Siena is a charming Tuscan hill town in Italy. The streets wind and twist with tall buildings on either side. The ground is cobble stone and there is a different charming shop or restaurant around every corner. The large “square” (actually shaped more like a crescent) is called Piazza del Campo. It’s very touristy, but a visit to Siena is not complete without checking it out. My husband and I have visited Siena before and done all the sights, so this visit was strictly to enjoy the ambiance of the city.
We arrived by car and parked in a very convenient parking garage just outside of town. Entering the walled area of the city will get you a ticket unless you are a resident and have a special sticker. We walked up the stairs into the city and started looking for signs. The city had signs for the Duomo and the Piazza on almost every corner, so finding your way there shouldn’t be a problem. The biggest problem is finding your way out of Siena! (more on that later!!)
Wednesday is market day in Siena, so we had to find the Fortezza Medicea parking lot. Italians are so friendly and happy to help, so a few locals pointed us in the right direction. It was as amazing as I remember from the last time we were here. Italian markets are basically a large department store where each department is owned and run by a different entrepreneur. You can find just about anything here! I remember the first time I went to an Italian market in my 20’s and used the back of a van to try on clothes. It was full of other girls trying on clothes too, not creepy! It’s one of those experiences I won’t ever forget. 🙂 This time I wasn’t looking for clothing, but for souvenir scarves and a cheap table cloth that I loved, but wouldn’t be so pricey that stains from the kids would bother me. The market didn’t disappoint!
The market can be hectic and when you have two young children, it’s hard to take as many photos as you would like to. There are lots of locals doing their weekly shopping as well as many tourists exploring. I didn’t get any of the amazing selections of purses, belts, linens, clothing or electronics, but I did get some of the food and plant areas. I guess I was hungry! 🙂
I found a beautiful table cloth and a few scarves (my tablecloth was lost in my luggage on my way home so I don’t have any pictures, boo! Thank goodness it was only 10 Euros.) I was very pleased with my purchases and ready to find some lunch when we left.
We stopped at a cute little restaurant down an alley and ate the most delicious gnocchi with sautéed vegetables and sage. It was the stuff dreams are made of and I have tried to recreate the dish at home, but not yet gotten it right. Try, try again…..
Next up was a visit to the Piazza del Campo where the Il Palio is held.
Siena is a very walkable city. Sights are pleasantly close together and provide a good way to walk off your lunch or desert.
We sat on the ground in Piazza del Campo as so many tourists, students and locals seem to do. Our children chased pigeons and we enjoyed the flood of people streaming in from all directions. It’s one of those European sights that you must get the chance to experience. We enjoyed the beauty of it all for quite a long time, took some selfies and then decided to find the Duomo.
Here is a video of the children chasing pigeons.
The Duomo is spectacular and hearing the bells chime is a magical and romantic life event!
It was time to go and we had to figure out where we parked the car. Now the tricky thing about Siena is that there are no straight streets and they all look the same because buildings line either side of each road. My best advice is to make sure you take a picture of the street names and the parking lot where you parked. At the very least, you can ask a local to direct you.
We finally found our car, but it was a hassle and stressful. I hope you won’t have that issue. 🙂