Blogs from Siena, Tuscany, Italy, Europe - page 6


Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena December 10th 2011

My stay in Siena was an unimaginable wonder. If there is one word to describe this beautiful medieval city, it is enchanting. The elderly walked with patience, practice and prudence but in fact; no one walks quickly in this city since it is built on three hills. Its streets are winding and paved with perfectly imperfect stones that somehow all fit into each other. If one looks up, one is often pleasantly surprised by the simple beauty of flowers on a window sill or intricate engravings, plaques and stonework that can date back as far as 800 years and tell so much by way of images. So it is no wonder that you stop along the way to admire something you hadn’t noticed the day before, as was the case for me on more than one ... read more
The Duomo reflected on Santa Maria della Scala
Buone Feste da Siena
La classica Vespa rossa

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena November 28th 2011

It is hard to believe that almost 23 years have passed since I walked the streets of this beautiful medieval city as an exchange student taking a summer course, Renaissance Drama. Not much has changed; in fact, I am using the same map that I used when I was first here. I had forgotten how beautiful Siena is and I have pinched myself so often that I’ve begun to ask others to start doing it for me because doing it myself just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I arrived on the overnight bus from Bari, to my relief, on a sunny and warm Sunday morning. Once off the bus, the first thing I needed to find was "un bar per un caffe" (a caffe for an espresso). My first stop was at the train station; that’s where ... read more
Bird's eyeview of Siena
Il Duomo
Basilica di San Francesco

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 18th 2011

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. SIENA SHOPPING 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 ... read more
Duomo di Siena
Piazza del Campo
Siena Football Stadium

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 17th 2011

DONATELLA’S TUSCAN WINE TOUR We spent most of today in rural Tuscany with a company called Wine Tour in Tuscany owned and operated by Donatella. She picked us up in her minivan from outside our Hotel at 8.45am. There were 5 other people in our group, a couple in their 30ths from Seattle in the States and another American couple in their mid 20’s and a friend of theirs who was older. The Tour was possibly an odd choice for us because we have no real interest in wine, but reading Donatella’s website and reading the Trip Advisor reviews we were confident the tour would give us the opportunity to experience the ‘real’ Tuscany – and so it proved! GOING ORGANIC We headed south towards the heart of Brunello wine country – Brunello is one of ... read more
Say Cheese!
An organic Perspective
Tuscan countryside

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena October 16th 2011

Today we left Monterosso and headed to Siena for our final stopover before heading home. GIARDINO INCANTATO We will miss our special B&B Giardino Incantato; staying in such quality accommodation in a really special location in the centre of a historic town has been one of the highlights of our trip. When we went to see our housekeeper yesterday to say we wouldn’t need breakfast in the morning as we would be leaving early, she asked what time we were going and said it was no problem they would do an early breakfast or us. It is typical of the level of service we have received. The accommodation has been fantastic, the people lovely and extremely accommodating and they show incredible attention to detail. An example of this was when we came back to base one ... read more
Train to Siena
Piazza de Campo
Piazza del Campo

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena September 7th 2011

Italians most definitely know how to live a sweet life. How is it that the entire city of Rome takes off all of August? Or that even major supermarkets shut down for a 2 hour siesta every afternoon? In my opinion, one of the main reasons is food, of course! The god of wine, Bacchus presides over tables where vino rosso flows aplenty and multicourse meals linger on for hours. One of tour guides informed us that back in the day, Romans used to start dinner at 2 pm, and would stuff themselves silly with over 20 courses. Decadent. While it isn’t the same as those ancient times, Italians still know how to enjoy food, which I think translates into a love for life. La Dolce Vita. I can learn from this. Many people cannot truly ... read more
Award-winning gelato
Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena August 16th 2011

Pallio= Kentucky derbuy of Italy Similarities of Pallio to the Kentucky Derby; Both are horse races, both have a lot of history behind them, both have high class grandstands and both have an infield for the rest of the on lookers. How are they different? There is no alcohol at Pallio, none. Try cutting off the flow of mint juleps and miller light on Derby day and see how that goes. This surprised me A LOT! So race day… There were more parades and more misinformation on when to get there (would have been fine getting there around 3:30, I got to the sun baked square around noon). They had the same 12 horses and napoleon’s doing a prerace charge, and more cannon firing that I am sure had a meaning- but it was over me. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena August 14th 2011

Siena is great. In some ways it is a typical Italian city. The buildings are close together to provide shade on hot summer days. It seems that Italian engineers were unable to build 2 things. 1- Towers that can stand up straight and 3- straight boulevards and streets. At least they have great trains and mass transit. Siena stood out from other cities in that the city center was on top of a hill and while walking there was a lot of elevation changes. I wandered around the city for a while and ended up at the main square. This main city square was awesome. Smaller than others I have seen but it was still big. And the buildings surrounding it were gorgeous. I got there in time to see the final practice race of the ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena July 28th 2011

I think the last time I posted I was about to make dinner (?). Well, it was a success!! So yummy :) it was just like being home. That was Tuesday night. Wednesday was rainy. That's my main descriptor for yesterday. I don't really remember class, since everyday is basically the same, but afterwards I rushed back to the hotel to change and grab an unbrella because rain was in forecast in Siena, then ran back to school where we were meeting to go to Siena. During the walk to where the bus was, it started raining, instead of just random, infrequent drops. Then we got on the bus. The drive to Siena is SUPPOSED to be a little more than an hour. THREE AND A HALF hours later....we were still eight miles out of Siena. ... read more

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Siena July 9th 2011

Friday 24th June 2011 Today on to Siena where we make use of the camp site pool in the afternoon before venturing into the town in the cool of the evening where we wandered amongst the locals looking for a suitable venue for dinner. The historic centre of Siena was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1995 being a typical example of a medieval town with its appearance having been aquired between the XII and XVI centuries. Its cathedral , begun in the mid- twelfth century , is considered an important and representative example of Gothic architecture in Italy. The main facade, designed by Giovanni Pisano , was completed in 1380. The magnificent square in Siena is the home to ‘il Palio’ the famous horse race held here twice a year in July and August ... read more
Siena Square
Siena Cathedral I
Siena Cathedral II

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