Thursday, July 14, 2011

July 14, 2011 -- SIENNA, ITALY. We set off for Sienna today by way of the train. Sienna is about 1.5 hours from Francesco's house in near Follonica. The station was very small with only a ticket machine to help us. With the instructions in Italian, it took us -- and Francesco -- a few minutes to figure out how to get a ticket. But get one we did, and were able to board the train at around 9:45 this morning.

Once we got to the train station in Sienna, Linda and I found the Tourist Information desk, got a map, had a bit of coffee and then set off for the city. It's about a 30 minute walk up and over a sizable hill. The city is quite beautiful and very modern. There is a combination of little streets winding through the city as well as wider more modern boulevards. We decided to stick to the smaller streets to as to see the various shops and people.

We wandered into the city and finally found what I think is the main square, the Piazzo Del Campo. There is a beautiful fountain in the square which dates back to 1419,
but the square itself was, once, as an open market that was established before the 13th Century. Needless to say, the surrounding buildings were beautiful and the square itself is an imposing space of commerce and activity.

Part of the adventure was to continue into one of the side streets to the left of the square. We continued exploring away from the Piazza up a bit of a hill and into a more residential part of the Sienna. At one point, Linda spotted a sign to a "Sinagogue" and we ventured in that dir
ection. The sign invited to knock on the door and ask for a tour, but there was no reply. We stuck around for a few minutes, knocked a few more times, but to no avail. So, we continued walking farther into the city.

At one point we found a neat fountain and took a bit of a rest. Right around the corner was "Conad City" which turned out to be a super market, so we went inside for some yogurt, fruit and cold drinks.

We found our way back to the train station about an hour early and visited a "Galleria" across the street. Lots of neat shops. Once we were back in the station, we met a couple of "kids" who has just married in Palm Desert!! They live in Irvine and were on their honeymoon in Tuscany and the rest of Italy. Small world, isn't it??

When it was time to get onto the train back to Montepescali, we were surprised that the train
one "one car only"!! About a dozen people got onto the train and we enjoyed a quiet ride back to where Francesco picked us up. All in all, our impression of Sienna is that it a most beautiful, cosmopolitan and charming city. The combination of shops, streets, history and people make it a perfect place to be. I, for one, felt it would be easy to live in such a delightful city.