BootsnAll Travel Network

Siena, Italy

We headed south after Pisa, the geography getting hillier and greener as we approached Siena.

Siena is a hilly, pretty city with one of the most beautiful piazzas in Italy (Piazza del campo), the 2nd highest tower in Italy (Torre del Mangia), and the most impressive Duomo (cathedral) I’ve ever seen (the interior is absolutely jaw dropping). It is a city full of churches, museums, and great views over the surrounding countryside.

We spent two enjoyable days here, the only downer was the mostly crappy weather.

The Piazza del Campo (below) is famous for the Palio, which is a no-holds-barred horse race run here twice a year. These races pit the 17 different neighborhoods of Siena against each other. You can’t go anywhere in Siena without hearing about the Palio, it is what unites but at the same time divides the Sienese more than anything else.

The Duomo di Siena (below) is stupendous. The interior is like a museum with its black and white marble pillars, intricate marble floor panels, beautiful renaissances frescos, a huge bronze dome, a sculpture of St. Peter by Michelangelo. What awed me the most are the 170-odd busts of popes lining the cathedral, all looking down at you in an almost menacing manner. The whole cathedral was painting, sculpted, and decorated by the most celebrated Italian artists of that time. I’m about as anti-religious as they come, but was awed by this cathedral for its sheer beauty. It is just amazing and I’m afraid these words and photos just don’t give it justice.

Views on the Piazza del Campo from the Torre (tower)

Italian fashion

Italians are very fashion conscious – they like brights colours (you don’t see too many North Americans wearing yellow pants) and the liberal use of hair gel. The preppy look has also made a comeback here. Suprisingly though, Italian fashion is more conservative and classical than fashion in Montreal – women in Montreal wear things that you would never see an Italian wear (I always say, quite proudly, that Montreal has the most skankily-dressed women on the globe).

(above: The preppy look. Urgg, reminds me of my high school days)

(ok, that last one is a joke. I found it on the internet)


We stayed at the Villa Elda and both agreed it was overpriced (189 euros/night) and overrated (see Trip Advisor rating) for that price. It’s nice and clean but is not more than a 3 star hotel – the rooms in all the other places we stayed (including the 70 euro/night room in Vernazza) were superior to that in the Villa Elda. It’s the only place on our trip where I kicked myself for having grossly overpaid for a hotel.

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