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yuliangpang Siena - A travel report by yuliang
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Siena,  Italy - flag Italy -  Toscana
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yuliangpang's travel reports

Siena-taking some time for me to define its nature

  12 votes
Page: 1 2
Another day trip on this weekend, but this time the destination became Siena, which lies at the hinterland of Tuscany. Before I set out, i really did a lot of work to make sure that i were well prepared to explore this well-known city in Tuscany.

Piazza del Campo
Piazza del Campo
I read Eyewitness Travel Italy first and then downloaded more infomation about the history of the city itself and its main sightseeings. I caught up with the train (Rome-Siena) scheduled on 7:12, but the train was too slow, and it took around three hours to get here, including one change stop at Chiusi.

It took around half an hour from the Siena train station to its masterpiece sightseeing place, Piazza del Campo, on foot. It was really an eye-openner when you unexpectedly found that you were approaching this so called the most beautiful square in Europe and i could not help keeping making photographies from different positions. The bell tower was so outstanding among the surrouding buildings that caught my first attention very easily. It took some time for me to come back to the ground to make further exploration of this beautiful square. For me, its beauty does not lie at its magnitude, but at the harmonous atmosphere of the whole things here. The well compatible blue sky and the reddish brick buildings put you in such a colorful and refreshing setting that you forgot the exertion of travel immediate and stood ready for making necessary explorations. There were two nice buildings deserving your visit in this shell-shaped square. One is the bell tower itself, the other one is the Museum Palazzo Pubblico. But Both of them were not free, the prices for visiting the two were 12 Euros, I did not hesitate to do that. Climbing to the top of the bell tower was not as pleasant and easy as it did look like. The stairs was very narrow and only one person was allowed to pass. A lot of people were huffing and puffing when they got to the top, but anyway it did deserve. Because you could not find an even better position to see the panorama of this beautiful town. Descending was even more dangerous than climbing up. You had to be very careful, otherwise you would head onto the walls.

Favourite spots:
what's people doing here
what's people doing here
Landing from the vertiginous top of the bell tower down to the earthing, i could not help looking up this skycraper again, but what i could fould were only encircled walls and a piece of rectangle-shaped sky, which reminded me of the chinese story, the Frog in the Shadow Well, which says that a frog who lives in a shadow well believes the sky is as big as what he can see.

The Museum Pubblico deserved your visit too, there were magnificant frescos on the ceillings and the walls of the building. It was a three-store exhibition. The first floor was about the frescoes, the second was about the archeological excavation. the third floor was an open area, you could see the well decorated wood beams of the building there. But it was a pity that there was no information or any tourist guide to tell you what they were about. I made a very quick stroll, but when i finished, i found that i was not educated better, i did not have any idea what the frescoes were about, though they looked nice.

What's really great:
the duomo
the duomo
Another sightseeing is the Duomo. It was spectacular, but when came to the entrace and realized that it required ticket too, i became a little bit disappointed and discouraged. I had visited so many churches in Italy and even in Europe, it was the first time that i had to pay for visiting a church. Maybe there were something valuable inside, but it was not seducing to me any more. Especially after i finished the bell tower and the Museum Pubblico, i realized they were a little bit expensive comparing with the train tickets from Rome to Siena and with what you got from there. But when i got around further, i felt even more disappointed, because most of the nice places required tickets. The passion for further exploring this city was dying out very quickly. I can tell tourism is the major revenue for this small city, but you feel discouraging and less efficient that you have to wait a long queue for getting a ticket at every nice place.

the bell tower and the Public Palace in the Evening
the bell tower and the Public Palace in the Evening
If you feel everything is driven only by commercial interests, you will be kept away. Unfortuately the further you explored this city more, the stronger you felt this kind of impression here. In some way, Siena did not live up to the high expection before i came. As i mentioned earlier, i did do a lot of homework and tried to make myself well prepared to know more about this city, but the reality was that i did not find it was useful, because you did not know how to find a way that well connected all those information that you already know with the nice buildings. What you could get from the turist office and even the musuem were only buying their own books as tour guides.

The frog in the shadow well
The frog in the shadow well
i did not stay in Siena, but i could tell from my experience here was that the hotels would not be cheap.

again the bell tower
again the bell tower
It would be the most pleasing things that you walk around or just find a place somewhere in the Piazza and sit down del campo and watch the to-and-fro crowds.

what does it look like
what does it look like
My own discovery here:

1. it is interesting to find the emblem, she-wolf suckling two infants which claims to be the symbol of Rome, scatters around very corner of this city, meanwhile it is very difficult to find it in Rome.

2. Is it a door bell

I found a lot of iron rings on the historical area of the city, but i did not know what they were, my accompanying friend guessed it served as a door bell. I was not conviced and tried to find the answer from the local people. I was told that it were used to tie the horses in the ancient time.

nice frame, overlook from the bell tower
nice frame, overlook from the bell tower
I found an very special place in the centre of the town. The name of the restraunt was called De Miccoli where you could order bread, cheeses and meats, Prosciuto, Salami and smoked pork, as well as wine. But it was a little bit expensive, 41 Euro for two persons. Photo and film are not allowed here.

There is another place just at the left corner of the Batistry of the Duomo. I did not remember the name of the restraunt, which provided a set of menu, including on one piece of bread, one pasta and one cup of water. The price was only 8.5, it was very seducing especially for those who were very hungry. The truth was that it did not look like. Everything was too small, when i finished my order, i could not help feeling starvated when i walked around.

Other recommendations:
Rome's Enblem is everywhere in Siena
Rome's Enblem is everywhere in Siena
Maybe i am too particular to Siena, because what i experienced here was nothing different from any other tourist spots. Maybe it was i, like any other outsider, that disturbed the own lives of local people here. They were fed up with tourists who poured into their home town all year around and they could not go back to the peaceful life as they had before.

Published on Sunday October 26th, 2008

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Thu, Nov 06 2008 - 06:44 AM rating by rangutan

Great report, needs a bit of work in it's layout or content though.

Tue, Oct 28 2008 - 05:57 AM rating by gloriajames

great writing ! well done.

Mon, Oct 27 2008 - 04:55 AM rating by tokyomike

Nice report! I lived a year in Firenze and we often went for the day to Siena. Even back then -- 20 years ago -- it was leaning toward the excessively commercial, and I see they never slowed. lol But some of the views from the city into the countryside were striking, and hanging out in the day was always so relaxing. I also never spent a night there, but it's something I'd like to do some day.

Thanks for bringing back some fond memories!

Sun, Oct 26 2008 - 01:53 PM rating by jorgesanchez

Very informative and useful report

Sun, Oct 26 2008 - 08:48 AM rating by marianne

Very beautiful photos and interesting information.

Sun, Oct 26 2008 - 07:44 AM rating by davidx

I was torn betwen 4* or %8 but I am not assessing English usage - I've too much respect for those who plough through my language at all - and I find this not only honest but informative. Perhaps you should try a less visited area like Marche or Abruzzo.

Sun, Oct 26 2008 - 07:21 AM rating by krisek

Yuliang, a very honest report from Siena. My experiences from Italy are similar - it is not a cheap place to visit. Lovely photographs in the report, and well done about the horse tie ring discovery! It would be great if you could write some more about hangouts, places to chill without necessarily spending money on it :)

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