Ciao a tutti
SO this weekend Livy, Jules, Frizzy and I took a spontaneous- I mean we booked our apartment 3 hours before arriving there!- trip to Siena, a beautiful Tusacan town about an hour from Florence. With us all not knowing a great deal about the city, we headed off guide book in hand to Santa Maria Novella Station. The journey, fortunately, is super simple: just one straight, direct train and tickets only €9 each way!
But this did NOT mean that Siena was merely a smaller sister of our beloved Florence. The city is magnificent in its own right, with the unique gothic Cathedral of Siena and bold Piazza del Campo- where il Palio is held. For those who don’t know, il Palio is a traditional annual horse race where local families compete for victory attracting huge crowds from all over the world.
Now yes our time in Siena was brief but boy did we fit a lot in, naturally still leaving time for gelato, sunlounging and aperitivo… Our apartment was also in the BEST location for us to step out the door onto the famous sights (and it was opposite Venchi).
It’s a huge perk of studying in Florence, as this central location makes it very simple to take a quick trip to discover a neighbouring city. And so, the rest of this post is dedicated to reviewing our 24-hour girls’ trip…
Well, Siena Cathedral was an obvious must, especially with the mysterious crypt below that was only discovered in 2003! We were one of the first people in line this morning for the complete ticket package giving us access to the Cathedral, Piccolomini Library, Museo dell’Opera, Crypt and Babtistery. With works by masters including Donatello, Bernini and Michelangelo adorning the walls and ceilings it’s clear to say this major attraction did not disappoint.
The Piccolomini Library, just apart from the Duomo, is of particular beauty with its decadent and expressive ceiling.
And of course the crypt was fascinating; it’s incredible to think of how these intricately frescoed underground quarters remained hidden for generations.
Being a sucker for a wonderful view, the climb up the Facciatone was another highlight; from here you get a 360 degree view of Siena, made evermore brilliant by our good fortune with the weather!
Amongst our wandering through the medieval streets of Siena, we stumbled upon the serene, picturesque church of San Caterina. The simple beauty of this church created such a peaceful and reflective atmosphere- so different to the impressive buzz you experience inside il Duomo or Santa Croce in Florence.
All in all, Siena was the perfect pause from Florentine life and a delightfully different way to spend the weekend together. For a city so close you experience another way of life, very different Italian accents and some yummy local delicacies (MUST try picci pasta) and all in 24 hours. Although I must admit, as I sit writing this on the train now, I do already miss Florence and can’t wait to be back in the city and apartment I now identify as home.
Today’s idiom can be used to describe how perfectly all our last-minute plans fell into place:
Funziona come pasta fresca! literally meaning It works like fresh pasta! but instead the expression is used in the way we say It works like clockwork!
I hope your weekend was equally wonderful!