Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Aventura Toscana: Siena

September 30, we awakened in the Hotel Alcide in Poggibonsi, where we had a nice breakfast with the group in the hotel's restaurant.

While others were headed in all directions, Sarah and I decided to visit Siena by ourselves.  I tracked down maps for my non working phone and set a route.  Siena was only 36 km to the southeast.  We took the SP2 past Monteriggioni.  Google maps had made it mysterious in how to get up to the historic, walled part of the city, but we gave it our best shot.  Then the phone maps completely stopped working.  But we rode some more, then stopped and asked a local how to get to the old town.  He said that we were stopped directly across the street from a bank of escalators hidden in the hill that led to our destination.  So we parked the Tmax and headed up.

A stop along the way to Siena.

The public escalator to the historic part of town.

 After some walking down a wonderful pedestrian street, we came to an opening to the Piazza del Campo, the famous center of Siena.  Across the piazza was the Tower of Mangia and inside the piazza was a stage with the crew doing sound checks for a concert to be held that night.  The sound system sounded great.

Playful art along the walk.

The lovely pedestrian street.

Piazza del Campo, with the Tower of Mangia

We looked around a bit, then decided to continue our tour of towers and bought a ticket to the top of the Tower of Mangia.  It was set to a time so we hung around until 1:00 for the walk up.

Piazza del Campo

A photo of the Il Palio, a horse race around the Piazza. 

Inside, getting tickets for the walk to the top.

The first runs of stairs was open and easy.  Then we transitioned to a very narrow run with limited headroom and lighting.  I could feel a bit of claustrophobia creeping in, but luckily we were out of that one after two more runs and out into a much larger space, with the stairs open to the inside of the tower.  We stopped at openings, photo opportunities, along the way until we were at the first open level near the top.  The views of the town and countryside around were fantastic, very much worth the cost and effort to make the climb.

The Piazza from the first outdoor landing.

Still a long way to go

Luckily for me the stair opened up a bit.

View from the lower landing at the top

The crowning bell at the top

A framed view of the Duomo

Happy traveler

View down to the Piazza

We stayed at the top for maybe a half an hour, then descended back to the ground.

After a little shopping and a visit to the local Duomo where Sarah went in while I checked out the visitors outside and tried to create more room on my phone for photos.  She said it was beautiful inside with the marble floors uncovered for a viewing that only happens one month per year.  I should have gone in too, but was happy to just hang out in such a nice place.

The Duomo steps

Tourist from afar

We rode back to Poggibonsi along the same route.

Sarah had found a restaurant suggestion that we decided to try.  I believe it was a vinoteque, or small restaurant called "I Love You."  It had only four tables and was run by a young married couple.  The wife cooked and the husband ran service, including wine selections.  He was out when we sat down and the wife graciously went over the menu with us.  She was a delight.  We ordered and had a great dinner.  So tasty that we went there the next night too.

Nice wine

The cook in her modest kitchen

Chicken in mushroom

And layered eggplant among other delights.

1 comment:

  1. ...and Vicki and I thank Sarah for finding this restaurant. It was fantastic. But then most restaurants in Italy are.