Archive for the ‘ misc experience Siena ’ Category

Siena at a Glance

Day 2 in Siena and fortunately today was a great day from the moment I woke up.  Things here are slower, more settling, and all around just more fun.  Being engulfed in a medieval city is great, yet with today’s short walking lecture/tour from Peter and Jim shows that things are not really as pure as a Medieval but a constantly changing and evolving city.  Today was great minus the Internet condition that keeps plaguing us from the beginning of this trip.  Although the nerves are growing very short with Jim so hopefully his nerves and fuse won’t blow up trying to solve the issue. Anyway back to my first full day in Siena…

To begin things off, the ladies at the front desk of the university dormitory do NOT know a single word in English.  Although the few students that are still lingering for their final exams know English very well and are extremely helpful.  Unfortunately, in a couple of days these students will leave and we will be left all by ourselves.  Maybe it might be time to pick up a Rosetta Stone Italiano… hopefully Italian will come to me, I can only hope.

Duomo from Afar                                                     Santuario di Santa Caterina

In the morning, it was time to get myself acclimated with the city of Siena and know all the hot spots, good food, also cheap+good food, super market, other markets, where to get art supplies, and, most importantly, understand the city fabric.  Although I did not successfully get all of that in one day (insert sarcasm: sorry Jim I’m not that good yet) I got to know a lot of things.  Found 2 art supply stores very close to the Campo and even closer to each other.  Also, found a few small stores and a supermarket, which definitely helps with saving money.  Additionally Jim handed out id cards that gets us into the dining halls of the university and has dinners and lunches for about 4-5 euro for 3 course meals that are also GOOD! Great money saver.  Also had a chance to sit in on the Campo again and also going to sit there again tonight and have a relaxing night.  Just because the Campo is not the “belly button” or the “moondus” of Siena doesn’t mean its not one of the best public spaces in the world that is a beautiful place to congregate.

Palazzo Publicco                                        Bishops House Next to Duomo

Also, just to back track a little, Peter and Jim lead a tour of a little bit of Siena to teach us how to be “Professional Tourists” and not just have our pictures taken in front of a place that “looks medieval.”(great laugh btw) At least now, or at least I think, I could be able to tell the difference between what is reminiscence of 12th century Medieval or new look-a-likes done in the 19th century.  Ill try to test my knowledge tomorrow on another walk around Siena.



Last Day in Roma/First Day in Siena

San Biagio:

First stop on our travels to Siena was a stop at San Biagio and a town located on a almost never-ending hill climb.  At the top of the climb spectacular views outward show that the landscape of Italy was nothing close to a flat plain.  After a nice lunch and trip back down the long, long, long… hill we all made our way back to the ideal church called San Biagio.

The church was one of the firsts that followed the concept of an Ideal completely symmetrical centralized church.  One crucial challenge that architects faced with this new typology are the corner conditions that are now not as simple to achieve, yet this exploration continued all the way through to the middle and late Reniassance with Brunelleschi and Michelangelo.


Wow, all I can say is wow.  This city is amazing.  The Piazza del Campo and the structure of the city along with the energy of the battle between the different cantradas is intense.  The pride is everywhere from the hanging flags to people wearing scarf’s to show off their respective cantradas, everyone plays a role in Siena.  The Campo tonight along with seeing the Duomo and other smaller churches and basilicas, I was able to experience only a piece of Siena but it was down right jaw dropping.  The dense areas and narrow streets really give a medieval setting throughout the city, but what is the most interesting is the breaking up of space along paths and moments throughout the city.  More importantly, no matter how hard we tried to get lost, all roads lead to the Campo.  Its like the Siena is engulfing people back into the Campo.

Palazzo Publicco                                                      The Duomo

Rj, Flores, and myself set out tonight on a quick walk around Siena and it was worth it.  Even after only a quick meal and having been bussed around for hours from Santa Maria della Pieta, We were eager to just jump right into looking around and exploring.  In a sense we were truly having a derive and just picking and choosing paths that we did not know and only having experiences lead us down paths.  Although we did not encounter many people along the way, most of the people are quiet and calm.  The sense that this town is very safe is clearly apparent even down the what seems like very sketchy and closed off side streets and alleys.  It was downright lovely.

Street filled with Contrada Flags

Eventually we headed back to the Campo to meet up with some other friends and of course we picked up a beer each along the way.  Next step, sit down and/or lay down in the middle of the Campo.  Everyone, especially young groups and couples, were sitting down around the sloping brick paver parts of the Campo.  On top of everything, there were a lot of people out and about which made for something very spectacular in addition to a shock because of it being a Sunday night.

First impressions are always the most important and the same applies with “meeting a new city.”  With Roma, the first impression was that many portions were riddled with graffiti and the entire center of Roma has become a giant walking tourist attraction.  In a sense, the center of Roma was becoming a gigantic tourist exhibit with gypsy shops covering every corner with little overpriced nick-naks.  Although the architecture was very beautiful and recalling both ancient and Renaissance architecture was very influential and experiential, the city fabric is loosing validity due to over-touristation.  Siena on the other hand has a feeling all its own.  This quality, although I cannot pin point it now what IT exactly is, is something that just captures a person into spaces and creates a pleasant experience for every viewer.  Beautiful.

View in the Morning Outside my Dorm Window