Frankly, I thought it a blessed relief to be able to leave Firenze behind. Around 10 a.m. we boarded a creaking sky-blue local bus which would bring us to Siena - the rapido way.
In reality it took us almost half an hour at walking pace to even get out of the city. But after that the stunning landscapes of Tuscany kept me on the edge of my seat. It is leafy green, with vineyards and romantic villages, and at this time of year dotted with poppies.In short, just like the cliché Italy I liked so much when I watched "Letters to Juliet". Cliché or not, I loved it!
The weather had taken a turn for the better as well, finally the sun showed her face. We followed the other tourists into the old part of Siena, through one of the many gates. Siena is built up a steep hill, which makes hiking her streets a tiring affair for a flat (and slightly too fat) delta dweller. But the gorgeous vistas around every corner urged me on and on.
Another difference with Firenze turned out to be the prices - Siena (her life-long rival) is slightly easier on your tourist purse, as long as you do not want to eat at the main square of Palio fame, the Piazza del Campo.
If you want details about the Palio (the horse race) you'll have to look them up yourself - I respect the historical value but abhor the race itself.
Siena is filled with images (mostly statues) of the she-wolf with Romulus and Remus. I looked them up, not understanding why this typically Rome symbol features so dominantly in Siena.Unfortunately I couldn't find an answer; so if you know it, be sure to let me know?
Obviously Siena has her very own duomo: the Duomo di Siena, from the 12th century. It is stunning in black, white and rose colored marble- and reminded me of a wedding cake.
This corner detail shows you how lavishly decorated it is. I always try to envisage the marble-dusty stonemasons carving these decorations. I wonder how many of them were killed by the Black Death in the 13th century (when they were still building this duomo).
We walked Siena tirelessly, I swear we walked each and every inner-city street and alley. And, cat lover that I am, I found myself a cat:
Or could it be an otter, I wonder? Anyway, I wish I could teleport it to my garden.
Right, the nitty-gritty:
We walked 19.356 steps, which comes to roughly 26 km. Siena streets are STEEP, so be warned if your knees are troubling you.
Temps. were a balmy 23 degrees, but it feels hotter in the narrow streets, so take plenty of water.
We stayed in Florence, so I cannot recommend B&Bs.
The rapid bus Firenze-Siena takes 1.45 hrs, lol, and so does the slow one.
The link to a nice little video about Siena:Siena