Siena

May 4, 2012
While in Florence we took one daytrip to Siena. We were able to catch a bus outside the medieval walls which was a short walk from our hotel. The bus ride was pretty quick and painless for me. Frank, on the other hand, suffered from motion sickness. He was not feeling well when we arrived in Siena. After stopping for coffee he felt better. We wandered the streets taking in the sights. It could have only been better if the rain stopped and the sun shined. I loved Siena. I would return in a heartbeat.

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Siena’s Duomo is strikingly beautiful with its Romanesque-Gothic architecture. Work begun in the 12th century and the fa├žade was completed in 1380.

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The interior is covered with black and white marble stripes on the walls and columns. The colors are those of the coat of arms in Siena. They are also very striking.



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Attention is also drawn to hundreds of plaster busts of popes dating from the 15th and 16th centuries starting with St. Peter and ending with Lucius III. The pulpit is sculpted from Carrara marble by Pisano. It is a fine work of art.



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As is the inlaid marble mosaic floor. It is known as the most ornate of its kind in Italy, covering the whole floor of the cathedral. Dozens of artists made their contribution from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries.







Prayer was taking place in The Chapel of Saint John the Baptist, so we spent a good amount of time in the Piccolomini library. It is home to choir books and stunning frescoes painted by Bernardino di Betto.







An addition was planned in 1339. Construction began to double the size of the structure, but the crew was killed by the plague, construction was halted and never resumed. The outer walls can now be seen south of the Duomo and the floor serves as a parking lot and museum.

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Piazza del Campo is the town square. Here you’ll also find the Palazzo Pubblico and the Torre del Mangia. The tower is supposed to offer great views but it was closed on our visit due to the rain. It was for the best, really, we were too beat to attempt it.

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Palazzo Salimbeni is headquarters for one of the oldest banks in existence.



It’s also worth noting that almost no traffic is permitted within the city centre. Everyone wanders by foot, we were no exception.

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We needed a break from the rain so we stopped for lunch at La Taverna di San Guiseppe. It was a sensational find. We had the best meal there… possibly of our lives.

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We started with an involtini of eggplant and porcini mushrooms. It was fantastic.



The good eats kept on coming. Next, Frank had gnocchi with porcini and truffles. I was surprised by his choice because he’s usually not a fan of mushrooms, but he loved this dish. It was perfect.



It was hard to choose an item on the menu. Everything sounded delicious, but I couldn’t miss the opportunity to try homemade chocolate pasta with wild boar ragu. My dish was also perfection.



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We were tempted to order more food, but settled on dessert only. We tried panforte, the local specialty. It contains spices, fruits and nuts. We didn’t love it because we both have an aversion to the taste of black licorice. And it seemed like anise was used with a heavy hand. Yet, it remained a superb dining experience.

We were tempted to stay in Siena long enough to return for dinner, but we were simply too tired. Next time we find ourselves in Italy we will return to Siena to enjoy another meal at La Taverna di San Guiseppe.

1 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG - the pictures are AWESOME - thank you so much for taking the time to blog this - WOW - The Canadian Guy EH....

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