Blogs from Siena, Tuscany, Italy, Europe - page 4


Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 21st 2013

Star log, Captain Kirk.... it was another early 'stupid o'clock' start - strapped my toes together and caught cabs into the stationale for a regionale treno to Empoli and onto a regionale veloce (fast) train to Pisa Centrale. After caffe and pastries (cost enough to feel like we had purchased the entire town!!) we began our walking tour to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The town was quite different than Siena (my favourite so far) as it was very flat. The river which runs through the area was swollen, muddy and full of debris after yesterday's storm. We headed through the streets with all the other thousands of tourists to view the Tower, the main attraction but not the only thing worth seeing in Pisa. Oh for more time (but we say that in almost every ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 21st 2013

Awoke to another fabulous day in Siena, albeit very wet. I understand this storm made national news. Had a leisurely morning before heading off in the rain to the nearest bus-stop where we experienced a lightning strike and thunder so loud several were happy we were all wearing dark coloured pants! A local bus-ride into town, where hundreds were sheltering from the storm. We settled into a Lebanese/Jordanian/Egyption/Italian restaurant for a fairly average kebab and pizza meal. Greg and Irene's bags, still being in China - or somewhere - meant a trip to the department store for some clothing. In the end we decided we couldn't stay dry so Rebecca and I stomped our way through the puddles in the piazza (proving I'm young at heart, slightly older in other places!). We visited Museo Civico and ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 20th 2013

A leisurely start to THE day and then we were picked up at our accom and off we went to start our Vespa tour with a vino-tasting lunch in Chianti. It was everything and more! A definite highlight and I would recommend it to anyone. We all loved it. Travelling through the countryside was like being in the middle of a pastel painting! Didn't take long to master the bike and confidently avoid traffic and round the corners. We stopped in beautiful Castellina in Chianti and in Monteriggioni, where Irene said "if I lived here, I would be a princess":)) Greg tried to wheel stand his Vespa at the end of the tour. Luckily not too much damage to the bike but he was pretty battered. The day was so magical (and we enjoyed the company ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 14th 2013

Siena in the Tuscany Region Italy 12 October 2013 Once leaving San Gimignano, the sun was shining over the magnificent rolling hills of the Tuscany Region, and we were on our way to Siena (popn 55,000). They say that Siena was a rival town to Florence from the 12th century through to today, and that even traveler either love one or the other but not both. Florence is a Renaissance city and Siena is more Gothic. We don’t ‘get’ this rivalry, simply because both towns are so different. However, in the 12th century, Siena’s wealth, size and power grew along with its involvement in commerce and trade. Its rivalry with neighbouring Florence grew proportionally, leading to numerous wars between the two. Today, both are competing for the tourist dollar and I reckon, proportionally, they are getting ... read more
Wedding in Piazza del Campo in Siena Tuscany Region Italy 12 Oct 2013 (3)
Typical shop in Siena Tuscany Region Italy 12 Oct 2013
Wedding in Piazza del Campo in Siena Tuscany Region Italy 12 Oct 2013 (7)

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena August 19th 2013

We were one of the last Sharks to leave, everyone has gone off to continue their adventures. We headed off towards Rome with the intent to get as close as we could before stopping. We followed the freeway most of the way, but it was pretty countryside, some of which we had seen on the way up. Decided to stop for lunch at Carrera, home of the marble mountains. Couldn't find anything open except a supermarket so bought some rolls and salad and then drove up into the marble mountains looking for somewhere to stop. The mountains were amazing. You can understand why marble is so expensive when you see where and how they get it! Drove on and stayed in a little B and B just out of Siena. It was very quiet, everything closed ... read more
Our car
The marble cemetery
Carrera marble

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena June 10th 2013

Geo: 43.3187, 11.3305The day started off partly cloudy but then the sun came out by the time we drove to Siena. The city was very busy and initially we had trouble trying to find a parking place. In the end we parked in the football stadium which is only a short walk from the centre. I love the narrow streets of Siena lined with lovely shops. Our first stop was the Duomo, which has lovely frescoes, altars , chapels and marble floors as well as a beautiful library. We had bought the ticket which also took us into the Crypt which was only discovered during excavations in 2003. There are portions of frescoes which has never been seen before in a huge area below the cathedral. It went down a long way and looked as though ... read more
Fountain in the Campo
An excellent lunch

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena May 17th 2013

Greg: After a particularly average bus ride from Rome, we were very glad to exit the bus and meet our next AirBnB host and check out our room. This was a city we were told it would be harder to find accommodation for given its another small walled city, and there aren't any new flashy hostels or cheap motels around unless you are quite far outside the city limits. However, i think we hit the money with AirBnB as we ended up with a separated apartment within 5 minutes walk of the main Piazza del Campo, for a reasonable price - and it came with one of the most gracious hosts to date - a lovely Filipino lady who already had our fridge stocked with cheese, bread, meat - and even a bottle of wine! After ... read more
What better place to take your restored car than the narrow streets of sienna
San Gimignano!
Receptionist at the torture museum

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena December 24th 2012

Merry Christmas Eve - everyone! We are spending the day in Siena today and will come back for Christmas Eve dinner in Florence. Our adventure will begin on the Sita bus with an 1.25 hour trip out to Siena. But first we meet the espresso nazi in the bus station - who almost broke up a cup when we said the coffee was "to go" - ahahaha Until this point, I have very mixed feelings about Italy - I can't pinpoint if it's the travel order, the gloomy weather - everything has been beautiful and amazing - but I haven't felt the WOW - since we transferred in on the Vaparetto.. BUT now driving to Siena - oooohhh this is the Italy I was dreaming of.. I LOVE LOVE the countryside of Italy, the hills, the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena November 2nd 2012

Dear Max and Dominic, There's a part of northern Italy that has captured the imaginations of many people that have visited this country: Tuscany. It's a region of rolling hills going down to the sea, with beautiful villages, towns on hill-tops and green farms with lines of tall, thin cyprus trees marching up the ridges like soldiers that haven't quite realised that the Roman empire has actually ended. The most extraordinary thing happened in this part of the world between the 14th and the 16th centuries - suddenly a surprising number of clever people started making buildings, sculptures, paintings, books and laws that were different from anything that had gone before and often amazingly beautiful. It was like a supernova of human creativity. And it was all centred on a small part of northern Italy. We ... read more
Siena, the ultimate Tuscan hill town
Wedding cake
Calm space

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena September 16th 2012

Another very hot and stuffy night. We woke early having bought our bus tickets to Siena for the princely sum of 2 euros 40 return. We were advised that the bus stop was just outside the camp shop and that the bus would come into the campsite at 8.47 and pick up passengers. Being used to buses at home we did not expect the bus to come at that time however to our surprise at exactly 8.47 , not a minute sooner nor a minute later the bus turned up. It was full and we had to stand throughout the 30 minute journey into Siena. After much careering round corners we arrived at Siena bus station and what excellent value the bus fare turned out to be. Siena never fails to impress. We have both been ... read more

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