Sunday, November 27, 2005

Hills and Nuns...

...what else could you ask for in a quaint Italian city? Our visited started with checking in at the Alma Domus. It's not a convent, it's not a hotel but somewhere in between (I think it's that way to avoid taxes but that's just the cynical side of me for you). Quite entertaining though after a number of normal places to be checked in by nuns in full habit and have a room complete with yet another a beautiful view. Of Siena's Duomo this time. (and at night)

Another Duomo you say... This one though easily takes the cake. For me it surpasses Notre Dame in its overall beauty and gives the intrigue of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona a run for its money. The outside is basic but unique with its white and green striping. The inside though is a stunning collection of art work, architectural masterpieces and an atmosphere that is both very busy yet strangely appropriate. Beautiful mosaics and inlays litter the floor, detailed carvings of all the popes look over your sightseeing and lots of picturesque stained glass. All in all a very impressive place for us to visit and to just sit and relax. (And we were able to get this money holiday card shot)

In addition to the Duomo, we checked out the Bapistry, (non)-Crypt, and the Duomo museum. The combo pass for all of them ended up being a pretty good deal. You get a lot of value for your sightseeing dollar; we recommend it. The other primary sightseeing destination in Siena though (outside of Il Campo which I think is fairly underwhelming off-season) is just the town itself. We spent most of our time wandering through the streets and the 17 contrade (neighborhoods) and dealing with all the hills. Nowhere to go in town without hiking up or down. At this point my parents probably think we're trying to kill them. It made the gelato and tasty pizzas all the sweeter though.

One of the places we ate pizza led to all sorts of excitement. We chose the place because of its proximity to our room; evidently the AC Siena players choose it because it's so close to the stadium and make it a daily haunt. As a result, Becca and my mom got to drool over all the Serie A (Italy's top league) players strolling back and forth, all dressed to the nines (Armani-like suits w/ team insignias) and looking properly Italian (see here for the #1 whiplash cause for Becca & Elaine). Except for the little blond, balding guy who Becca first guessed was an assistant coach (which gave her the courage to go up and talk to him) but later turned out to be one of their better players.

Yes, we continued the football world tour in Siena, mainly in an attempt to see the team they were playing, Chievo Verona (CV plays an attacking style, rare in Serie A). Both teams are middle to lower table teams whose survival in the top flight is always in doubt at the start of the season. Thankfully both are off to decent starts so we were looking forward to seeing a great match in a quaint little 13,000 seat stadium tucked into the trees on one end of town. We still got to see a good match but one that was slowed considerably by the torrential downpours that had gone on all night and then the mini-flood that hit the town an hour before the game. Made for a lot of sloppy play (including one corner of the field where both teams just refused to go for fear of sinking) but overall an entertaining match (though my parents were surprised to see actual real linesmen, no brawls, etc. given their other experience). Plus Becca got plenty of great use out of my dad's binoculars following her "guys" from Siena.

And with that, it was time to head off to San Gimignano. I think one of these days though we'll have to come back to Siena to see Il Palio.


1 comment:

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