Another Day Out in Tuscany - Siena
Aug 09, 1995
Aug 17, 1995
On this trip to Italy, we always missed Florence when we ventured outside for a few hours and longed to return, so we did return to Florence in the early afternoon, had a gelato for lunch, and headed to the Ponte Vecchio, where on via Por Santa Maria we again stopped into Ugo Puccini, the jewelry store where we spent quite a bit the summer before. He remembered us and is a very charming man, whose English never improves, but with all that charm, grace, and sweetness, who cares. We had dinner at La Sagrestia again near the Pitti Palace. We walked back on the Oltrarno side along the river, crossed the ala Carraia Bridge and back to the hotel, where I dropped Wendy off, and like the gelato freak I was that summer, went out for some more at the corner of Piazza Santa Maria Novella. I loved straciatello, choc chip. In my journal that day, my last entry was, "I Love Florence" !!!! Truly.
I have been to Siena three times in my life, and despite the rave reviews people give it, I was never thrilled. Don't me wrong, I like the city very much, but on my list of Tuscan places to visit, it has never been in my top ten. Nonetheless, back then I longed to go, and this was the day. We had a normal breakfast at the hotel and then walked to the SITA Bus Station which is a 5 minute walk from Croce di Malta, towards the train station. We caught a bus to Siena that took us passed Monteriggioni, a wonderful small, walled town which I was fortunate to visit twice in the future, and San Gimignano, the Manhattan of Tuscany, known for tall Medieval towers, which I visited as well twice again in the future. Siena is a fine town with steep streets, centuries old, and views that are splendid. We had a wonderful time going hither and thou, the famous Campo, where the Palio was about to occur and was set up for that with spectator stands. The Cathedral which is truly magnificent, and the Pinocotecca, picture gallery, for some great Sienese art. So what don't I like about it, you may ask ? First of all it is too big for a hill town. I like my hill towns smaller, like Montalcino, Montepulciano, Pienza. Second, even though the views are amazing to the countryside, the town is so big, that you have to find a wall to see over it, not like the towns I indicated, or even smaller towns like Civita di Bagnoregio and Monteriggioni. Lucca is a large town, as is Arrezo, Perugia and Orvieto (the latter two Umbrian towns) for some reason, I prefer them. Speaking of Umbria, I also love Todi, Spello, Spoleto, and Assisi, so yes Siena is down the list.