Siena was a natural stop after San Gimignano, I only planned a short stop before heading for Rome, but I loved Siena far more than I thought I would. I wish I had stayed longer. I again used the Parkings app to locate a suitable Aires for my stay. There are several free aires in the vicinity, and I stayed at Parcheggio Communal, Siena. This was a lovely stop, opposite a bus stop to Siena, €2 ticket will get you to the city. A supermarket is relatively close too. Do check the ratings if using the Parkings app, they are very useful for determining which sites may be suitable / unsuitable.
The bus will take you to the Piazza del Sale, which is a short walk to Piazza del Campo (Il Campo), the site of the bi-annual Palio horse race.
Who can forget the Siena sequence in the James Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’. The Palio horse race, runs bi-annually (2nd July and 16th August at 7pm) and only lasts 90 seconds. The first recorded race was in 1283 and riders represent 10 of the 17 districts of Siena.
Piazza del Campo is dominated by the Gothic town hall (Palazzo Publico) and the bell tower (Torre de Mangia), the tower at 102 m (330 ft) did not interest me on this occasion. With a tight schedule, numerous bell towers behind me and Rome before me, I felt my legs could do without another climb.
Just up the hill from Piazza del Campo is Piazza del Duoma, which is dominated by Siena cathedral.
I purchased the Siena Pass for €15, which grants access to the cathedral crypt, the panorama dal Facciatone, museo dell’Opera and baptistery.Siena cathedral is considered one of Italy’s finest and it is hard not to agree, the bell tower is recognisable from the increasing number of windows per level.
The inside of Siena cathedral is cavernous, the inlaid marble floor, pulpit panels add to the wonders to be seen which continue in the museo dell’Opera and the crypt.
The cathedral’s crypt is full of frescoes and was re-discovered in 1999 after 700 years of being unseen.
Finally, as part of the Siena Pass I went to panorama dal Facciatone, the views from here are lovely, but if you go, be prepared to wait as access is limited.
One of the pleasant surprises I encountered was Fontebranda (the Talking Fountain), the water was so clear, it is easy to see the swimming fish. The fountain is mentioned in Dante’s Divine Comedy. If you ever find yourself in Siena, wonder around, you never know what you might find.
Fontabranda (The Talking Fountain)