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March 28 - April 2, 2019


March 28.  We left Geneva around 7:30 and travelled 6 hours by train to Florence and then another 2 hours by taxi to reach the beautiful Tuscan town of Siena.  We met Anna and Franco, the owners of the apartment we are renting for 5 nights.  The apartment was previously a convent!  Poor Franco lugged our overweight bags up to our 3rd floor apartment.

March 29. We left our apartment around 10 a.m. and proceeded to the city center, Piazza del Campo (Campo Square).  Campo Square is one of Europe's greatest medieval squares and the historic center has been declared a UNESCO site.  We walked the cobblestone streets and admired  and all of the fabulous cafes and restaurants. We ate a breakfast of cheese omelette and sweet cookies and muffins which they called biscuits. At The Square observed Tower and clock church. fair amount of tourists already here but not bad at all. Noticed quite a few Yankees. We climbed a steep hill to the Siena duomo. Beautiful striped Tower and front of church. Carol bought  some trinkets for Christmas. Had a slice of pepperoni pizza that was disappointing as the pepperoni was really Bologna. yuck! You heard me. Bologna. I do not eat Bologna :-)

We highly recommend a company called "Tours By Locals".  We have used them in Europe and in New York. They are private Tours and we like them better than the larger tours sense they work out better for us. Our tour guide was Simonida Miletec. She is also a music teacher and an accomplished soprano. Here is a link to one of her performances from YouTube.

She took us on the street by Street tour of Siena. She focussed mainly on the piazza del Campo which is the city center. Then we went to the Duomo which is a very well-known Basilica. We lit a candle for Karen.

March 30. Walked back to Plaza Campo and had breakfast at Paleo where Lou had mozzarella tomato and Carol had ham and cheese croissant while we both had cappuccino. From there we walked outside the wall and down the hill and then realized we went too far. Walked back and found overlook area. Took lots of pictures and enjoyed the wonderful weather. Stopped at a cafe for a pasta lunch.

Sienna Tuscany, Italy   

The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008. Siena is famous for its cuisine, art, museums, medieval cityscape and the Palio, a horse race held twice a year.
Capitoline Wolf at Siena Duomo. According to a legend Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus. When they fled Rome, they took the statue of the She-wolf to Siena, which became a symbol of the town.
Siena, like other Tuscan hill towns, was first settled in the time of the Etruscans (c. 900400 BC) when it was inhabited by a tribe called the Saina. The Etruscans were a tribe of advanced people who changed the face of central Italy through their use of irrigation to reclaim previously unfarmable land, and their custom of building their settlements in well-defended hill forts. A Roman town called Saena Julia was founded at the site in the time of the Emperor Augustus. Some archaeologists assert that Siena was controlled for a period by a Gaulish tribe called the Senones.

According to local legend, Siena was founded by Senius and Aschius, two sons of Remus and thus nephews of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Supposedly after their father's murder by Romulus, they fled Rome, taking with them the statue of the she-wolf suckling the infants (Capitoline Wolf), thus appropriating that symbol for the town. Additionally they rode white and black horses, giving rise to the Balzana, or coat of arms of Siena with a white band atop a dark band. Some claim the name Siena derives from Senius. Other etymologies derive the name from the Etruscan family name Saina, the Roman family name Saenii, or the Latin word senex "old" or its derived form seneo "to be old".

Siena did not prosper under Roman rule. It was not sited near any major roads and lacked opportunities for trade. Its insular status meant that Christianity did not penetrate until the 4th century AD, and it was not until the Lombards invaded Siena and the surrounding territory that it knew prosperity. After the Lombard occupation, the old Roman roads of Via Aurelia and the Via Cassia passed through areas exposed to Byzantine raids, so the Lombards rerouted much of their trade between the Lombards' northern possessions and Rome along a more secure road through Siena. Siena prospered as a trading post, and the constant streams of pilgrims passing to and from Rome provided a valuable source of income in the centuries to come.

The oldest aristocratic families in Siena date their line to the Lombards' surrender in 774 to Charlemagne. At this point, the city was inundated with a swarm of Frankish overseers who married into the existing Sienese nobility and left a legacy that can be seen in the abbeys they founded throughout Sienese territory. Feudal power waned, however, and by the death of Countess Matilda in 1115 the border territory of the March of Tuscany which had been under the control of her family, the Canossa, broke up into several autonomous regions. This ultimately resulted in the creation of the Republic of Siena.

The Republic existed for over four hundred years, from the 12th century until the year 1555. During the golden age of Siena before the Black Death in 1348, the city was home to 50,000 people.
In the Italian War of 155159, the republic was defeated by the rival Duchy of Florence in alliance with the Spanish crown. After 18 months of resistance, Siena surrendered to Spain on 17 April 1555, marking the end of the republic.


The street in front of our apartment

Carol at the door of our apartment in Siena

Piazza del Campo

Carol at the Piazza del Campo

Piazza del Campo

A cafe at Piazza del Campo. Yummy food.

Lou having breakfast at the Piazza del Campo

The fountain at the Piazza del Campo

The music hall

The Duomo facade

The next several pictures are of the interior of the Duomo

The views were amazing

The city walls of Siena


Europe 2019




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