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Friday, December 16, 2011

T & R : Siena (Day 9 out of 14 days in Italy)

Travel & Review : Siena (Day 9 out of 14 days in Italy)
From Florence, the trip to Siena is best taken via a bus. I am not anti-train or anything to that similitude but the fact is Siena is like an enclave in which the entire town is practically castled with walls and the train station is outside and a few miles away from it. By taking the bus, it will take you into the town itself which is what you are interested in (or at least I was).
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A city that still honour traditions such as the Palio races that take place twice a year which challenges the best contrada (Districts within Siena which still exists today).
Siena does not allow any form of private vehicles within its walls so its all walk and walk and walk.
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Streets of Siena (above)

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Piazza Salimbeni (above)
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(above) The top of the duomo of Siena calling visitors to visit.
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Every winning contrada (district) in the Palio race will be filled up with lights as a way to tell the entire town where all the celebration will be held.
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(above) The Duomo of Siena.
(Below) Views from inside the Duomo of Siena
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A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Siena is a city/town that is not to be missed. Hire a tour guide that is native to Siena (if you hire a tour guide that is native to Florence then you will get another version of Siena from him/her because Florence and Siena in spite of hundred of years of peace between them, they still don’t like one another). Whatever you do, if you want the facts then you can always read the wikipedia version http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siena but if you want a mesmerizing story about Siena then hiring a local tour guide is a must!
(below) Piazza Del Campo. The centre of Siena where the Palio race will take place. It also has a water fountain (an aqua duct made centuries ago) that supply fresh mineral underground water. Very very cooling on a hot summer day. (This is underground water thus it is not exactly 100% bacteria free thus if you know you have a weak stomach/immune system then don’t drink from it. I drank from it and I was fine…..love the water actually!)
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If you have been following my article, you will know that I love to climb towers so I could not miss the chance to do so while I was there.
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And the view from the top is just pure amazing………
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I love Siena. While you aimlessly walk around the city, notice the symbol attached to the walls of the different contrada. Each represent a district and each is depicted by different symbols (thus the many flags)
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And if you managed to get to the outskirt of this castled city of Siena then, you will be treated to a magnificent picturesque view. (below)
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Need a place to sleep after all that long walk exploring every crooks and crannies of Siena then you may want to consider Hotel Athena.
Be warn though, that Hotel Athena is at the outskirt of Siena (ie. near the walls) thus if you take the bus and alight in the middle of the city (like poor me) then you may have to lull your luggage for the next 30minutes or so to reach the hotel if you decide to walk.
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Early next morning, (One day and one night is sufficient for Siena), grab some CAVALLUCCI for breakfast or as souvenirs (locals told me it can last for weeks without refrigeration!) and take the bus to head towards ROME.





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