Have You Ever Heard of Siena?
Have you ever heard of Siena? Chances are, you haven’t.
It wasn’t until I was planning our trip to Italy and reading Rick Steves that I first heard about Siena, which was described in this way: “Oh Siena? I love Siena!”
If you’re flying into Rome and headed north to Florence or farther, Siena is the perfect mid-point, great for a little 1- or 2-night stay. Driving up from Rome on the autostrada, charming Umbrian and Tuscan hill towns line up on the rolling hills on both sides. It all feels very Italian.
Eventually the drive into Siena will wind you up a hill on a narrow street until you reach the town’s wall.
Siena was our first stop on our trip to Italy and we were quickly wowed. First we were stunned by the cathedral. We’ve been around Europe and have seen our fair share of cathedrals and churches, but still the cathedral in Siena was unlike any we had seen before.
My husband kept calling it a cake—with its pink marble facade, striped tower and glittering mosaics it did seem quite delicious.
Next we checked out Il Campo—Siena’s main square.
It was so lively and packed you almost felt it was pulsating. The Town Hall looms large at the front and center and charming old world buildings (with bustling cafes on the ground floor) close off the square. Patrons at the cafes recline with their glasses of adult beverages. Families sit together right in the middle of the square on the ground enjoying gelato.
And a “guard” dog keeps a watchful eye from his balcony above.
Our third wow was when we saw Church of San Domenico perched on a nearby hill, looking formidable and imposing.
The thing about Siena is that it has these three wows, but then it also has these narrow, winding streets that beckon you to explore, even if you end up getting completely turned around and quite lost. It’s not a problem, though, because Siena is small and you can almost always find a sign to Il Campo in the old town.
You also feel like you’re in a decent-sized urban city and then you turn a corner and this vista opens up before you of green hills and Tuscan landscapes and you remember that you’re in a hill town.
You’re in Siena.
And you love Siena.