Siena … glad we decided to stop and see you

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, today started early for us. We were up at 06:30 and left the apartment at 07:15. We can’t thank Jim and Anne enough for their hospitality while we were there.

This is as empty as we’ve seen Orvieto. Looks like all you have to do is go out at 07:20, if you want a picture without people.

The funicolare ride was a little different today. Usually, we are with various ages of adults. We guess that when you leave this early, you end up on the school bus funicolare, as ours was filled with teen-aged people.

Some of these fine young people were our funicolare mates for the early train

Our train journey to Siena began at about 08:20. We traveled from Orvieto to Chiusi-Chianciano where we boarded a train that left at 09:00 to Siena. The scenery between the two train trips was mixed between agriculture and industry. We saw a lot of vineyards and olive trees. Were it not for dirty windows on the trains and gray skies, we would have had some more stunning pictures. After eight stops between the two, we arrived in Siena at about 10:30.

Farm from train
Farm from train

We walked to the shop next door to our Airbnb and were met by our host. She was able to let us in to store our bags and tell us about the apartment. It is, once again, a very nice apartment. We are pleased that on such a short notice (two days) we were able to find a reasonably priced place. It had not been cleaned, so we headed out to explore the city.

Entrance to Airbnb in Siena
Kitchen area in apartment in Siena
Living space and stairs to bedroom in apartment in Siena
From the living area … Kitchen on left, stairs to bedroom, and bathroom on right
Bedroom in apartment in Siena was like sleeping in a very cool cave

Our first stop was to have lunch. We decided on a Trattoria/Pizzeria on Il Campo, the major piazza in the center of the city. We decided to share a Maialina pizza; it was a meat pizza with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sausage, spicy salami, bacon, and ham. It was delicious. We also had drinks; Dave had a Hugo Spritz and Linda had a Bellini. It started to drizzle while we ate under the trattoria’s awning. As it turned out, that’s all there was for our afternoon and we were excited to be able to walk around without being rained upon, as we expected to get wet.

View of Il Campo from our lunch table
Bellini and Hugo Spritz at trattoria along Il Sampo
One-half of our shared pizza lunch
This was a unique sink fixture. We say sink fixture because it was more than water. The single tube is a normal water tap, but the two horizontal tubes are actually hand dryers that come on automatically once the water stops and stays on till you remove your hands.

We then went out to Il Campo and started the Rick Steve’s Walking Tour for Siena. It was a nice tour as it gave us some history about Siena and showed us some very picturesque scenes. We chose to not go into the Duomo, whose exterior was very similar to the Orvieto one. It costs 15 euros per person and photos we’d seen of the interior did not even compare to the interior in the Orvieto Duomo. On top of that, it seems that some of you may have been overdone by pictures of churches and cathedrals. So, we decided to take a break from those pictures.

This video is a 360-degree view of the Il Campo to provide you with a sense of the enormity of the piazza
Fonte Gaia in Il Campo piazza
The top of the tower at Siena City Hall
Statue in Siena City Hall that reflects the notion of Romulus and Remus being raised by wolves. Romulus and Remus are credited with starting Rome, but the connection to Siena is that Remus’s son, Senio, is believed to have founded a city named after himself, Siena.
Siena City Hall tower was one of the tallest secular towers in its time
View from Siena City Hall courtyard to the tower
These medallions on the walls of buildings indicate the contrada or neighborhood you are in. There are 17 contrada in Siena. This contrada is represented by the Eagle.
The Chigi-Saracini Palace … note how it curves with the road
Siena street scene
This balcony door was the entry to the house. It was highly sought for because you could only enter by climbing a ladder. For privacy or security, you could just pull up the ladder, a splendid idea in the 13th century.
Siena architecture and city hall tower in background
Siena Duomo
Siena Duomo
Siena Duomo – The gold fresco on the left show Mary being crowned Queen in Heaven by Jesus. The Duomo is dedicated to Mary.
Linda pointed out that if you look at the six levels of the tower the number of windows equals the floor. It is also an optical allusion that makes the tower look taller than it is.
The unfinished part of the Siena Dumo. There were plans to expand the cathedral to more than double in size. Unfortunately, when the bubonic plague (Black Death) struck Europe in 1346, one-third of Siena’s population of 50,000 died so construction ceased and it is now just a parking lot with a nice view from the top of this wall.
Little boy with his Pinocchio puppet near the Dumo
Church of San Domenico which houses a number of relics related to St. Catherine of Siena
Loggia della Mercanzia, once a place to display merchandise, is now a private club.
Statues on corner pillar of Loggia della Mercanzia
Church of St. Christopher in Piazza Tolomei
Siena street scene
Statue commemorating Sallustio Bandini, a Siena economist in Piazza Salimbeni

On the way back to the apartment, we stopped at Nannini’s, a local bakery, and got an éclair for Dave. Since Dave had an éclair, it seemed only right that we stop to get Linda gelato (pistachio and mandorla/almond). Everyone left the gelato store happy.

Dave at Nannini’s pastry shop
Just a sampling of the pastries available at Nannini’s

We took a little rest at the apartment before heading back out for dinner. We had a tough time deciding between the various recommendations our host had provided. As we looked, we wanted to make sure we would be able to order pici. Pici is a pasta that originated in Siena. It is made from flour and water … no egg. In the end, we chose an osteria called Osteria La Plana.

Our choice of restaurant was perfect. The setting was fun (we were inside, It has cooled off and there was a breeze), as was the wait staff. And the food was magnificent. We ordered Pici della Plana. The sauce for this dish was garlic oil, pepperoncino (hot pepper), tomatoes, dried basil, cherry tomatoes, and parmigiano). We also ordered a pasta dish of tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms in olive oil and garlic sauce. Oh, and we had a half liter of house chianti. To finish out the meal, we had chocolate salami. To give the appearance of fat, they put shortbread cookie pieces in the chocolate. Overall, this was an excellent meal choice.

Pici della Piana noodles made with corn flour and water (with garlic oil, pepperoncini tomatoes, dried basil, cherry tomatoes, and parmigiana)
Tagliatelle with fresh porcini mushrooms
Vino Rosso at dinner; note the cool phone in the top right corner (sorry about the fuzziness, the phone focused on the wine
Chocolate salami (the light color is bits of cookie)
Photo of horse race in Il Campo. Twice a year the seventeen contrada race against each other with the winner (the horse, not the jockey) winning a banner for the contrada and the associated bragging rights.

We stopped at the grocery store and then went back to the apartment for a brief stop.  We headed back out at about 21:30 expecting a bustling city, but instead found that the streets were nearly empty. We did find a business that does cooking classes very close to us. This looks like a great thing to do the next time we are Siena (especially, if we get to have some of that beef).

This is the place we want to take a cooking class; look at the meat in the background

With nothing going on, we decided to return home for the night.

If you would like to see the pictures in more detail you can click here: 2022-09-28 Orvieto to Siena