Day 5: We rested during the morning before heading to the train station to take a 12:10PM train for a day-trip to Siena. Since it was a Sunday we got to know there would be lesser transportation in terms of buses. Siena was about an hour and a half from Florence. It is recommended to travel by bus as you get to pass scenic vineyards on the way. We walked from the station to the city center through the quaint little streets; there we visited Piazza del Campo which is a huge square. Siena is a walled city and the entire city has medieval brick buildings. Given it was a Sunday, most shops were shut which also meant lesser tourists. We then had lunch at one of the cafes in the streets and then went to the Siena Duomo, Cathedral of Siena. Then headed to the bus station and took an express bus back to Florence passing the picturesque vineyards. We later strolled through the streets of Florence and then had our last dinner in Florence.
Like San Gimignano, Siena's medieval architecture gives it its own unique bit of character, but on a larger scale. The walled cityscape consist of an adventurous maze of narrow streets, alleys, and corridors which lead to many famed areas of the city. Most notably, the Palio horse races which are held twice a year in Piazza del Campo.
This city has been lost in time, which makes it a fantastic place to visit on your next trip to Italy. The main highlight of the town is the annual horse race that takes place between the competing districts of the town. The main square is made into a horse track and everyone gathers around to watch a man from each district race the chosen horse, bareback, around the track. The first mounted horse to cross the finish line wins the race, plus the title for their district. If you’re not able to visit during the horse race, there are still plenty of things to check out during your trip. Start in the main square with the Piazza del Campo. You can’t miss the hovering bell tower, beautiful fountains and open brick area. The buildings that surround the Campo are tall and close together, leaving much to the imagination as they let you through narrow openings into the city streets. The city maintains a lot of its historical significance with well-maintained buildings, basilicas and street shops. You can easily spend a couple days exploring all of the nooks and crannies in this beautiful city.
Siena is a classic walled city and one of Italy’s prettiest medieval hill towns located in the heart of Tuscany with ca. 55 thousand inhabitants. It’s also the best preserved medieval city in Italy and I’ve read that the people of Siena speak the purest Italian in Italy – actually Italian language students often go there to learn the correct pronunciation. Its peak was about 1260-1348 when it was one of Europe’s wealthiest cities and many of its buildings and art works originate from that time. The center of Siena is accessible only on foot. Cars (other than taxis, police, etc.) are strictly prohibited, but motorcycles and scooters are OK – and there were plenty of them : -). Of course it’s like a fairytale to walk in this best preserved medieval city and maybe it is the warm colour of its buildings that also made it very special. After all, it is clay from surrounding district – terra di Siena – that gives us the colour in our crayon boxes; “Burnt Sienna”