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Published: September 28th 2008
Train to Siena
Katie and Katie ready to go on our first train!
I tried to go to Siena 2 weeks ago, but it was raining. I tried again with my roommate Katie and another girl named Katie this weekend (September 27, 2008) We finally had a clear day this weekend, YAY! The bus was supposed to be a more direct route, but it didn't leave until later in the morning and it returned too soon, so we opted to leave earlier and take the longer trip on the train. Even though we had to transfer several times it was worth it to have the extra hours in Siena.
We arrived around 10:30 then had to make our way by bus from the train station to the center of the city; Siena allows very few cars in the center so it is mostly all pedestrians. I actually prefer this in Italy because the drivers are crazy and I am always in fear of being run over. The first place we went after a quick slice of pizza was to find was Piazza del Campo, the large central square where they hold the horse race, Il Palio, every year. The piazza is paved with bricks and slopes sharply downward as if it was made
Woohoo! We're off!
to be theater seating with a stage at the bottom. The red brick of the piazza is where the people stand during the horse race and then there is a darker gray paved area to the outside where dirt is packed down for the track of the race. My Italian teacher, Francesca, from my freshman year was the first person to tell me about this race, so it was neat to be able to see where she was talking about even if I was not in town for the actual race. Once in Piazza Del Campo we stopped at the local tourist shop to pick up a map and find out the train schedules for our trip home. In Piazza Del Campo we made the daring decision to climb the Torre del Mangia. The tower has 500 steps and is brutally narrow. The size of this tower is not conveyed well within my pictures. It is so narrow that only one person can pass at a time--when there were oncoming people, first, you panic, then you try to wedge your way into a corner on one of the turns to get by. Some parts of the cieling in the tower
here is the first couch i have seen on the trains...of course i needed a picture!
were so low that I had to sit on the stairs to come down or I would hit my head! But the strenuous climb to the top was well worth the view we were given when we finally reached the summit! I could see all across Siena; the duomo, the piazza del Campo, the stadium, everything. I could see for miles across Tuscany into the hills and out over the grass, a very welcome site since we never see grass in Perugia! I think this climb was the highlight of the trip.
We reached the bottom after dodging bodies on the way down and realized it was "La Pausa"--the most annoying time of day when almost everything is closed from about 1-3pm-- luckily Siena is more 'touristy' than Perugia, so shops were mostly still open, because otherwise they would lose money if they closed. The two Katie's and I decided to try to find the National Wine museum during la pausa because the Duomo wasn't open until 2:30. We walked along following our trusty map toward the old fortress and hopefully a rest. First we came across another church we decided to stop in before continuing on our way.
a giant chess game that was going on in one of the squares
It was **. Once we found the fortress we had to walk all the way around it before seeing a lone sign for the wine museum. And of course, leave it to the Italians, very poorly faced arrows and instructions on how to actually find the vine museum. By the time we finally found it and established with the gateman that we wanted to see the Vine museum, not the fortress (which was closed for la pausa) we were allowed in. Down in the cellar there were many wines set up for display, but labels and descriptions were in Italian so we amused ourselves with looking at the decorative labels before purchasing our own drinks. We spent the next hours sitting on the terrace sipping on our wine and talking. Before we knew it it was almost 3:30 and time to continue on our way to Il Duomo.
Il Duomo is built out of white and black marble with intricate gold guilding placed into the statuary on the facade. It has many intricately carved statues and gargoyles placed strategically that overlook the piazza below. We didn't spend much time here because it cost quite a bit of money to
go inside. As much as I would have liked to, I decided to buy postcards instead, since you can't take pictures inside anyway (we did peak in, so we didn't feel completely disappointed) For the rest of the time in Siena we went in search of any last minute picture opportunities and found postcards that captured the occasion.
All was quiet on the way home. We took the train from the Siena station, made a few stops along the way, and ended back up at Fontivegge Station in Perugia at about 8:30pm. I accomplished a nap and a lot of reading on the way home 😊 Enjoy the Pics!
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