Home of Pope Pius II
Our last day! I will miss Siena. It has a friendly feel, and the narrow streets and buildings make it a people-intensive place – cars, motor bikes, trucks and people weaving in and out of each other’s way. Unfortunately, it is polluted because the high, contiguous structures keep the exhaust in your face.
Today, we started with a talk by “Professor Mario”, our first local expert. He explained the development of political life at the height of Siena’s power – before and during the first part of the Medici
power. He concluded by saying that everyone in Siena remembers the date when Siena won an overwhelming victory over the Medici army, but no one refers to the final great loss a few decades later.
He then took us for a walking tour of political sites. He pointed out various aspects of the contradas as we passed them – I had not even seen the eagle statue across the street and in a small square the panther – both symbols of different contradas. The contradas function as a social service in some ways, for example, setting up child care.
On Il Campo he reviewed some of the history and
The popularity of Siena Cathedrsl
A dominating building, even though it did not achieve its perfection
pointed out the large crest of the Medicis on the face of the large City Hall – the significance of which had previously escaped me. He also drew our attention to all the large banks and to the large palace of Pius II
, a busy pope in a short reign. Then, we were free until lunch time.
A lot of others were going to a fish restaurant for a big special lunch. Since I have lots of holiday remaining, I didn’t feel like spending well over fifty Euros for any kind of lunch. I walked back towards the Duomo Baptistery, where I had noticed a small shop with kitchen utensils. There I bought two olive wood “spatule” and an olive wooden spoon for Ruth for her birthday, completed by a Tuscan cookbook recommended by Barbara.
The tour lunch was at Spadaforte
, where we had eaten before and which was mediocre. Only Tom and Michele and I attended. The food was better this time: a fresh mixed salad with lots of delicious tomatoes, roast pork thick-cut (thin is better) with roast potatoes, and a pear. I enjoyed it but Tom didn’t because he found the meat too crusty and his
pear was almost rock-hard.
I came back to the hotel, because this was laundry day (after a nap). Everything but socks went into the suitcase, except a carefully selected set of clothes to walk in, of course! The automatic laundry was down near Spadaforte. For washing you put your clothes in a numbered washer, and at a wall mounted panel you put in 3 Euros in coins (the bill changer worked) and press the number of your washer. Laundry soap is available in an automatic dispenser for 1 Euro and softener is free from a bottle. Half an hour later, the process is repeated for drying. You can open the drier to check the clothes. Then I walked back to the hotel, where I packed everything but my travel clothes.
Our final supper was happy with chatting about our time in Siena. Pasta was fettucini with grated truffle (too mild for my taste), sliced beef in lemon and oil (delicious), and fruit salad. (We learned to ask for lighter desserts).
As a final farewell, some of us had a drink in the hotel bar - it was too chilly on the terrace. On Barbara’s recommendation, I had
Basilica of Santa Caterina
Beloved patron saint of Siena
Brunello Grappa. This was herbal without being medicinal – very smooth. It was a big improvement on my previous sample, although I believe the price is high (Harvey bought).
Tot: 2.382s; Tpl: 0.08s; cc: 12; qc: 30; dbt: 0.0413s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 3;
; mem: 1.3mb