On Tuesday Bev and I took the bus to Siena and stayed the night. I think we’ve all seen the horse race, the Palio, that occurs in the Piazza del Campo twice a year, July 2nd and August 16th. The mind boggles just thinking about it. Horses racing on the smooth cobblestones around a very tight sort of circle. Some people we met were telling us about how different areas compete before hand so their horses can race. Only a few are selected.
I found the piazza bare and stark. The heat was very intense without any shade. The surrounding buildings are very beautiful and for some reason none of them have balconies So there is no relief from the flatness.
The Gothic Duomo was awesome with its white, green and red marble facade with striped black and white pillars inside, together with oodles of paintings. One of the most extraordinary aspects of this church is its huge floor panels of inlaid marble illustrating various biblical stories. One was particularly disturbing. I saw lots of little babies lying on the ground seemingly asleep. On further inspection I realised it was the story of Herod.
The shelter for pilgrims
built in the 13th century was vast with huge vivid 15th century frescoes. The basement was particularly eerie. I discovered what I thought was a small chapel dedicated to St Catherine and what looked like her tomb but I coudln’t find out much about it.
We did enjoy the shops though with shoes and bags comprising different leather work. At one stage we stumbled across a music school which had a multimedia display of musicians accompanied by glorious music. On further investigation we found a digital concert hall.
The cafes were filled with unusual sweet goodies especially Nanninis. Two incredible coincidences occurred here. I was sitting a a table while Bev was sussing out the food when I heard raucous laughter. Here she was kissing and hugging this strange man!! Turns out they were family friends from long ago who were in Treviso for a christening.
To cap that off, sitting at the table next to us were an Australian couple from Melbouorne who knew Annie and Robin, the two women running the course Ian was doing and had popped in to the studio a few days earlier. They were staying at the same B & B
We did have plans to visit San Gimignano on the way back but didn’t quite make it.
Driving through the countryside was was gorgeous but there are just as many trucks on their motorway as ours.
Arriving home earlier than expected I used my Uffizi Friends‘ card, got straight in and went to find the Caravaggios which I had missed on our earlier visit. I was disappointed to realise there are only two. Medusa on a shield and a painting of Bacchus. However I did find Leonardo da Vinci’s unfinished Adoration of the Magi which has just been restored. Two other well known paintings of his were also on display.
So that was a bit of a treat.
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