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Travel Blogs from Siena
Our 5 days in Tuscany have come to an end. Farewell meal the night before at our restaurant of choice in Radda in Chianti (Le del Chianti) and had one of the best Italian meals I have ever had! We will part company with Neil and Christine for a week before joining up again in Sicily. Early rise and off to Florence to catch a train to Roma. Only 1 hour 20 minutes and we were in Roma. Hurling along at speeds up ...
... have a horse in each race (riders ride bareback). Celebrations start several days before and can get very violent (husbands and wives from different contrades will 'go home to Mama' during Palio. If a jockey doesn't represent his Contrade by putting in a good effort, he can end up in hospital. Ditto for Japanese tourists who take too many photos of the loser teams). At race time the café umbrellas around the Piazza are dismantled, the ...
... decorative. The church builders of the Renaissance era loved excessive decoration. One doesn't know where to look as everything is so beautiful. Every nook and cranny has some painting or sculpture or gold or mosaic.
We then went through the museum and up onto the transept that was meant to be the start of an extension to the church in the 1400s. However 4/5 of the town was killed by the black death so the plans were ...
... grabbed my arm and was screaming: "This is them! Leather bracelets! Leather bracelets! Leather bracelets!" Needless to say, she bought a few.
Everything started closing down so we decided to go to dinner and come back tomorrow. My friend living in Florence, Eliza, had recommended a restaurant for us to go to, Acqua al 2. We were on a good streak with restaurants we had been going to so we were hoping this one would be just as good. It ...
... the best I've had here yet! The mint wasn't too overbearing, it was a soft cremey mint. If that make sense? Reguardless, I enjoyed it and tried to savvor it as much as I could (it was sooo good it was hard to slow down!). Now I'm just relaxing and uploading some pictures. I'll have ones from here uploaded later on this week. I hope all is well in the States! Please e-mail, I always enjoy hearing from you all (whether it be a "hi" or comments about my trips/photos). ...
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Historical Traveler Reviews Palazzo Ravizza Siena
Loved Palazzo Ravizza
We were recommended to Palazzo Ravizza by friends and could not be happier. The hotel was charming. Our room, which faced the back, had a great view of the Tuscan Hillside and the garden in the back of the hotel where they served breakfast. When we opened the shutters each morning it was such a treat to see the great view. The view was beautiful even on a rainy day. The hotel offered free internet access to it's guests which was great to keep in touch with our children at home and to research a side trip to the Cinque Terre which we decided to go to after a conversation with some couples we met at Palazzo Ravizza.
Absolutely wonderful introduction to Sienna
This was our first trip to Italy and Sienna. This hotel couldn't have been nicer. It is smallish and perfectly situated in the old city. The staff is bilingual and very welcoming. We stayed in a wonderful suite overlooking the garden and fountain with the Tuscan hills in the background. Our suite had a living area and a very comfortable bed. The bathroom had a whirlpool which was perfect after a long day of site seeing. The garden was a perfect place for a glass of wine before dinner. The meals were excellent. I'd stay here in an instant!
On arriving at Palazzo Ravizza, we began to experience a bit of a "rollercoaster" feeling. The street entrace is rather dingy and depressing. However, the lobby and terrace and interior are charming.
During our three week stay in Tuscany we stayed at some impressive hotels - this was not one of them! Whilst the reception area and garden are "quaintish", the bedroom furniture was old and chipped, cheap and nasty. When one walked on the floor in bare feet the soles were covered in dirt! The airconditioning was so old and unquestionably a health hazard. Indeed we both woke after our first night with sore throats so decided to turn the air con off for the next three days (in August this made the heat unbearable). Service was odd! Long waits for coffee at the bar (a broken coffee machine apparently!), inattentive concierge and inadequate arrangements for offloading baggage. This hotel lacks any form of care or attention to detail. For 160 Euro a night it is outrageous - it felt how one would imagine a youth hostel to be. This hotel is an example of complacency and awareness that in Siena they have a captive audience - there being a limited choice of hotels in the centre. Our advice would be to avoid this hotel as it could quite literally soil your memories of what is a remarkable city.
The staff at the desk was courteous, professional, helpful, and multilingual. The wait-staff and cleaning staff appear to speak only Italian. The garden in the back was delightful, with several small tables and chairs, at which one can play cards, read, or take a coffee and enjoy a magnificent vista of the Tuscan countryside. The location of the hotel on the Pian dei Mantellini is ideal, close to the Porta di S. Marco but quiet, a bit away from the madding crowd that swarms through the city in high season. Its short remove from the Duomo and the Campo is a big plus, as tourist nightlife and motorcycle traffic can be quite noisy into the wee hours of the morning in Siena. It is also located close to a small church (S. Maria al Carmine) which charmingly rings the hour). The hotel restaurant has an excellent menu and a very professional serving staff (who speak excellent English inter alia). We had one dinner there, and it was very fine indeed; but there are many good restaurants in Siena, so you can and should eat out. The excellent daily breakfast is continental, heavy on various rolls and cereals, with some very good prosciutto and formaggi. The charm of the hotel is its cool quiet and charm, large rooms with lofty ceilings, and many sitting areas throughout. Free internet access in the lobby is a plus, as is the ample parking (if you drive) in the rear. When we arrived we encountered some problems (plugged shower drains, etc.), which the staff took care of promptly and efficiently. The room was very large and very nice, but the beds were a bit small by American standards (maybe we are too long?!). But the stay over all was quite delightful.
Great during the Palio
I recommend this place during the Palio Medieval horserace which takes place both on July 2 and August 16 every year, but book well in advance because chance is, every room will be taken. Great ambiance, with antiques and a unique Renaissance decor, tall ceilings and a wonderful garden for your breakfast, lunches and dinners.
Good, not Great
Central location and lovely view notwithstanding, we found our room at Palazzo Ravizza a little on the shabby side. The floor needed repairing, and the walls/bathroom could have used some cleaning attention. Also, while each room has a radiator, the building is centrally heated as well and we had to sleep with the window open both nights as our room was sauna-hot. A barking dog kept us up most of the second night. If you want a good night's sleep, I'd recommend a room overlooking the street. What was good: Bed was very comfortable; breakfast, with choice of espresso, caffe latte, etc. and delicious pastries; free internet access at a central computer next to the front desk; morning papers in French, English, Italian and German; and the young, cheerful staff.
Stayed at Palazzo Ravizza in June 2001. Very large room with a view over the garden and to the countryside. Central location, very nice dinner and breakfast. Pricier than some, but well worth it. I will definitely stay there again!
A Deal in any Season
Although some reviewers (Frommers, for one) write that the Palazzo Ravizza is a little overpriced during high season, when dinner is included, I must disagree. The included dinner rivals that of any restaurant I ate in during my travels in Italy. If you subtract the amount that the dinner would have cost you elsewhere from the room price, the room is an absolute bargain. Plus, the heavy wood accents and appeal of this hotel add to the great old-world feel and charm of Siena as a whole. I would definitely stay there again.
Great Hotel Center of Siena
This hotel, which includes breakfast and dinner in its price, was a gem. The required dinner was as good as any restaurant we might have gone to. The room overlooked the garden. The staff was exceptional. The location, and the driving directions, and the private pareking made it an easy place to stay. Highly recommend it.