/Tip

Quote:
South of Siena is an area of beautiful changing landscape specific to this location. It is an unique environment and in some places, it even resembles a lunar landscape. No matter which direction you reach it from, you will realize right away when you have entered the "Crete." That is because you will notice the unique change in landscape. The earth takes on a brownish, dark orange hue, sometimes even purple or goldish hues. The reason for these colors is the composition of clay here. The clay rocks were brought here by the sea water in ancient times and is the reason for the rolling landscape. The change in color is more noticeable at sunset or sunrise, when the sun casts its strong...Read More

Slow Food

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Story/Tip

Quote:
In an effort to preserve traditional food and wine manufacturing methods and to counter the fast spread of fast food, Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement in Italy. It has since grown into a worldwide company, with magazines, food and wine guidebooks for Italy, and lectures and an informative website. When looking for a place to eat, I have learnt to look for the snail logo on the stickers restaurants put on their entrance windows. This shows that the restaurant uses meat and vegetables produced by local farmers who adhere to traditional methods as well as produce such as cheeses or oils in danger of extinction. The guidebooks to Italian Osterie and Wines are only in Italian, b...Read More