Day 52 The beautiful Sienna

Today we decided to get up and out a bit earlier and head to the town of Sienna.  I have really been looking forward to seeing this town for a long time!  One of the things I was intrigued by was the horse race competition they have twice a year between the districts of the city in the Piazza Del Campo.  There are 18 districts each with an animal and a coat of arms to represent them.  Some of these animals are awesome…snail, hedgehog, goose, unicorn, caterpillar, porcupine…just what you think of when you want a mascot to show how fierce you are :-)!   There are only 10 riders in the competition and it is crazy!  The Piazza is small…think of an elementary school running track with 10 horses, and riders riding bareback…people packed to the gills…all for a 90 second race.  I have to admit it is kind of cool. When we got to Sienna of course on our list was the Piazza Del Campo.  There is a neat fountain and church there as well…a small grassy area in the center where you can sit for a while if you are tired…a great little spot!

Walking around Sienna was such a treat.  You walk down cobble stone streets that are lined with interesting shops and restaurants.  There is a mix of ages in the crowds of old and young, the city had a great energy to it the day that we were there!  Of course we saw lots of dogs! I have said it before, and I will say it again, it seems that most of Europe is obsessed with dogs.  They bring them everywhere…but they do not pick up after them!  We actually got pretty good at spotting poop, and we would point and shout “Poop” to help prevent one of us from stepping in it (oh don’t worry we did step in our fair share of it).  On our way to the piazza, we saw a lady with the cutest pug!  Her name was Lola and she was giant, wearing a sweater, and adorable!  We are really missing our dog Georgia, and although she is a Boston Terrier, at this point any dog that comes close will do!  We asked the woman if we could pet her dog, and then spent the next 20 minutes fawning all over her!  After we got our doggy fix we were off to the Duomo.

The wonderful host that we are staying with in Tuscany told us not to miss the Duomo in Sienna.  I have to say that you can get a bit of church fatigue in Europe.  They are all so amazing and beautiful…but holy smokes there are thousands upon thousands of them.  I actually really enjoy museums, art, monuments…but Russ and Reid can only take so much.  So off we were, to yet another church…or were we?  From the moment you approach this duomo you know that you are in for something special.  We actually took a few minutes to just look at the outside structure of the building.  It’s striped facade and entrance, are just the beginning to what is literally a feast for your eyes.  When you walk in, you almost don’t know where to look!  There are intricate mosaics on the floor, stone work, statues, paintings…the have a library that has ancient books and frescos that are incredibly beautiful… I am not doing ti justice…but we were all a bit awestruck! The black and white striped marble…is unlike anything I have seen.  We went to the crypt, the museum, and then we climbed to the roof of the cathedral. It was such a breathtaking view of Sienna.  I took a zillion pictures, but they never seem to do justice to what you actually see.

After our time here, we wandered around the city a bit more and took in some more sights (actually just seeing the people walking around is one of them)!  For dinner, we found a great little spot right on the Piazza Del Campo and we ate, people watched, and watched the sun set. It was the perfect end to a perfect Tuscan day!!!