Nom de Plumage

June 11, 2012

The Sights and Splendours Of Sienna


To travel or sightsee on your own can at times be very lonely, but today I was to share my day with my new found friend Cecilia. She was continuing her journey into the beautiful region of Tuscany and so I went with her for the day. The train journey through the beautiful heartland of Tuscany was as I dreamed it would be. A wonderful melting pot of rich colours and rolling hills with villa’s nestled high upon them, had all come to life from the many photographs/pictures that I have seen. We travelled in silence not wanting to miss anything of the beauty before us.

After an hour and twenty minutes, we arrive in a somewhat unexpected large train station in Sienna. But although very modern, information was limited and so Cecilia had to ask a policeman for directions to her hostel. We had to walk for about half an hour and not all entirely without getting lost again, before we finally arrive at the hostel. My friend wants to drop off her luggage and check-in allowing her more freedom from carrying unnecessary weight on our sight-seeing adventure in Sienna. With that all done, we catch a bus that drops passengers at the very entrance to the wonderfully preserved medieval city.

We arrived later than I would have liked, about 12:30 pm and that really did not give us a lot of time to explore this amazing city. But with our empty bellies needed attending to, we fist stop off for a light lunch before we continue our walk.

Sienna is situated perfectly upon a hill that overlooks the surrounding landscape. Perfectly preserved through the ages, it is a wonderful experience to navigate your way through the many stone paved corridors of shops and cafes, getting lost in all the beauty and splendour that this priceless bit of history can offer. A tourist hotspot and certainly not for the faint-hearted because to walk the uneven roads, that are both steep and narrow, can be a trying experience for the frail, disabled or pram-wheeling parents. Our first stop was a little abbey that once housed nuns only and to the little chapel dedicated to their patron saint Mary.

We eventually arrive at the prime attraction in Sienna and probably in most Italian cities and that is the cathedral or Duomo. For ten euro’s, we each brought a pass that allows us entrance into five surrounding attractions, including the Duomo as well as to the most magical panoramic view of the whole city and Tuscan valley. There was the museum del opera, a crypt, a museum on the history of the city with artefacts and another museum dedicated to religious artefacts. It was in the Museum del Opera that had paintings and sculptures, that I saw one of my favourite pieces of stone. A naked male child, aged about three, sleeping with the most innocent posture and look of peace. It was so perfect and life-like, that I ached to pick the sleeping child up and hold him in my arms. That is how powerful it was. We then had to navigate our way up some very steep and narrow steps, squeezing past other tourists coming down, but all so worth it when we finally reached the top for this wonderful lookout. The weather was in a word -PERFECT!

!

And so, downwards and onwards to the ‘piece de resistance’ of the cathedral. How can you describe perfection? I cannot do justice to the magnificence of the Duomo. With no photo’s to show (again, not allowed) I can only say it was and elegant and not ostentatious, with black and white marble and stone throughout. It was a magical place of serenity and beauty and a treasure to the city of Sienna. A highlight!

The day was almost over, but we had one more delight to discover. We continued walking and came upon a massive open space that was the town centre. An unusual feature was the half circle stone theatre like place, where tourists and locals gather to eat, drink or just soak up the sun. Gently slopping downwards, the buildings that surrounded this little marvel offered a wonderful array of refreshments and it was here that we discovered a gelato shop and I brought us both one as a final farewell gift. This time I had lemon and hazelnut and it was delicious. We walked back towards the bus stop and said our final farewell. It was a beautiful and magical day that I shall treasure.

 

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