Siena


Picture of the day - Archangel Michael looks out over Siena from atop of the Cathedral Facade
The weather was set fine for the day and after 90mins travelling from Borgo di Vagli we arrived without incident at the Il Campo car park in Siena.

Every street was festooned with flags and ornate street lights.
This flag belongs to the Tartuca (tortoise) contrada. Traditionally, its residents were sculptors
Immediately outside the car park we were faced with a street full of flags - each ward (contrada) is represented by an animal or mascot, and has its own boundary and distinct identity.

Window shopping
Apart from the flags and colourful street lights, the streets were typical narrow streets of old Italy, bordered by lovely 'smart shops' selling everything from hand made paper to vegetables.


Ornate sculptures decorate the facade of the Cathedral
Eventually, after much window shopping, we reached the Cathedral Square. The architecture, and its decoration, is fabulous and lots of photos were taken. Alas none worthy of show, lots of converging verticals - oh for a tilt & shift lens. Never mind I'll have to make do with postcards and calenders.

Although we did eventually go inside the Cathedral, (I don't particularly enjoy churches etc., I'm usually dragged round them though by Barbara, who enjoys the atmosphere), we agreed the priority was to visit Piazza del Campo, the tower (Torre del Mangia), and have some lunch.


Piazza del Campo and Torre del Mangia - taken from our lunchtime Cafe with the 'superior' view.
On reaching the Piazza del Campo (of Pallio fame), we took many photos before being enticed into a Cafe - by its superior balcony view. There we had a very pleasant beer and a peppery ham & mozzerella panini. Very relaxing but on reflection it would have been better eating and watching the world go by from one of the tables in the Piazza.


One of the many obstructed viewpoints from the Torre del Mangia
After lunch we made our way to the Torre del Mangia and queued for 20mins for the privilege of climbing the 300+ steps to the top - hopefully for great views of the rooftops of Siena and surrounding countryside.

It wasn't a difficult climb just warm, and there were some great views but most were obscured by safety fencing or netting. 


The Torre del Mangia makes its presence felt wherever you go in Siena
On returning to terra firma we made our way back to explore the Cathedral, Crypt, Baptistry and finally the 'Panorama' - the original East wall of the Cathedral.

(The Cathedral was originally intended to be the largest in existence, with a north-south transept and an east-west aisle, as is usual, but after completion of the transept and the building of the east wall  the money ran out and the rest of the cathedral was abandoned).
The 'Panorama'provided the best uninterrupted photos of the day, esp. of the Torre del Mangia and the Piazza. But my favourite was the sillouette of the Archangel Michael - my Picture of the Day.  
 
My Picture of the Day

Finally another image I'll never forget - Siena has a large music school and all day we were serenaded from hidden music rooms and various street performers. However this poor girl (photo taken from the 'Panorama') just could not get it right. She insisted playing classic pieces at 33rpm instead of the normal 45rpm - so mournful. Never mind she kept us entertained all day. I hope she graduates, eventually, with honours.


A street entertainer who just couldn't get it right



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