Day 11: Siena

I love Siena! Our villa is in the countryside near Siena — about a half-hour ride by bus. It’s a typically hilly Tuscan city but it has the most amazing square: the Piazza del Campo. When I walked around the corner and caught the first sight of it, I said out loud, “We have a winner!” I think it might be even better than St. Mark’s Square in Venice, but it’s been awhile since I saw that one, so I guess we’ll see.

So the square is amazing and the duomo is beautiful and the shopping is great and there are dozens of tiny alleyways — all scenic and wonderful. We toured the duomo and learned about the city’s history. The city is divided into 17 neighborhoods, each with their own colors and name — and when you’re born into the neighborhood you’re an owl or a giraffe or a unicorn for life. Some neighborhoods dislike other neighborhoods, so if you meet and fall in love with the wrong person, it’s a real Romeo and Juliet scene. They take this very seriously. I love this!

I also love that they do a horse race twice a year in the Piazza del Campo, with each neighborhood sponsoring a horse and rider. It’s a big deal. We saw a video, and I loved it. I probably wouldn’t love being there for real, because the crowd would kill me off. Too crowded! But it seems like a lot of fun.

Anyway, we toured the duomo and then I walked to a nearby art museum in which I had to give up my driver’s license and stash all my belongings in a little locker. I was pretty much the only visitor in the whole museum. It was nice, but small. I especially liked the view of the city from second floor (the view of the actual city, not the historic square — see at left) and the drawings that had apparently been made as sketches for huge murals. Those were beautiful.

After the museum, I shopped. And then I had a gelato that has to be the best gelato in all of Italy. And then I shopped some more. I will not say what I purchased, but just that I definitely boosted the economy of Siena.

While we were waiting for the group to gather, we amused ourselves by watching the pigeons getting a drink from the mouth of a wolf — part of a fountain in the piazza. I am easily entertained.

And now we’re back at the beautiful Villa Vecchi and I have Internet — a happy moment!

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