A June 2000 trip
to Siena by Grasshopper
Quote: While I often struggle with where I will live when I make my one year sojourn to Italia, Siena is certainly high on the list of choices. The "citta" is small enough to feel small but it large enough to offer a year's worth of things to explore.
Reservations can be made online.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 19, 2002
Hotel Santa Caterina
Via Enea Silvio Piccolomini
Our first experience with Fuori Porta was when we blew into Siena in the middle of a thunderstorm. It was late on a Sunday afternoon and we were starving. The owner of our hotel recommended a place "about 100 meters down the road". So we ran through the rain the 100 meters and sloshed into the trattoria.
Paolo greeted us with a huge smile. He took us to a table by the window and brought us wine. Noticing our plight, he took my friend in the back and used a blow dryer to dry her off and make her more comfortable. Then he took away our menus and bade us to trust him. It was one of those risks... but a risk that this time paid off big time.
The antipasti course was a fabulous plate of regional specialties; tuscan beans, a tuna preparation that was amazing and grilled vegetables from the area. From there it just kept getting better. The food kept coming and Paolo put bottle after bottle of wine on the table, encouraging us to try different wines. From time to time he sat and drank with us, he speaking no English but trying to understand our fledgling Italian. The last course, when we thought we couldn't tolerate another bite or surely we would burst, was the most fabulous tiramisu ever tasted (and we've tried to taste them all!) Then Paolo sat with us (not sure how it happened but all the other guests were gone) and we sampled grappa and lemoncello.
We visited Fuori Porto twice that year. The second visit Paolo took our picture and we took his.
Three years later, we spent a blistering hot day in Siena. We trudged across the town and down to Fuori Porto hoping to have lunch. It was at least 100 degrees and we wilted into chairs by a window with a Tuscan breeze. An older gentleman brought us menus and we asked for wine. After a few minutes Paolo walked through the room. He looked at us and did a double take. Then he raised one finger, as if to say "uno momento" and disappeared. When he returned he brought a photo album and leafed through until he found our picture! Again, he took the menu away and we knew we were in for another culinary delight.
Via Enea Silvio Piccolomini
We took a SITA bus, which took a little over an hour, with one bus change at PoggiBonsi. The bus let us off at the front gate and directly to the right is a fantastic view down the hillside across the Tuscan countryside.
Once inside the walls the tiny cobblestone main street (no cars) traverses the town and is lined with shops and restaurants. In the center of the town is a large piazza with a wishing well. There is where the Duomo (everpresent in a Tuscan village) steps go up on the left.
San G. is a great place to load up on Italian pottery and interesting picnic and meal supplies; pastas, boar sausage, and local wines. And don't forget to stop and sample the gelato.
San G. can be seen in the 1999 movie, "Tea with Mussolini".