Friday, May 30, 2008
Heavenly Experiences--Siena, Italy
The second to last day of our Italian adventure, after a whirlwind tour of Florence, we decided to go somewhere a little smaller, the famous town of Siena. We took the first hotel shuttle to the train station and then waited at the bus station for the first bus to Siena. An hour after riding (or sleeping in my case) through the Tuscan countryside, we arrived. It was drizzling slightly but nothing you couldn't just brush off. Since travel guides are amazingly heavy and Doug was already lugging his camera we decided to wander hoping to find the important sites by chance or depending on my recollection, though I'd only been to Siena in '95 and '98. Luckily, or unfortunately there were plenty of tour groups to follow to the main cathedral complex or the central piazza.
As you can see in the photos, the cathedral in Siena is an exceptional one. It is one of the largest in Italy, and hence the world. But not only is its shear size impressive but the amount to art and craftsmanship that went in to creating it is simply astounding. It was built with black and white marble and the entire ceilings are magnificently painted. Not to mention the marble inlay floors, stained glass windows, and individual altars. The baptistry, crypt, and towers are all worth a visit. If you climb to the top, this is your view:
As far as the eye can see it is rolling Tuscan hills and pastures. Or you can look down and see this:
Note that there are three distinct tour groups listening to their guides. They travel in packs, and our favorites are the German retirees or the Asians, because they have the biggest cameras.
It's Friday afternoon, I'm off to take the kids to the park before it gets too late.