Italy 2006

Siena, Tuscany: 28 June to 4 July

In many ways, Siena was the highlight of our trip, as we were there for the Palio (historic horse race) on 2 July. We had a room about 50 metres from the Campo (the main square), which was a long walk from the car park, but very convenient otherwise. As we were there for a week, there are so many photos that they have been split into three pages. This page has photos of Siena and its buildings. There are separate pages for the Palio and for other Tuscan sights.
  Between Volterra and Siena, we revisited San Gimignano where we stayed for a week in 2002. This is the fountain in one of the two main squares.
  And an alcove in the other main square, where the old men gathered in the afternoons.
  Like many medieval towns, there is nothing orderly about Siena's street pattern.
  Nevertheless, the streetscapes are attractive.
  Another part of the streetscape. Note the windows painted onto the facade, as well as the faded signwriting. It has been a long time since the building was used as an albergo/ristaurante.
  Looking over rooftops to the Palazzo Comunale (Town Hall) on the Campo.
  There are practice races during the week leading up to the Palio, so when we arrived the Campo had already been set up with the clay racing track.
  The restaurants keep trading as much as possible.
  The Palazzo Comunale.
  A restaurant near our room where we had an excellent meal one evening.
  The spire of Siena's Duomo.
  The facade of the Duomo was under repair. To maintain its appearance, a picture of the facade was mounted on the scaffolding.
  Inside the Duomo dome.
  The Duomo pulpit.
  The Duomo floor is almost entirely covered with inlaid marble art.
  The Duomo has a side room known as the Libreria Piccolomini, built to house the books of Enea Silvio Piccolomini, a local lad who became Pope Pius II. Another marvellous ceiling.
  It has many illustrated manuscripts.
  The Baptistry is below the Duomo, and has this intricate ceiling.
  The Baptistry floor also has inlaid work, including this reminder of mortality.
  Across the square from the Duomo is Santa Maria della Scala, established as an orphanage, hospital, and hostel for pilgrims. It was in use as Siena's hospital until the 1980s. It has a series of frescos which are unusual in that they are secular rather than religious, depicting the work of the orphanage and hospital.
  The church of St Catherine of Siena.
Now for the page of photos of the Palio.
  Copyright © 2006 by Lynn Booth. Click here to contact us or to request a full-size photo