No visit to Tuscany would be complete without a stop in Siena - described by UNESCO as "the embodiment of a medieval city". The historic 3-way rivalry between Pisa, Siena, and Florence is obvious when you see them back to back. Still recovering from our stomach issues, we were very grateful that our AirBnB host, Helga, pointed out 3 ways to get to the historic town center - one of which took advantage of a 5-flight set of escalators up to the walled city!
Our first stop was the Piazza del Campo with its Palazzo Pubblico and Fountain of Gaia. We had to imagine the shell-shaped square filled with 30,000 spectators enjoying the twice-a-year Palio di Siena - a wild bare-back horse race that's over in 90 seconds.
A short stroll takes us to the Piazza del Duomo to see the beautiful marble-faced Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta where it's just as important to look down as it is up - the floors are particularly beautiful.
Siena is the home of "Panforte", a delicious chewy confection of dried fruits and nuts especially popular at Christmas and a particular favorite of Nancy's (she eats it a "sliv-of-a-sliv' at a time).
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Nancy McCabe &