Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DATELINE: Siena (2)

Before I move on to Siena, I want to finish up with a few parting words about Florence.  There's nothing like a bus trip to show you parts of a city you would never otherwise see.  I'm not talking about the tourist bus ride to places of interest and fame.  What I mean is just getting on a city bus and riding it until either it comes to the end of its route or you decide you've seen something you want to investigate.  We learned a tiny bit about getting around on regular city busses ~ routes 11, 12, 36 and 37 all ended up at Porta Romana, our stop.  The other bus ride was the one taking us out of the city to Siena.  It wove all over the city then headed out to the suburbs, then into the countryside.  Along the way were plenty of bus stops for our lines 36 and 37 so we could have come out this way.  Beautiful homes dotted here and there in the hills, lush woods, vineyards, wild flowers, all just outside the busy, bustling city.  There is also a huge castle surrounded by high walls and turrets; I have no idea what it is but would sure like to go up and take a look.  Soon the bus hit the autostrada and we zipped along, still passing by woods growing right up to the edge of the highway.  In 1 1/2 hours we pulled into the Siena bus station.  We got our luggage and eventually found the front door to the apartment house (castle!) located on via de Citta in the heart of the old part of the city.

The best sight in Rome:  the fellow dressed up like a centurion at the Coloseum, talking on his cell phone.  Too quick for a photo but the sight is burned into my memory.

The best sight in Florence:  A bevvy of  young nuns, in full regalia, crowded together, chattering in Italian  and  giggling as they bought gelato cones.  Girls will be girls, no matter what.  NOTE:  You rarely see  nuns in the old fashioned long black habit anymore.  Now they wear mid-calf dresses with long sleeves, usually gray.  The wimple has been replaced by a short, shoulder-length veil held in place by a sort of head band.  Modern times.

So now on to Siena.  Early night last night but it was interrupted at around midnight by what sounded like a parade passing by.  It was heavy drums beating out a rhythm and people singing.  The group seemed to pass by down via di Citta and fade out.  A couple of hours later, the same thing.  I haven't the faintest idea what that was about and don't know who to ask!  But if I ever find out, I'll certainly let you know.  It dawned clear and bright this morning and the weather is, and is forecast to be, perfect for the next few days.  We went out do so some shopping . . .

and looked for a restaurant for lunch.  Decided on Numerounici,  down the street.  Did some Postitalia business and came home for awhile.  And here's home.

Living/dining room
living/dining room


This city, like everywhere else, I guess, is filled with tourists from everywhere.  Lots of Australians, Germans and Chinese.  Most of them are on walking tours so we see huge groups being led around by a guide who uses a tiny microphone to talk about what everyone is (or should be) seeing.  The followers all wear earphones so has not to miss a word of the guide's wisdom!  One amusing sidelight on this procedure:  the guides all wear something to distinguish themselve such as a large, tall hat or they carry something ~ I've seen long-stemmed fake flowers and a paper parasol among other things ~ so straying members can find their way back to the group.

Lunch was absolutely delicious for me - a very fat noodle slathered in pesto, olive oil, garlic, spicy Italian sausage, sprinkled with garlic bread crumbs.  Divine!

 Mr. C, was not so thrilled; he swore his gnocchi contained not one hint of potato!

 The setting was, to say the least, unusual.  We sat down on a lower deck overlooking a rather bleak and steep walkway.  But someone in the apartment building across the walkway, up on the 4th floor where not a ray of sunshine ever actually penetrated, still had a tiny garden.

We did some sightseeing after lunch to try to walk off the effects of too many carbs.

The first stop is, of course, Siena's Duomo, this magnificent pile of black and white striped marble.  The light was so bright you can't see the striping so here's another look.

Then it was back to the Piazza Publico, location of the Palio horse races in August.  Many years ago, dhring one of my parents' long stays in Europe they were in Siena for the races.  My father had met the Anglican clergyman here and was invited to sit in a box seat to view this madness.  He loved it.  I've seen the pictures.  I'd call it "Mob Scene with Horses."

 We can get down to the Corso by walking down a steep ramp to the wide plaza.  The  whole place is ringed with cafes and restos, a perfect place to sit and watch the world go by.  And my goodness, there's a lot of world packed in to this tiny town!  Our apartment building faces on to the corso although ours is on the opposite side and faces on the street.

More walking around, more looking and poking around.  Back to the apartment at about 4 PM where Mr. C headed straight for the bedroom and a nice post-too-much-lunch nap.   Plans for dinner are:  eat in.  Tomorrow we're heading down to the bus station to investigate a little day trip to San Gimignano, then on to the train station to check the schedule for our return to Florence/Vicenza next Monday.  And to search out a bank and another place to have lunch today.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Liz says:

Oh, do go back and see the inside of the Duomo. It is really spectacular. Note pulpit by Renaissance great, and fabulous tile floors. Every Contrada (Palio participants - clubs) has their flag colors there.