Italy has certainly won our hearts. So much so that we’re already talking about coming back in a few years and doing a proper road trip and soak in all that it can offer.
Departing Croatia, a car ride, 2 ferries, 1 taxi, and 3 trains later we arrived in Siena somewhat exhausted. The greeting we received from our Airbnb host made us forget our exhaustion immediately. If this is what Italians are like then we are staying here forever 😉
They were absolutely shocked that we walked from the train station as they were going to pick us up but since we barely had any time between connections, I wasn’t able to get a sim card and contact them. Oh, and did I mention we went without wifi for close to 48 hours! The horror!
Paola, our lovely Airbnb host showed us around the house. They had a welcome basket full of pasta, pesto, biscotti, cookies, and much more along with a bottle of wine in our apartment! Seriously, we might just move in…
And that’s not where it stops, they brought us grocery shopping, walked around the store and helped us find everything. Our little apartment was very cozy and having a separate bedroom was a huge welcome after Stari Grad, even though we are getting used to being cooped up in close proximity to each other 😉
I can probably go on about our little Tuscan home which by the way was on a beautiful estate surrounded by olive trees. We were treated to some delicious fruits, vegetables, and eggs from the gardens. Communication was a bit tough due to language but it seemed as though the family has been living here for a long time. It was also nice for Kasm to have a playmate while we stayed there. Our host’s daughter along with her three kids live on the property as well.
But, let’s talk about Siena. This beautiful ancient Tuscan town was settled sometime between 900-400 BC. As you walk around the old town, you’ll notice a she-wolf suckling infants. This peaked our curiosity so naturally it had to be googled! Legend has it that Siena was founded by sons of Remus, Senius and AschiusSiena – nephews to Romulus which Rome is named after. Remus was murdered by Romulus and the boys fled Rome along with the statue and hence the symbol of Siena!
Siena is small and can easily be explored in a couple of days. We spent a week here which was just the perfect amount of time for us. Aside from a day trip to Arezzo, we spent our days wandering the city and soaking it all in. Oh, here’s something totally nerdy to mention – They have escalators leading from the train station to just outside of the old town. The town is on a hilltop so I salute the urban planners! It would have been one steep walk up to town 😉
We followed two great walks offered by Discover Tuscany, which took us a bit off the tourist path and showed us more of this beautiful town.
Enjoy some of the beauty Bruce photographed on our walks in Siena.
On our Sunday visit to Siena, we got a fabulous surprise! You may have heard of Palio of Siena. A bareback horse race that occurs in the Piazza del Campo (as seen in the Bond film Quantum of Solace). Guess what? This was the week before we arrived. Not sure if I’m sad or happy about missing it. As I’ve mentioned in some of my previous posts, I hate crowds but it would have been so cool to see this. Bruce and I decided, when we are old and rich, we’ll rent one of the apartments overlooking the Piazza del Campo during the race and come watch it 😉
Anyways, I’m getting a little off track here. The race is a contest between the 17 Siena Contrada.. Each is represented by a symbol which is an animal, mythical creature, architectural symbol or an icon taken from nature. As you walk around ancient streets of each Contrade you are sure to notice the beautiful symbols and the colorful flags that represent each one.
While walking around on Sunday, we heard drums and decided to investigate. The Panther Contrade was getting ready for a march. What a treat! Old and young were dressed in costumes and carrying flags and marching to the beat of drums. It was beautiful.
Now let’s talk food! I don’t think there is such thing as bad food here. We had lunch out twice in Siena, Ristorante Guido & L’Osteria and both were absolutely divine! Perhaps it’s a good thing our visit to Italy is short as I’m afraid how much weight I would put on eating delicious pasta followed by wine and let’s not forget the Gelato!
We finished the week with a day trip to Arezzo. It was a nice visit and we enjoyed the town even though Bruce was sick and most places were closed. The main square, which Bruce was hoping to take some decent shots, was under construction and also was being set up for a show. But we did have yet another delicious meal!
So do we recommend Siena? HECK YAH!! If there is one country you MUST visit in Europe, I would have to say it’s Italy.