Monday, October 14, 2013


My first trip to Siena was in 2009 when I sailed with Semester at Sea. It was an all too brief stop on an all day tour of Tuscany. I had the insanely good luck to be there on Il Palio so the town was filled with people, brightly colored flags and horses. I wanted to dig my feet in and not get back on the tour bus because the town was just that cool.

Lucky for me, Siena is a quick bus ride (ok, that's not entirely true if like me you get car sick. Then it's way too long & leaves you fairly green by the time you get there) away from Florence. Towards the end of Mer's stay in Florence we hopped the bus and headed out to Siena.

It was a great day trip. The town was busy, but there were enough side streets that we didn't feel crushed by people. We went to see the house & various severed body parts of St. Catherine of Siena (I like religious relics. I'm a bit ghoulish), and then we went to the Duomo.

This is where I have to confess that I wasn't entirely thrilled by visiting the Duomo again. I knew Mer should see it, but since I had already been there I wasn't relishing spending another $15 and waiting in a horrendously long line for something I'd already seen.

Within 10 seconds of walking into the Duomo I realized how incredibly stupid that train of thought was. The Duomo of Siena is just flat out spectacular. Worth every penny. Worth every second in that incredibly long line.

After the Duomo we followed the advice of my Brazilian friend and went to Da Divo for lunch. Da Divo specializes in truffle dishes so I was instantly sold. Add in the fact that they bring out a giant cheese wheel to mix your pasta dishes in and they grate they truffle right in front of you, and I was in truffle loving heaven. Mer is not a truffle person, and even she admitted that it was delicious. That's high praise from someone who thinks eating veggies is akin to torture.

I have to confess that Mer and I got on the wrong bus to get back to Florence. We had tickets for the express bus, but jumped the gun when we saw a bus that said Florence and just hopped on. Turns out that bus was the local bus. Ugh. It doubled the time it took to get home (and my level of car sickness). We got back just in time for a horrendous thunderstorm so we had to spend an extra 40 minutes hanging out in the bus depot waiting for the rain and lightening to pass.

Luckily the city decided to make up for the hassle with a gorgeous rainbow right over the Ponte Vecchio. It's hard to stay disgruntled when this is your view walking back.

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