When I first arrived in Sienna I thought this could be a let down after Venice. And I admit that Hotel Alma Domus – run by nuns was quite sterile, my room austere, and breakfast next morning even more Spartan. Felt like I was doing penance for all the gaiety and fun I’ve been having.
OK – time to go exploring and see what this little town has to offer. Wound my way around in the small streets and up and down alleyways to a steep little road that opened to one of the most spectacular city squares I have seen. II Campo is the heart of Sienna and forms a gigantic amphitheatre with bars and restaurants circling 3 sides all facing the 330-foot the city tower (the tallest in Italy). The tower dominates the square and offers panoramic views as a reward for climbing the 300 narrow stairs to the top of the tower.
The Duomo in Sienna is packed with Renaissance art, inlaid marble floors, magnificent stripped columns, a marble pulpit resting on the backs of carved lions, statues by Michelangelo and Bernini (thought to be Italy’s finest sculpturist), and its massive coffered dome. Quite impressive! It was built in the 1200s and artists spent almost 200 years creating the inlaid marble floors with scenes from the Old Testament, allegories, and intricate patterning. Such antiquity!
Then it was onto the Church of San Domenico, which shadows over my small hotel.
Sienna was like a religious experience – I’m feeling quite cleansed, confessed, and ready to return to my mischievous and playful ways. Onto the the Isleta de Giglio tomorrow.