Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tripping To Siena 2

  More from our little side trip to Siena last week...
  Our little room had a big view. In fact, we were inspired to get up and out early, listening to the bells going off at 'Il Duomo'...

Room with a view!
Buongiorno, Siena!

It's been so long since we've been here...sigh.


  We knew we wanted to tour the Duomo, so we headed up the hill to get tickets early, to beat the crowds. It was windy and quite chilly walking through the narrow 'vicoli' (streets), but we worked our way to the top...

Empty of people so early...nice!

Perfect street art for Siena...famous for it's insane horse race,
the 'Palio'....

Interesting views as we got closer to our destination.
The marble work inside and out is spectacular.

The tip top of the Duomo.

Impressive fa├žade...

  We waited for the doors to open, and had a fantastic look around, without too many people jostling about.
  I am always stunned by the sheer work that must have been involved to create such a space.
  Johnny is happy to believe it was all done by aliens. 

Pretty darn awe inspiring.

We loved seeing Hawky-Hawk etched in marble.

  I was raised Catholic, so I always get a little wonky in these big old churches. It's been a very long time since I've attended church, so there is that teeny trace of guilt involved. It comes with the book, I guess.

  Here, I just tried to admire the beauty of it, and put all else behind.
  (I gotta say, though...I can't pass the alter of any church without doing the old 'sign of the cross' thing.)
  I loved the marble-turned-fabric on some of the sculptures...

  The  inlaid marble floors are gorgeous...

  The interior pillars always blow my mind.....

Nice Pulpit, too.

  I try to find a touch of whimsy, and in this case it was this fellow, who brought a little 'Wallace and Gromit' into the morning...


  Johnny wanted to see the Piccolomini Library, a side room here, with it's frescoes by our own Umbrian artist, 'Pinturicchio' (Bernardino di Betto). 
  We've been before, but the beauty does inspire him, and that is always a good thing.

Also here, 'The Three Graces' sculpture.

The Three graces checking out the work.

  I just love the colors and the hint of the Umbrian landscape in these frescoes...Is that Lago Trasimeno there? Hmmmm......
  This little angel was my favorite, though. His attitude is everything!

  Later in the day, we headed out for dinner, with stops along the way to just enjoy the day to day life of Siena....
  We did take time for a wee nap, too.

Mirror Shot!

Apertivo in Il Campo.

The best people watching.

  Dinner was a surprise. We hadn't made any reservations (bad me!), and there were places all over just packed with people, so we wandered out into a less travelled area. It was getting later and later, but we found a small osteria that had a nice little menu (no english translation, which is always a good sign), with a few vegetarian dishes.
  We each started with a soup...

'Pappa al pomodoro' for me.
Bread and tomato soup. Good, and spicy!

Johnny had the thickest 'ribollita' (also a bread soup) ever.
He was so happy! It was yummy on this chilly night.

The buzz was good in this place. We were happy to be waiting for our pasta to arrive.

A very content me.

A very content him.


Johnny enjoyed his 'pici aglione'.
Me, too...creamy, but not too rich, with a subtly sweet garlic flavor.

I had 'trofie con verdure', a twisty type of pasta served with eggplant,
peppers and asparagus. Yum.

 Our waiter was just perfect, and his style got me from the get go....cute, too, of course!

  We did enjoy another dinner on another night here, but I felt odd taking photos, and decided not to share that one. 
  I am finding it harder and harder to take out my small camera and do the whole 'recording the meal' thing...odd, since this is what I really enjoy doing. Oh, well, I'll do it when it feels right.

   Thanks for a great couple of days, Siena! We'll be back in a few more years, no doubt.

Siena, you are a lovely lady...

...but it sure is nice to be back home.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Tripping To Siena 1

  The last time we were in Siena was back in 2012. We've always enjoyed this town so much. The main piazza, "Piazza del Campo", is stunning, and there are so many little streets and areas to explore.

  This time, we spent two nights, so we had lots of time to just relax and take this beauty in. It was a little cold and pretty windy, but that made for super clear views, so we decided right off the bat to climb to the top of the 'Torre del Mangia'.....

Our first view of the tower on this trip.

Views all around were spectacular!
It was quite early, so not many people around, yet...

The big bell.

Yes, we did.
Now can I have a glass of proseco?

We were way up there, baby.

One of the many cool rainspouts on the tower...

We were waiting for our room to be ready, after dropping our bags off, so after the big climb, we went down the hill to check out this garden area we had spied from way up on the tower.
  It was a great way to kill some time, and just see another side of Siena...

You can see the tower from all over.

Along the path down to this main garden area, there are several veg gardens.

Way at the bottom of the main area, there is this interesting sculpture...

I love getting inside people's heads.

There is a small herd of goats, too...big fun!

  After heading back to our room to put our stuff away, we headed back out to find a spot to have some lunch.
  Along the way, we came across this lovely display. It was the entrance to a hair salon, and I came this close (finger & thumb really close together) to getting my hair chopped.

Really cool music, too.

  For a simple but very tasty lunch, we stopped into Il Pulcino...

Johnny loved his risotto with radicchio.

My lasagna with zucca (winter squash) was divine.

  Well fed and ready to explore...
  When we heard drums, we followed the sound.
  We came across an older boy teaching a younger student the ropes. This was in the neighborhood, called a 'contrada', of the Owl. The owl is their symbol for the massive horse race held a few times a year in Siena...'The Palio'.
  There are seventeen different symbols for the seventeen different neighborhoods. It's a blast going through the different areas and seeing the various statues and such that represent the contradas.

The next generation moves forward.
The Owl in it's neighborhood...

Pretty cool owl!

  Afterwards, we relaxed as usual...

Nothing beats watching the world go by with a glass of wine...

  I'll have another post soon about Siena. We had a great visit...
  Grazie, Siena!!

More to come on Siena!