For the past 12 years, I have been day dreaming and talking about one of my most favourite life experiences. The experience that probably planted a travel bug in me and made me tell every single university student to do the same. 12 years ago I decided to join a student exchange program and study Tuscan architecture in Siena, Italy. I had the most amazing time and met the most awesome friends because of that decision. Fast forward 12 years…… I’M BACK!!! For 2 days, but I’m back!
Thanks to great timing and willing participation of my sister who lives in Rome now and organized all the transportations, I got to come back to Siena and share all my experiences with her. Must say, Siena has not changed at all, everything is where it used to be. From the coffee shop up the street from our residences to the tobacco shop selling bus tickets to Florence. It’s tripping me out and strangely impressing my sister how I remember random things and they are still the same but I guess that’s the charm of a small town Italy.
Via di Città was our stumping ground and I got to revisit it. If I could only remember the amount of times we spent walking up and down the streets of Siena, in search of food, water or just finding the others in our group to go for gelato.
NOW; holy, this place is still a tourist hub. Middle of October and there are so many people in the campo. The centre of Siena. Plazza del Campo is filled with life and there’s always a crowd of people sitting on the ground sunbathing or just hanging out with a drink. It’s were Siena comes alive. Also, come July, Campo is the ground for the famous Palio horse racing match. Tuscans take Palio very seriously and if you are able to make it to Siena in July make sure to participate in all the festivities. Flag throwing, family (Contrada) parties and the race itself, it’s very lively. I remember all the times we would all hangout at the campo, sitting on the ground and just talking. Well, in my case “nursing a bottle of beer” as one of my friends would say. Click on the picture below to get an idea how it is!
Check out the view of Siena from the top of the Medicea fort. Thanks to the geography of the area, Siena is filled with hill tops overlooking the town. I can wake up to this view everyday….
Siena Duomo is a huge landmark and it’s beautiful inside and out…. There are so many levels to this church and I had to go everywhere!!! Both the interior and exterior of the Duomo is beautifully decorated.
My sister was very clear about not wanting to climb stairs too much but she kind of had too…. I promised her that we are going to enjoy a great lunch by the Campo after we climb the stairs and maybe get gelato!!!!
Who wouldn’t climb some stairs for this……. plus some fresh bread and Chianti!
and……GELATO!!!! People where just going in to take pictures of this place….I went to EAT!
…..Can I get some mixed berries and Nutella!…..
Back on to the memory lane…. Let’s go back to my school! University of Siena, had classes all over the town and my class happen to be beside the Basilica di San Clemente in Santa Maria dei Servi. This place has the best views of the town, and unfortunately it was under renovation so I couldn’t get in. I guess it does look a bit tired…. it’s only 100s of years old!!!
How beautiful is this…. I’m not even sure how I managed to go to the classes with a view like this and not just sit on the church stairs and daydream…..
After spending a day walking around Siena, we spent the rest of the night shopping for souvenirs and little treats for ourselves. One of the things I got for myself to remind me of my time in Siena again was a bottle of Acqua dell’Elba. Their store on Via di Citta sprays fresh goodness into the street and it was too intoxicatingly beautiful for me not to buy a bottle (Stay tuned about my post about them!)
At night, we spend the evening drinking wine by the Campo and had awesome food while people watching.
Siena, you have been great and I hope to be able to come back and visit again. Hopefully sooner than 12 years. I wonder if it be the same next time I’m back to visit, would I be able to find my way around to my favourite pizza place or remember how to go back to my school off memory. I guess we’ll find out when I’m back again….
Next stop on the trip, Rome!