Next time I go to Siena, this is what I want: an Italian guide who speaks English and explains all the historic things I’m looking at.
Even more important, he or she must drive me around in a souped-up golf cart to negotiate the impossibly steep streets.
I have gained such respect for residents in these hill towns. There is no need for fitness gyms here–just walk straight uphill everywhere you go. And downhill isn’t easy either. Once I thought I would pitch right over and roll like an old cartoon character down to the bottom.
Even without a guide or cart, I still managed to find some remarkable sites in Siena, quite by accident. Imagine what I might have found if I knew what I was doing!
I spent a few hours having lunch in the Piazza del Campo and people watching.
I couldn’t miss the magnificently ornate Duomo in Siena.
Outside the Duomo on a pedestal was this statue:
Also, right inside the Duomo was this inlaid marble decoration on the floor:
I remember when I was a little girl how strange these pictures were. Then I learned the legend of Romulus and Remus, two abandoned twin brothers who were rescued and nourished by a she-wolf. They grew up to be the founders of Rome. The connection with Siena is that Remus’ two sons were the founders of Siena.
This was part of the ceiling inside a small part of the Duomo called the Libreria Piccolimi. Every centimeter was decorated by hand, by masters, hundreds of years ago. And the rest of the enormous Duomo was equally magnificent.
This is what I discovered in just a few hours without a guide. I’ll be back, hopefully more informed!