You shouldn´t miss....
........the Piazza Il Campo.........the Duomo Santa Maria Assunta........the Torre del Mangia........the small and noarrow streets........the pizzerias.............Nannini´s cappucino..........the kids running after the doves on Il Campo......the Fonte Gaia........the gelaterias.........the medieval charme of the town!!!! I really love the Duomo ........and the views you get from the Torre del Mangia.... On the one hand you have the city under your feet and on the other hand you can have a look over the wonderful Tuscan scenery from here!
Crete Senesi - out of this world :-)
On my way back to Siena from Abbazia Monte Oliveto Maggiore (see next tip) I took road SP/SS438 east from Asciano to Arbia to get to SS73/E78, the two-lane highway which connects Siena with Perugia. In parts this road is on a higher elevation than its surroundings and makes driving something like floating over it. The landscape is being said to be moonlike, which I find a bit too philosophical, but nevertheless it is both strange and beautiful. As if time stands still and only clouds fly over it. The soft rolling hills are either farmland or pasture land, but coherent and not torn apart from each other. This and their rather huge dimensions lets the eye rest and yes, lets the soul come to peace. When I drove through, the cloudy and cold November weather added a special atmosphere to this all: the sun sent some light rays across the green-brown land, something I always call holy light, one of the reasons I believe why this part of Italy (Umbria and Toscana) has brought so many saints to the world.
© Ingrid D., November 2010 (just in case, RickS or others come along and think they can steal texts).
Bus tickets not on the bus
Unlike in Germany, for example, you don't buy your bus tickets on the bus in Italy. You go to one of the many "Tabacchaio", those little shops and kiosks where you can buy cigarettes, magazines and stamps, and get your bus tickets there.
If you are there for longer, you might want to buy a whole bunch of them, then you don't have to find a tabacchaio every time you need bus tickets.
You stamp the bus ticket only when you're on the bus. From then on it's valid for an hour.
Every wednesday in Siena there is a huge market. Everything between socks and food are sold there. A great opportunity to get some souvenirs for good price. Tablecloths for 5 €, shoes for 15-30 €, leather handbags for 20-50 €, leather belts for 10 €. Prosciutto 10€/kg.
The only thing that was missing was scarfs - there was some but those were from winter stock (in June). All people in Siena shop here for they don't have any department stores.
Half built cathedral
The Duomo of Siena is quite an intimidating structure, built in green & white marble blocks on top of Siena's highest hill between 1215 & 1376. The Sienese had big plans for the church and what you see today is just a fraction of what it was intended to be.
In the 14th century, the plague badly hit the city wiping out a large number of the people and of course, funds. Therefore, the church was left unfinished and you can still see the incomplete sections even today