Siena! We spent a day in Siena. We had time for one day in one small Italian town and it came down to Pisa, Siena, or Assissi. Siena won out. Siena is a little Tuscan town, most famous for being the origin of the Crayola color "Burnt Siena".
|Just kidding, not about the origin of the color, but of the "most famous" part.|
We had this whole townhouse to ourselves, and for not much more than the cheapest hotel options I found for the whole trip!
|Told you it was beautiful.|
We taxied from across the train tracks into the city walls of Siena. On our way to the tourist-y things of Siena, we got a little distracted by this huge souvenir market.
|I don't care for shopping so much...|
|Lots of trinkets.|
|The souvenir market is in Piazza Giacomo Matteotti, but only on certain days in case you were wondering.|
|Il Campo translates to "The" Campo|
|We are hilarious.|
|"I must say this water is most refreshing to me on this most humid of days!" - polite pigeons of Siena|
Before we left Il Campo, I tried out an old Ohio State University legend: that if you yell out "O-H!" in a crowded tourist square anywhere in the world, that someone will shout back, "I-O!". You can't really hear it, but it worked!
After Il Campo we headed toward the Siena Cathedral - referred to as the Duomo. It's impossible to miss the tell-tale white and dark green striped complex of the Duomo. It's really several tourist attractions in one. There's the cathedral itself, the museum which includes the attempted extension of the Duomo, the crypts, and the baptistery. If you've got the time, I highly recommend the all-encompassing ticket that gets you into all of these museums. The place is incredible - even more so because it was all built in the 1200s.
|Looks like we made it.|
|That's me in the blue shirt in front of the center door.|
Also of note is the floor of the Cathedral which is spattered with enormous and elaborate mosaics depicting scenes from the bible.
There's a room just off of the nave of the Cathedral called the Piccolomini Library. The walls are filled with colorful murals depicting scenes from the life of Piccolomini who was from Siena and became Pope. The walls are lined with displays of ornate choir books.
|Scenes from Piccolomini's life.|
|More scenes - these blocked by some nudes.|
|My mom sits below a choir book that is nearly her size.|
After the main building of the Siena cathedral, we sat for a little while on the front steps...
|...my dad took a little nap.|
|It's a cross - get it? Cause of Christianity?|
|The nave here is labeled "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" and you can figure out the rest.|
|Line of arches and the inside of a would-be new facade of the unfinished expansion. See those two levels of empty windows over there on the right? We're going to climb that!|
|Skeptical Saint is skeptical.|
|Modest Mary is modest.|
The museum is the entrance to the would-be facade of the expansion of the church. Access to the two different levels of the expansion is granted via tiny spiral staircases.
Also this nervous smile:
She did put on a good face for most of the pictures, but not for all of them:
Consider this video a gift to the world:
Some of the views were pretty incredible:
|look at all the burnt siena|
|We all made it back down alive!|
|Baptismal Font depicting scenes from the life of John the Baptist (another big surprise).|
|There it is across this valley.|
We walked the long way around to avoid the climbing. The inside of this Cathedral is very plain. Virtually no decoration compared to every other church we visited in Italy. The plain walls made it seem even bigger than most, but overall we probably could have skipped this one and done something else. One remarkable thing we saw here was the head of Saint Catherine of Seina. No exaggeration. Her head! Apparently the people of Siena smuggled her head and thumb back to Siena in order to be put on display as relics. The practice of displaying human remains as relics is strange to me personally. We didn't see it at all in Rome, but in Siena and Florence it was everywhere.
|The Siena Duomo from nearby to the Basilica of San Domenico.|