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Published: October 19th 2011
Our latest purchase,hand crafted in the heart of Tuscany and featuring the fuits and flowers (specifically sunflowers) of the region.
Today was our last in Siena and our 3 month epic adventure is drawing to a close. Tomorrow we head to Rome and have an overnight stay before flying out for Singapore/New Zealand at midday on Friday.
We had no firm plans for the day, we were just going to have a look around the central area of Siena and do a bit of last minute shopping. Whatever thoughts we might have had went out the window as soon as we walked out of the Hotel. As we left the building right outside the Hotel and extending over the surrounding area was a massive market –mainly new season winter clothing-but lots of other stuff as well. There was no chance of me getting Jeanette past it so we spent an hour or so battling the masses looking for bargains. There was a huge crowd and at times we just had to go with the flow until we could work our way to the edges and escape, not exactly my idea of fun but Jeanette got to have a good look around.
From there we headed into the Piazza del Campo to do some souvenir shopping. Our main
Duomo di Siena
The spectacular Cathedral made from black and white marble is a must see for anyone visiting Siena. Pictured here is the alter
purchase was a handmade and hand painted Tuscan ceramic pot/vase. It is a one off piece created by a ceramic artist working in Montelupo the ‘spiritual’ home of ceramics in Tuscany (and Italy). The history of ceramics in the town dates back to the Middle Ages and this has been recognised with the establishment of a Ceramics Museum in Montelupo. We are very pleased with our purchase and look forward to it turning up not too long after we get home.
DUOMO DI SIENA (CATHEDRAL OF SIENA)
We also visited the Cathedral of Siena (Duomo di Siena). It is the huge black and white striped church mentioned in an earlier blog. It is even more impressive on the inside than the out. The theme of the alternating black and white marble blocks continues throughout the interior to stunning effect. There are also some incredibly intricate mosaic art on the floor and some very striking paintings adorning the walls. Even in our ‘churched out’ state the ‘Duomo’ was well worth the visit.
Jeanette also decided she would climb the Bell Tower in the Piazza del Campo; it is the second highest Bell Tower in Europe at 102
Piazza del Campo
Viewed from the top of the Bell Tower. The Piazza is the shape of a scallop shell and slops down towards the tower.
metres. The stairway up is very narrow at the beginning but eventually widens out to a normal size staircase until you reach the first observation area, then it narrows considerably for the final struggle to the top. The effort to get up there was well worth it with stunning views over the Piazza below and Siena. Because it is so narrow only small groups are allowed up at a time, on busy days this can lead to a fairly chaotic situation where people stand in the queue for ages and appear to get no closer to climbing the tower. Fortunately it was very quite when we went there and Jeanette could go up immediately.
Then it was back to the shopping. While we were out on our wine tour yesterday we had quite a lengthy discussion with Donatella about the Contrades (Clans) and the Palio di Siena (bi annual horse race between the Contrade). She belongs to the Istrice (Porcupine) Contrade. The whole subject is really interesting, to remind us of our day with Donatella we bought a couple of porcupine souvenirs – we’ve got souvenirs for EVERYTHING!
AC SIENA’S HOME GROUND – The spiritual home
Siena Football Stadium
Checking out the home of Siena football-its a really small ground for a team playing in such a big league.
of Siena football
On the way back to the Hotel we noticed the gates AC Siena’s Football Stadium were open so we popped in for an impromptu look. Given that they are playing in the top division of Italian football (one of the world’s biggest leagues the ground is small and very modest. The capacity of the stadium is just under 16,000 and almost all the seats are uncovered. The playing surface looks good as you would expect. Apparently plans are afoot to move to a new stadium at the southern end of the city with a capacity of 20,000 – not huge but state of the art and more in keeping with Siena’s status as a Siera A club.
Once back in our room it was the big squeeze/juggle to see how we could fit everything into our suitcases. We got there in the end!
For tea we had a very nice Pizza from Cafe del Corso, about half way down the main thoroughfare between the Hotel and the Piazza del Campo.
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