Friday, May 18, 2012

Spending a day in Siena, Tuscany

We were supposed to spend last Sunday at the Cinque Terre Trials with Walkabout Florence Tour.  We were supposed to wake up at about 7am, have breakfast and catch the cab to the meeting point where we were supposed to meet at 8am.

We woke up... at 9am with a panic.. and I was half asleep and half hysterical.  I remembered running around in circles in the bedroom in a panic because I could not find the damn paperwork with the details on it.

*sigh*  Thankfully, when we rang them, they were really nice and advised us to join their tour the next day instead!  Seriously, if you are going to Tuscany and in need of a tour group, I would definitely recommend Walkabout Florence

We had a rented car at our disposal which we decided to make use of and drove to Siena from Florence.  The drive was about 1 - 1.5 hours.  I thought it was quite a nice drive, although the day was quite cloudy. The countryside was pretty, so green, and neatly cut with dots of reds and yellows.

The view of the city centre is a sight to behold..  After we have parked our car, just on the outskirt of the centre, we made our way towards the middle..

View of the city..  The Siena Cathedral is to the left

We saw a Luna Park here as well, where we walked around the park

It was quiet, but there was a family who were riding around the park on their bicycle.  In the middle of the park (which is squarish) is where an empty amusement park lies

There was also a flower market there where I saw some gorgeous plants for sale

But we didn't stay long as the pollens were too much for S who's hayfever was going from bad to worse..

We had lunch at one of the cafes, which were quite cheap... This whole meal cost us 12 Euros all up.  S had the pasta while I had a plateful of cured meat, mozarella and dried tomatoes.. Yum!

Walking in the Siena is quite fun.. So many temptations...

I could eat a gelato or two for each meal!

but we opted for a small hazelnut & coconut in a cup to share..

We came onto this shop which we did a pit stop to stock up on Italian groceries to take home

I've never seen proscuitto with the hoof still attached!  we bought some cured meat, dried pastas, biscottis and loads of other stuff

of course we had to buy some pizzas which were fresh from the oven and were sold by weight, not by slice!

We walked till we came into the square - the Piazza del Campo.  The Town Hall or  Palazzo Pubblico is a palace which is the main focus point of the square.  The bell tower is actually slightly higher than the bell tower in Florence

The square

Fountain of Joy or Fonte Gaia

which was fenced off... The pigeons were having the time of their lives keeping the fountain company!

The Palazzo Pubblico

The courtyard, facing upwards

You can see the tower from the courtyard

Waiting for the signal to climb up the stairs (They only allowed about 25 people or so each time to get up)

We climbed some stairs until we get to the ticket area (only 1/4 of the way up!) and stored our bags in the locker..  First view!

You could have 360 degrees view of Siena

The bell.. and more stairs to get up

It was quite cold!

The narrow steps to climb up and down of the tower

More crazy winding steps.. It's a Long, long drop!

S being S.. Impressive? =)

Was quite happy I did the climb up and down!!  Don't you think it was quite high?!!

The town..

Church of San Domenico

We have yet to reach the cathedral.. but we got a good view of it here...

I find all these buildings quite charming...

There was a possession of drummers and flag bearers in Italian colours..   We were told it has something to do with horse racing

Church of San Domenico from a distance

Finally reached the Siena Cathedral

The interior were quite breathtaking... 

The stain glass depicting the last supper which is just right above the entrance door

The dome

I couldn't get enough of the dome... 

The drummers and flag bearers possession were making their way into the church

and straight into the room with the Madonna and child painting

Main altar

The little chapel of St John the Baptist

The dome in the little chapel

The ceiling in the library

The outside of the church... 

So pretty!

More steps! Leading away from the cathedral

As evening draws, the street were quite empty

Love the arches

Guess which one is our rented car? =P
Was such a lovely day!  We got into the car before it started raining!  How lucky was that!?