Siena - fascinating Tuscan city
During our Tuscan experience to Florence, we sought a little escape south to the much less touristy and livable city of Siena. The medieval landscape and 800 year old past contrasts beautifully with its new elements of Italian cuisine and the youthful spirit of the locals. New boutiques, wine bars and updated restaurants are always up and coming in this area of Tuscany. Upon entering Siena we interestingly learned about Gordon Ramsay's (winner of 10 Michelin stars) collaboration with the unique hotel and restaurant called Castel Monastero, located in the nearby medieval village of Monastero d’Ombrone.
Looking out at outlying, sprawling Siena through an archway at the fortification wall of the medieval city, you can set your mind back to its antique settings of the past times. Walking the labyrinth of streets, we made our way to the outskirt by foot in which we were in awe with the amazing viewpoints from the edge of the city. One of the best panoramic views we can say was from the vast brick church of St. Dominic's Basilica.
Sienese people are fiercely proud of their city and their neighbourhood. Some of the famous artists who lived and worked in Siena are: Duccio, Simone Martini, Ambrogio and Pietro Lorenzetti. Siena's heart is its central piazza known as Il Campo, known worldwide for the famous Palio run, which is a horse race run around the piazza that takes place twice every summer. Movie audiences worldwide can see excerpts of Siena and the Palio in the James Bond movie, 'Quantum of Solace'.
Despite the gothic elements of Siena, like Florence, the city is flocked with international students learning intensive language courses. The town has grown in importance as well because of its easy access to locally produced luxury goods in Tuscany and with up and coming artists like new independent fashion designer Romana Correale.
We hope to be back soon to admire this Tuscan gem again!