The last time I was in Siena was on our 2007 Gorry Family Trip, which Vlad ended up missing for some reason. At that time we all agreed we wished we could have spent more time and seen more. With the Futile Search For Parking, Looking For Lunch, and Gelato Blowout episodes, (one of these days I’ll write about those…) it was a memorable, if not terribly positive day. For this trip, I was hoping to catch everything I missed, and show Vlad what I enjoyed.
Siena’s a charming old city, and seemingly one in which time has stopped. Most of the old city remains, and walking through the twisted, narrow streets gives a glimpse at live in the distant past. The Piazza is filled with modern life – lots of outdoor cafes, and filled with tourists and locals alike in the evening. Great for veteran people-watchers like we are.
The Duomo in Siena is beautiful – from the inside it’s even lovelier than the one in Florence. The inlaid marble floors with stories and historical references is worth the trip alone. The columns are striped black and white and in various stages of restoration. The ceiling is also undergoing massive restoration, with the paint and frescoes getting a much-needed freshening. The Baptistry is also lovely, with bronze panels by Donatello and other masters around the font well worth seeing.
Vlad and I climbed through the whole Duomo museum – one of the items left on my list from the last trip. Then, it was too close to lunch, and we only saw a portion of the museum before being hauled out when Dad’s stomach-clock went off (with automatic settings for noon around the world!). It was nice to see the whole museum this time. The original Rose Window, church relics and the pen-drawings for the Duomo floor were fascinating.
In the evening, we went to Guido’s Restaurant, which conveniently was below the hotel. It has the distinction of being the focus of Looking For Lunch on the family trip in 2007. Watching Dad question people on the street and meandering after him with an equally hungry and cranky 5 year old is one of our favorite family stories. Since Vlad missed the experience, it was only fair that he see it for himself. In the attached picture, he’s toasting All Those Who Came Before. You know who you are.
We returned after a lovely dinner to the Hotel From Hell to find the bar below it in full swing with the Young And Inebriated of Siena. Little did we know what awaited us for the rest of the night.
To be continued…