The sun was shining when we arrived in Siena. We parked the car in a paid lot and set off to explore the city. Our first stop was the Piazza Del Campo. This is one of the most famous squares in the world and home to the famous "corsa al palio" or horse race. The square is fan or shell shaped and the buildings surrounding the piazza are beautiful. The bell tower can be seen for miles when entering the city.There are many streets that converge on the piazza and each of them leads to shops and restaurants. Many of the shops were selling linens and beautifully painted ceramics.
From the Campo we headed to the Piazza del Duomo. I thought the cathedral was even more spectacular than the Duomo in Florence. The bands of black and white marble and the statues and mosaics outside were beautiful. The inside of the cathedral had stained glass windows, frescoes, beautiful sculptures, marquetry panelling on the choir stalls and 56 marble panels on the floor. They are restoring some of the panels, but in order to protect them from excessive wear they cover parts of the floor and you would have to visit many times to see all of them. There was also a room built to store the library of Pope Pius ll. The ceiling and walls were painted with scenes from his life and there were display cases containing 15th century psalters.
From Siena we took a drive northeast to a small town of San Gimignano. This is a UN World Heritage site and well known for the 14 stone towers, which some believe to be the precursors of modern skyscrapers. We fell in love with the place as soon as we saw it. San Gimignano was much busier than we had anticipated and it took a while to find parking. We climbed the winding streets to the Piazza della Cisterna. The well is still in the center of the square and you can imagine it would have been the hub of activity a few hundred years ago. There were many spots to take photos of the countryside and some of the cafes were perched on the side of the walls overlooking the valley
3 years ago