Monday, January 7, 2008

In Siena

Jan 7, 1145 GMT

After a slow day yesterday, loss of electricity not withstanding, we had our act together this morning. We headed out relatively early towards Siena, which is the main town of the region after Florence, and just as old. One of the main attractions is pictured below: Il Campo. The building across the way is the City Hall. Above the clock in the top center of the frame extends a large tower, which the tour book mentions was built after the Hall was, and without any reinforcement of the foundation. So, the fact that of is still standing is itself a small miracle.

We enjoyed overpriced cappucinos in a café overlooking the bowl of the Campo. A couple of times a year they line the outside of the square with dirt, pack the interior with spectators, and actually run a horserace: Il Palio.

We also took in the main catherdral, built in the 1200 and 1300s, Il Duomo. The interior decorations feature an impressive frescoed library of enormous illuminated choir books. Some of the little chaples off to various sides are adorned with works by Donatello and Michelangelo. The floors have many scenes and saintly portraits inlaid in the marble floor.

We are now sitting down to lunch in a restaurant - Osteria Castelvecchio - recommended to us by one of Holly's former clerks, who discovered it with her husband on their Italian honeymoon. After this we'll wander around abut more before picking up Paul, whose numerous contacts here in Tuscany are what brought us out here in the first place. He is coming into town for his semi-annual trip. And we hope he can show us some of his favorite haunts further south.

Sent from my iPhone.

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