Travel Series: Siena

Siena! Another one of my favorite days of the trip! (Okay, so I have a really hard time picking favorites, so sue me) This city reminds me of a smaller Florence, in all the best ways possible.

We started our day by packing up all of our luggage and loading into the tiny car of Gin and Elvio. Well… attempting to load into the car. It took us a few tries. Emily and I both had full sized suitcases, and Gin and Elvio had large bags of their own. That, plus the four of us, made for quite a squeeze. Elvio had a piece of plastic that covered the trunk, making it less likely to be broken into, and he was sure that this needed to come along with us on the trip to Siena. However, we had too many suitcases in the trunk for it to fit overtop of them. Elvio proceeded to attempt shoving the piece in behind our heads. After around 15 minutes of finagling, Gin hopped in and took the piece, insisting it wouldn’t fit. (She was completely right, there is no way it would’ve fit, but it was hilarious to see Elvio try so many times.) Finally, we were off, with a suitcase strapped into the seat next to me.

During the drive, we hit some rough traffic. At one point we had to slam on the breaks, almost sending the suitcase flying. On instinct, my hand whipped out to stop it, rather than worrying about myself. Emily decided the headline of the accident would be “Girl, 18, injured gravely in crash, suitcase walks away without a scratch”. That was our next great laugh of the day.

When we finally arrived in Siena, we took some time to find our airbnb, which was the cutest little apartment with a great view of the city.

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The view from our apartment

Once we got settled, we took off across town, toward Piazzo del Campo. Along the way, I got a random bloody nose, which isn’t unusual for me, but was inconvenient nonetheless. We wandered for a bit before getting some pizza for a quick lunch. After lunch, we went to the Duomo and got tickets for the Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistry, Museum, library, and climbing the duomo. First on our agenda was the Cathedral. From the outside, it looked very similar to the Duomo in Florence, but on the inside it was very different. The entire interior was striped, and stars covered the ceiling. It was one of my favorite cathedrals of the trip. Afterward, we stepped into the library, which wasn’t really a regular library, but instead housed about fifteen open, illuminated manuscripts, with frescoes on the walls and ceiling.

After the library came the museum, where Gin, Emily, and I mocked some of the statues while enjoying the art. The crypt was next, which was more wall art, but this time underground. Finally, we checked out the baptistry, which was gorgeous as usual.

Following these festivities, Gin went to find Elvio while Emily and I snuck in some shopping. Once we met back up with Gin, she still hadn’t found Elvio. We searched around for a while and eventually found that Elvio was still in the Cathedral. He had been exploring in there for a couple of hours while we explored elsewhere. Once we got him out, we made our way to another little cathedral, Santa Caterina. It was very small and quiet, extremely peaceful. We only spent a few minutes there before saying goodbye to Elvio (he was actually going back to the apartment this time) and heading to the much larger Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico. The Basilica was very grand and elaborate from the outside, so the inside seemed rather plain in comparison. For one of their relics, they claimed to have the face of a saint, dating back to the 1300s. Real or not, it was surreal to see (and just a little creepy). When we left the building, we went for a quick Geocache hunt. This was one of the harder ones to find, but eventually Gin spotted it behind some loose bricks.

Finally, it was time for our climb of the Duomo. We weren’t able to climb all the way to the top of the dome, but instead we stayed right around the base, where the dome itself started. Regardless, it was beautiful, and gave us some pretty amazing views of the cathedral. We got to walk at that same level around the entirety of the cathedral, which made it feel like we were spying on the tourists below, who probably couldn’t even see us. It was such a cool experience. Overpriced, maybe, but definitely cool!

After that, it was time to relax a little. We stopped for some gelato on our way back to the apartment. When we reached the apartment, Emily and I decided to explore just a little further, and ended up finding a little shop, where we bought two bottles of wine and an apple for only 8€. Back at the apartment, we started into the white wine while sitting on the gorgeous little balcony.

Finally, it was time for a delicious Italian dinner, so we made our way to a restaurant called Salefino. Emily and I ordered ourselves a bottle of rosé, and got delightfully tipsy in the heart of Siena. Up to this point in my life, I’ve found that few things are better than being wine drunk in the Italian countryside. Emily ordered a wide-sliced pasta with bisque and seafood, and I treated myself to pasta with rabbit. Both were spectacular. We shared mascarpone with strawberries for dessert. On our way back to the apartment, we stopped to look for a cache. It led us to a beautiful fountain area that was completely secluded from everything. We didn’t actually find the cache, but it was really cool to see something new–that we would’ve completely overlooked–while searching like crazy for the cache. Back at the apartment, we played cards before finally heading to bed. The perfect ending to a perfect day.

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Next stop: Atina!

Stay tuned for more updates,

xoxo, second sister suzie

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