Did Siena as a day trip from Florence.
Siena’s no less, the red buildings, the Cathedral, the Tower, the Plaza, views over the countryside make it another star destination. I left by the early morning bus from Florence. The old town certainly makes you feel as if you’re in a different era. The Piazza Del Campo was outstanding, one of the best squares I’ve ever seen. The entire had fascinated me by now. Went up the Tower ( Torre Del Mangia), the climb was quite a bit, but the views of the surrounding area and the town was totally worth it. Next was the Cathedral and the Duomo. The cathedral is probably unlike any other you would see in Italy, so richly decorated, huge and dark. Very different from the ones in Rome and Florence. I got the combo ticket for the Gates of Heaven. The Gates of Heaven tour takes you up the cathedral and you walk all around the cathedral, so you get to see the entire interiors of the cathedral from a good height. Later, visited the Picolomini Library, the paintings were really good and well restored. It’s also well lit and the lighting goes well with the color of the paintings.
Now it was lunch time, headed to Osteria Al Grattacielo, a very local place. Had a good vegetarian plate, with several unique items like barley in pesto sauce, cauliflower-cheese cake, potatoes with basil, aubergines, ribolita, all done very well.
Post lunch headed to the Battistero of the Duomo, another wonderful and grand building, then walked up the Campanile of the Duomo, to get beautiful views of the town and the tower and Piazza. The surrounding countryside too looked really good. Siena from here looks like straight out of your dreams or the movies. Then walked around the town looking for views of the countryside, but couldn’t find any, however the park down the town is worth a visit. Quite a green change from the red town.
Picked up a gelato, wandered around the main square and got an evening bus back to Florence. Had dinner at a place near Santa Maria Novella, had a colossal mozzarella salad, unfortunately I don’t have the name of the place, but it’s one of the well rated ones.