Another hot day in the Tuscan sun that started with a run up and down the hills in searing heat. Straight into the swimming pool after the run so as to avoid heat exhaustion, and to give the body a jolt back to normalcy.
With that done we got ourselves ready and headed into Siena. This town is a lot bigger than we had anticipated, and being amongst the tourist groups again, was an indication of what crowds we were in for. Grabbed a copy of the local map, which of course set us back €1, nothing for free when tourists are involved, and set off to explore Siena. The map was a relic of ye olde days and looked like it had been drawn using crayons, but managed to get us through.
The main road Banchi Di Sotto, was packed with tourists and lined with the ever increasing popular souvenir shops, suffice to say this was going to be a quick visit for Hughy and I. We walked to the local Duomo and joined the queue, which had no shelter from the sun, and 5 sweaty minutes later entered the Duomo, only to be asked for our ticket…..what ticket? Oh, that’s another queue around the corner, forget it, we got a glimpse of the inside, saw it was packed and moved on to the Museo Opera Del Duomo.
Another queue, another cost and not sure what this place was about, so again decided to move on and take in the Plaza Del Campo for free!! Every year they run a famous horse race around the Plaza called The Palio di Siena. It is a traditional medieval horse race run around the Piazza del Campo twice each year, on 2 July and 16 August by 10 horses and lasts for 3 minutes. The event is attended by large crowds, and is widely televised. From the pictures we saw of this event, you cannot squeeze another person into the Plaza, it is jam packed. Much honour is bestowed upon the winner so the race is very much each man for himself.
We made our way back to the car, but not before visiting the Basilica Di San Domenica, because it was free. The church was undergoing renovation work so the presence of scaffolding didn’t quite give the same feeling as the other Basilicas we had visited and hence no candle was lit. We grabbed some lunch took some more photos of Siena and drove back via Castellina to look at some art work by the local artists, again out of our price range.
The remainder of the day was spent washing clothes, the most exciting part of the trip for Hugh…..not, reading our books by the swimming pool, having a swim and general relaxation before once again packing our bags and driving to Florence tomorrow.