Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Siena......with Paolo

So next we were off to Siena with Mario Andretti behind the wheel!  If you have never ridden with an Italian man, trust me, it is an experience.  Paolo didn't have to tell me twice that his next car would be a Ferrari!

Paolo is from Siena so knows everything there is to know about it and how to get there.  Our first stop was the duomo.  I commented that although I had been there a few times before, I did not recognize where we were in town.  He said of course I did and next thing I knew we popped out right next to the duomo!  (Usually you have to park far away and walk, walk, walk.)

I was liking Paolo more and more by the minute.......

Unfortunately it was a holiday, Siena was packed and there was a looooong line for tickets.  It is a beautiful church which I have visited before but the other ladies had to settle for just seeing the outside.

Then we were off on our walking tour. 

First, Paolo wanted us to see the littlest window in the world.  It was so small, Paolo had to almost walk me up to it to see it.  (I thought it was some kind of antenna!)

Then to the famous Il Campo Piazza shaped like a clam shell where the famous Palio is held each year.  Each district (contrata) of Siena enters a horse and rider in the race and they ride bareback in front of thousands of people.  It is a huge event and the opportunity to win bragging rights for the year.  There are no rules, except to win!!!

Paolo showed us where all the riders assemble and the area where in days gone by the people used to tether their horses.

And here are the flags that represent each contrata which can be seen hanging throughout the districts.

He showed us many of the local sites including the chapel of St. Catherine of Siena.  No pictures of the inside are allowed but here are a couple of shots of the interior loggia and exterior church.

We were already exhausted when he told us we were heading back to the car.  This is where we were and the car was waaaaay over where the top of the church can be seen.  So my good idea was Paolo go get the car and we will start walking downhill!!!

We walked down, down, down and here came Paolo, thank God!

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