For two weeks in April, my mum was taking an Italian course in Padua, Italy. On her weekends she was visiting family in Bologna, Conegliano and San Giovanni Rotondo… and visiting some prosecco wineries along the way (surprise surprise). For her last weekend before flying back to Canada, we decided to meet for a weekend in Tuscany, more specifically, Siena. With a quick flight and train, I found myself walking around Florence for a few hours waiting for my mum’s train to arrive. Filling ones time in Italy is quite easy and requires 2-3 eur and a pair of comfortable walking shoes: grab some gelato and go find a nice view spot to see the entire city, such as the orange gardens of Rome or Castelmola of Taormina. For my limited time in Florence, I grabbed my gelato from Gelateria La Carraia and walked up to Piazzale Michelangelo of Florence, as per my cousin’s recommendation. I’m really glad I didn’t climb those stairs in the dead heat of summer… but my goodness the view is worth it and it would be the perfect spot to share a bottle of wine with your travel partner.
Once we were reunited in the Florence train station, we took our next train to Siena. Once we were out of the Siena train station (which took us about 10 minutes – those of you who have been to Siena would understand), it wasn’t long until we walked through the walls of Siena’s old town. Our AirB&B was right in the city centre, a stones throw away from the famous Piazza del Campo. This piazza is where Palio di Siena takes place. Twice a year, in June and August, ten horses and riders represent their districts (or Contradas) and compete in a race around the perimeter of the piazza. We came to see the piazza and relax with a glass of prosecco on a cafe along the perimeter, which was a great way to catch up and start the weekend (and people watch). That evening, we grabbed a light dinner of pizza and prosecco (I think my cousin Olivia would vouch that prosecco is it’s own food group).
The next couple days were spent walking around Siena and seeing some sights. My mum had this great little walking tour book that she found on amazon… and it look us to some very quiet, local areas – it was a great addition to our weekend! On the Sunday morning, we made sure to be the first ones in line for the Tower of Mangia, which has beautiful views over the piazza and the surrounding area. While we waited outside the doors, we lucked out and saw the parades of the Contradas starting from the Cappella di Piazza. But we didn’t let this show distract us for too long… we made it to the front of the line and were the first people at the top of the tower!! This was a highlight to the trip. It was even better to have the views all to ourselves for the first few minutes — definite tourist hack for Siena!
As usual, some highlights to the weekend:
- Duomo di Siena
- Santa Maria della Scala
- Fortezza Medicea
- Tower of Mangia
- Basilica Cateriniana San Domenico
- wine, meat and cheese @ La Prosciutteria
- Digestives and una dolce @ Bar Pasticceria Nannini
- Focaccia @ Menchetti Focaccia ** Highly recommend the wait
- Pasta @ Osteria Il Carroccio
This post was supposed to be posted for Mother’s Day and my mum’s birthday… but I was running on Italian time! Mama mia!
Love you, mum! To Malta (the moon) and back.