Sunday, September 20, 2009

SIENA - Florence's Rival

One of Italy's best medieval cities

Just South of Florence, Siena was Florence's archrival and a medieval powerhouse. Florence eventually came out on top and now boasts many of the famous landmarks and art pieces. However, Siena has arguably the best town square in Italy (right), little auto traffic to clutter the tall, narrow streets (left) and an easy-going feel that won us over during our visit.

Tom, Ryan, Corey, Beth, Kelley, Katie and I took the train on Saturday (9/19), passing the walled cities, villas and farms dotting the Tuscan countryside on the way to Siena. Siena is a walled city sitting atop a hill, so it was a little walk to get to the city center. Once inside, we wandered the narrow streets and I felt like was in a different time. After getting lost in the weave of alleyways, we emerged into Il Campo.

Il Campo, home of the Palio horseraces, is the focal point of the city that is dominated by City Hall & the Torre del Mangia (right). We decided to grab a bite to eat taking in the sights from a ristorante nearby the Fonte Gaia (Fountain of Joy) named Bar Il Palio (left). After lunch, we grabbed gelato (of course) and nearly crashed a wedding that happened at city hall (Beth was very excited). The rest of the day was spent exploring the city's streets, checking out Siena's Duomo (below) and see views overlooking the city and surrounding area. Siena - WIN. See the facebook album for more pictures...

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