“Whatever you do, enjoy a sleepy medieval evening in Siena.” Rick Steves
One of the biggest dilemmas while planning this vacation was whether to day trip to Siena from Florence or to stay one night. I had a view room reservation at the elegant Pensione Palazzo Ravizza which I hated to give up, but in the end I decided we’d take a late afternoon trip to Siena.
The Tuscan scenery, especially seeing the typical hill town Monterregioni from the coach windows was enjoyable. Once at Siena, the plan was simple: San Domenico, the Duomo, people watch while sipping coffee on the “secret” Key Largo Bar balcony overlooking Il Campo, and sampling the Sienese specialty panforte.
The trip was relaxing, and slow paced. San Domenico is a brick church, with expansive views of the surrounding countryside and St. Catherine of Siena’s thumb. The Duomo, a 13th-century Gothic cathedral, has a facade of pink, white and green marble and black and white striped columns inside. The very best part was entering the main piazza Il Campo in time to see the last of the sun’s rays shine on the “burnt sienna” colored face of City Hall and to watch the square’s business’s lights twinkle on as the sun set and the sky darkened while drinking coffee from the not so secret balcony.
All that remained was to stroll the narrow lanes and find a sweet shop. The panforte was sold by weight so we had slices of three different flavors: margherita (original), panpepato (spicy cinnamon and cloves), and chocolate – and it was yummy! We just missed a bus and had to wait an hour for the next one. Not enough time to find a place for dinner so we purchased a slice of pizza to hold us over until we got back to Florence.
Our day trip expenses: round trip bus fare 28.40 e, admission to the Cathedral 12 e, admission to San Domenico 3 e, Key Largo doppio cappuccini (It’s plural when it ends with the “i”) 3 e, panforte 4.20 e, and one pizza by the slice 1.5 e.
50 euros = One memorable day!