April 6, 2010 – Bella Siena
If youâ€™ve never been to Siena, I hope this post will entice you. Siena is the best of what Tuscany has to offer – medium sized city, walkable, gorgeous, personable, accessible. We awoke to a glorious sun-filled day, the type you often get after a rainy one. After a short walk past the markets and shops on the main street towards Il Campo, we headed straight past to hike up the other side of town to the massive brick church known as San Domenica. Somewhat â€œuninspiredâ€ as the guide book describes it, itâ€™s famous for holding the relics of St. Catherineâ€™s head and thumb (sheâ€™s Italyâ€™s patron saint). But whatâ€™s really special about making your way to over here is the opportunity to see the massive Duomo from afar, unobstructed.We wandered back towards Il Campo in time to stand in line for over 40 minutes to make the climb to the top of the camponile.Maybe Iâ€™m just a glutton for enduring scary narrow climbs in claustrophic environments, but I think you canâ€™t get a sense of where you are until you head high above it all to scope it out. And the Tuscan countryside surrounding Siena certainly doesnâ€™t disappoint.Back on the land in Il Campo we settled in (along with a furry friend) for another pizza (spinach, ricotta, cherry tomatoes) before some more meandering…… a view of San Domenica from the other side of town……the Duomo……and the all important stop for gelato, pistacchio for me!
I believe itâ€™s important to spend time when traveling just sitting – itâ€™s a chance to recharge, an opportunity to watch people from all over the world.And sometimes just a chance to admire an architectural element or detail you might otherwise miss.
Dinner on our final night in Siena was at the old and charming Osteria Le Logge. The waiter was charming and the food delicious …the ever present â€œpusher breadâ€ – not good for much but pushing food around……artichoke risotto that was divine……and rabbit on a creamy bed of peas with flakes of sea salt.But maybe most noteworthy about this tiny establishment is the whimsical food-themed art on the walls – the originals produced by Cristoph Mann to match the recipes of the original owner of the osteria, Giovanni Brunelli. If you can find the book that features these, call me – Iâ€™m searching far and wide for a copy of the now out of print chronicle!