Spotting the contrade while walking in the streets of the historic center of Siena was a fun way to explore the Tuscan city.
But, of course, we had “bigger” sights to discover. And as always, there was something in it for each of us.
“The” Piazza del Campo
The Piazza del Campo was a stone’s throw (ok, maybe just a little bit more) away from our hotel, the B&B Piazza Duomo.
A hop, skip, and jump away…
Lo and behold, the magnificent medieval Piazza del Campo, the site of the Palio di Siena, stretched before us in all its glory! Junior couldn’t believe his luck – a huge, shell-shaped, sloping piazza all to himself (well, almost!) :). He got busy right away, examining and walking along the radiating lines dividing Il Campo into nine sections. B and I had ample time to walk around and admire the heart of Siena. The Torre del Mangia stretched high above us, almost reaching for the sky. The Palazzo Pubblico and other buildings surrounding the square were awash in the afternoon sunlight. The Fonte Gaia (a reproduction; the original is in a museum at Siena) attracted several photographers and visitors.
As evening set in, families walked around the square, gelato in hand (duh! :)), exchanging greetings with friends. A few young students were engrossed in sketching the piazza and its buildings. A bunch of kids squealed and ran without a care in the world (that’s what I love about piazzas in Italy!).
On a bright Sunday morning, we walked across the historic center (after a brief halt at the Duomo) to bask in the outdoors at the Fortezza Medicea (free entry!). This fort, with origins dating back to the 16th century, provided Junior all the open space he needed and offered us pretty vistas all around – of hills in the distance and of the beautiful historic center of Siena. As locals enjoyed their morning walk or jog and kids pedaled on their “two-wheelers”, we strolled along the periphery of the walls, explored the little amphitheater in the same complex, marveled at the picture-perfect views of the center of Siena.
And then… it was time to bid adieu to the beautiful city. Oh, well, before that… A small park and pond outside the fort were a mandatory pit-stop for the baby of our family (he would definitely disagree about the “baby” bit :); well, the “little boy” of our family). So, after that little halt, we waved goodbye to the swans, pigeons, turtles… and Siena.