340 – Friday 25th March 2016: Siena 1
Our arrival at this free overnight parking could not have been more timely – at about 1:00 pm ! Within a half hour, it almost filled with other motorhomes – we were very lucky to get a spot to suit our longer bus – obviously, the same parking Apps are being used by everyone. Our local public transport bus driver let us on free – as the nearby Tabacheria was closed – and at a subsequent stop, showed us where to get tickets! And waited whilst K went in to make the transaction. Would this happen in UK? Swiftly into the Centro Storico – we assumed our roles – me behind the lens – and K as the Gour Tide – whoops, Tour Guide! The Piazza del Campo is stunning – but I don’t fancy taking part in the Piazza Grand National (even without fences) – perhaps Mr Tim Leslie might be interested! The Duomo is impressive – but we must say that Orvieto is the biz when it comes to the Duompetition! The library and Baptistry contain magnificent works of art – lots by the Sienese School….. Late afternoon… we had earlier found a lovely small cafe where to coffee was very cheap and good – we now discovered that a glass of vino rosso was all of Euro 2! So, we expended Euro 8 of our daily fiscal allocation. Thus emboldened, we confidently set off on the number 10 bus to home. This number 10 bus didn’t go anywhere near home – K was tracking it on our MapsMe App. As the photo shows – we were ‘lossppy’ – lost and happy. When we arrived at the end of the line – I approached the driver and said in my most fluent English “We’re lost !”. I might have said “Nostra divertimento !” – but it probably doesn’t mean anything even if it sounds good. Fortunately, our driver replied in very good English that we should stay on the bus – back into Siena, driver change and then home by a different route on the same bus. By now, I had managed to identify our home by combining “parcheggio camper, Esso and McDonalds” – this produced the resulting location – “FondofBecky” – best way we could remember it. Chardonnay welcomed us sometime later… and we welcomed the grapes of wrath, or what ever we were drinking.
It may be easter weekend, but the Italian campers are out in force … the car park really filled up.
Described as one of the prettiest Italian piazzas – Piazza del Campo. The red brick paving was started in 1327 and is in 9 sections to represent the Council of Nine who ran Siena and the triangular shapes to represent the folds of Madonna’s cape. The bell tower is the second highest Medieval Bell tower in Italy at 102 m. It is the location for the famous bareback horse race twice a years – Il Palio, which lasts all of 90 seconds. People lounging in the sun eating gelato … so we did too.
P. del Campo
Our first view of the Duomo … similar to Orvieto in that it is alternate layers of coloured stone, however …
… whilst impressive, the facade is not a patch on Orvieto.
Part of the Duomo – the Piccolomini Library – frescoes from 1509.
The Baptistry: Renaissance font by Quercia, Ghiberti and Donatello … we are getting more familiar with Italian artists and sculptors … for the moment … having sieves for brains they will soon sadly be forgotten.
Our return bus ride … after 2 large glasses of rosso, we really didn’t care where we travelled!
341 – Saturday 26th March 2016: Siena 2
Evening repose was ‘tranquile’ through the night – until….at 5:25 am (K checked her chronometer) – there was a loud banging on the door! K (in dressing gown) rushed to the door – to shower Easter well wishes on the entire family of the person who had rudely intruded on our somnolence – to be greeted by a chap from the local street cleaning vehicle – accompanied by a Polizia officer! All 17 motorhomes were instructed to leave the parking area – while the cleaning was conducted. We (and others) parked patiently on the road outside to await the signal for return and resumption of – sleep! Bizarre or what? Tea first then zzzzs. Somewhat later, I ran – we brekkied (someone stole my favourite breakfast cereal…[someone else had said there was spare!]) and once again bussed into Siena – by the way, a single ticket costs Euro 1.20! Our dour kite (I’m in trouble now !) – tour guide (I’m not really a cereal killer!) had an App for a walking tour – which took us to a number of churches, Duomo museum, Duomo Baptistry, public buildings – and St Catherine’s thumb! I’d better explain that, quickly. St Catherine of Sienna (patron saint of the city) – dedicated herself to God at age 8 – received the ’stigmata’ – some miracles were attributed to her – her head is preserved in the Basilica di San Domenico – and her thumb! This last was a bit gruesome for us….. K watched some German youths check their own digits as they left the viewing.
End of tour (we were cereaously thirsty) and back back to ‘our bar’ – of the cheap coffee and wine. A bit later, the number 77 bus took us unerringly to our site – which now contains even more vans – 22 at last count.
Siena is a most beautiful city, easy to navigate on foot – and we will return…
Chiesa di San Maria dei Servi – just nice to put up a pic of an unfinished church facade! The first Rose window obviously needed replacing!
Looking at the P. di Campo bell tower and the Palazzo Pubblico 1297 from the rear.
The Museo dell ‘Opera del Duomo houses the original artworks from the Duomo as well as pieces commissioned for the huge, but only partly built, nave expansion … the plague of 1348 killed over half the population and the expansion was shelved. You can climb to the top of part of the incomplete extension (two pics up – the tall arch by the Duomo), but sadly we were saved from the climb as there was an hour’s queue! Such a shame!!!
We really loved the mellow red brick and the fact that Siena is large enough to wander for a day and a half without covering the same ground.