My Story of Siena, Italy
After a couple of days in Florence, we took the train to Siena. The trip took roughly one hour and a half and it was fairly pleasant. The train goes through the Tuscan countryside, giving a glimpse of vineyards, winding roads lined with tall trees that lead to old country villas, a beautiful sight.
TIP TIME: the train tickets can be bought online or from one of the machines at the train station. Some of them worked with card payment too and were, in general, quite user-friendly. If you choose to get an actual ticket, instead of a digital one, make sure you stamp it at one of the tiny stamp machines found in the station. Once stamped, the ticket is valid for the destination for up to 4 hours, or at least it used to be, a couple of years ago 🙂 .
A new place to explore
Arriving in Siena, we took the stairs up to the city perched on the top of the hill, with the train station at its feet. Luckily, there were escalators among them, so despite being long, the way to the top didn’t leave us breathless.
However, our accommodation was on the other side of the city, so we took a walk straight through to the old centre of Siena to get there. Which made for a great walk. Both wide and narrow cobbled streets, lined with old, quaint buildings led our way to the great plaza at the heart of it all – Piazza del Campo. This is the square you’ll mostly see on the internet (and at the top of this article), by far the most popular place in Siena. You’ll also find here, the Palazzo Pubblico, a 13th-century town hall that sports a big clock tower and houses the civic museum. But, as you’ve probably already got used to my ways of travelling, I did not visit this landmark, except for its impressive outside.
After reaching our accommodation and getting settled, well, let’s just say we weren’t in the mood for settling much and I, of course, was hungry. So, we went to a nearby restaurant, recommended by our hosts, which had traditional Italian cuisine, called Osteria da Gano, and where we enjoyed some well-deserved pasta.
Looking for the known, finding the unknown
After setting our stomachs at ease, we went right back to the city centre, this time, looking for the other most famous place in Siena – Piazza del Duomo – a square that houses the Dome of Siena, slightly smaller than the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore from Florence, but very similar in architecture otherwise. Besides the Duomo, I was fascinated by some rather modern sculptures on the opposite side of it. I’m not sure if it was a temporary exhibit or if they are always there, but I suggest you look for the sculptures of Alberto Inglesi.
Once we had enough of walking around Siena, and got hungry…again, we thankfully discovered a place that had porchetta. If you’ve missed My Story of Rome, Italy, in which I thoroughly praise this Italian god-sent food, you can have a looksy. This place in Siena was a sort of fast food, where you could get different types of sandwiches. Next to it and having the same owner, and old gentleman ready to please and feed customers, was a steakhouse where we had dinner the following day.
And speaking of the following day, we decided to go the unbeaten path and wander around (literally) the old fortified centre, looking for other interesting things to see. We ended up going way further than the train station, seeing a part of the “regular” Siena, instead of the old one. We went around the city and got caught in the rain while walking by the side of a road with no sidewalk… which, of course, made the day memorable. And again, the view was splendid. After all that walking, we finally settled for a coffee on the terrace of the hotel and enjoyed the view of the Tuscan country – and that was my favourite part.
In my next story, I’ll tell you all about Lucca and Pisa. To be continued…