Day 6 - afternoon and evening
It was around noon when we arrived in a medieval town going by the name of Siena! I was quite excited to stroll on the winding stone paved streets right up to the vast Campo Piazza Square where even today in this day and age, the famous Palio horse race still takes place in the middle of great festivities! Apparently, this attracts visitors and spectators from around the world according to Ernesta! Interesting facts!
We followed our guide further down narrow streets before coming to a halt at a lovely Italian restaurant located a short distance from the center court! I was getting quite hungry and anxious at the same time to sample its two-course Tuscan local specialities! Hmmmmm!
Red and white wine was poured while some of us ate like pigs swallowing every bit of food from the plates….and no it wasn't me! And then, as a final touch, the piece of resistance arrived. A delicious dessert topped with pecans and whipped cream! Yummy! Of course, I just couldn’t resist it and ate my entire piece and since Michel was away for a few minutes at that time, I ate half of his piece too! Ha, ha, ha! Now, who was being the gourdmand pig!
Without wasting any more minutes even though we were having fun, Michel and I were the first ones to leave the restaurant! After all, I wasn’t here just to eat, do nothing and gain weight! I was here to explore this medieval town!
Back at the Campo Square, we admired the "Fountain of Joy" dating back to the 15th
century having been constructed to bring water to the town’s center. Being a tourist attraction today, it looked quite stunning in its rectangular shape adorned by many engravings. Too bad it was all fenced in but that didn’t stop the pigeons from drinking the water!
Arrows were pointing in many directions, we couldn’t get lost. We wandered along fascinating streets where ancient structures as tall as five stories high, enveloped us. Along the way, many souvenir shops were quite tempting but I was here to explore this ancient middle aged town and not to shop. I was hypnotized by its history and castles which were quite amazing and can say the same for its people who greeted us with smiles as we walked passed them!
We were heading in the direction of the “Duomo” wondering what exactly the word meant! After all, signs and arrows were everywhere pointing to its location and curiosity got the best of us, we wanted to see it! Well, I soon found out what the word meant when I turned around a corner and came face to face with it! The word duomo stood for Italian church.
The Santa Maria della Scala duomo striped with black and white marble looked quite stunning in the distance! It was built at the end of the 13th
century but then completely renovated towards the end of the 15th
. Now a museum, we could have paid a small fee to visit its interior but we decided not to! You see, I much better preferred wandering endlessly in this medieval town and not be cooped inside a building.
Many ancient structures were seen such as fountains, wells and bridges standing three story high in between houses. In a way, I felt as if I was reliving the era, the only thing missing being the medieval wardrobes! Multi-color flowers decorated the windows which all had old and broken shutters giving them a distinct and unique look! I just loved walking around these streets where little cafes made us feel welcomed kind of thing! I guess they also liked our money too! Ha, ha, ha!
Back at the Piazza del Campo Square, our meeting point, a huge tower by the name of the Mangia Tower looked quite impressive at 102 meters/330 feet in height! Since we didn’t have much time left, we declined climbing it way to its top. Oh well, I’m sure the views from there would have been quite something!
It was 4:00pm, when we left this medieval town and pursued our journey more north through the cypress clad hills and vineyards of Tuscany way up to Florence, jewel of the Renaissance. Beautiful scenes were seen as well as more medieval towns and castles! The views of the country sides were wonderful and serene! While Michel slept in his reclined seat right next to me, I could have slept too, at least for a short while, but I didn’t! I just didn’t want to miss out on anything so beautiful!
Two hours later, we were at our hotel for the night, the Hotel AC Firenze, a Marriott hotel. By the way, “Firenze” stood for Florence! The hotel itself was quite modern, same was the room.
Since we had time before dinner, Michel and I wandered for a short while around the grounds and even went way up to the hotel’s top level floor where a wonderful view of Florence and its duomos were admired just before sunset!
After getting nicely dressed for dinner, we enjoyed a delicious a la carte meal with the rest of the group before retreating for the night at 9:30pm.Monique :-)Statistics for the day:
- Rome to Siena: 4 hours
- Siena to Florence: 2 hours