I have been planning my trip to Siena for years. It had always been at the top of my list.
Declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site, a title that absolutely deserves like no other, the city of horses has captivated me years ago. It was time to wander around its ancient streets and get immerse in its essence.
I took an early train from Firenze to Siena. The ride is about 1 hour and 40 minutes and it costs about 10 euros. Beautiful scenery, Toscana landscape all along.
Once I arrived to Siena I asked for the bus that it would take me to the city center. So I hopped on bus # 7. My hotel is half block away from Piazza del Campo in the center of the old town.
Apparently one of the lights was broken and the bus didn’t go all the way. So when I saw it turned around about half way and started going back to the train station I got worried. I asked a young Italian man for the street I had to get off at (Stufa Secca) and he explained to me in fast Italian the lights situation and that I needed to uscire ASAP.
I rushed out of the bus and found myself WAY out of the city center. So I started walking… with my suitcase. And my backpack.
When I finally entered the ancient walls of Siena I found something familiar yet unsettling: A Maze.
My (NOT) loyal phone was acting up again, of course, so I had to ask directions in Italian. I find it disrespectful to arrive to a small city and speak to the locals in English. If I can I use local language as a sign of respect – and admiration- I love Italian.
I walked more than what I should have but I finally made it to my beautiful piccolo hotel.
I think I got lost not because of the maze of streets, but because the beauty of this ancient city is overwhelming. I couldn’t help but to look around like a kid during a first visit to Disney. This is the real fantasy land.
Everything I eat here is an explosion of flavor in my mouth. There is no food in the world that can compare to Italian food. No matter what it is. The flavors here are exquisite. I am convinced that this food is made in heaven.
But of course, no food can compare to my grandma’s.
Siena is a small maze of wonders. It is a hidden pearl in the Tuscan hills. But still, I can’t forget Firenze. That is where my heart belongs.
In Siena I rode a bike again. One of my favorite things in life. Since my accident in 2014 I haven’t dare to ride a bike. But Siena, and Italy is putting me back together.
Its like every city I visit in this country has a piece of my soul and I am collecting them. Little by little I am recovering and completing myself like a puzzle. In exchange I leave a piece of my heart in every place. I can’t help it. Its the price I have to pay. Once I put a foot in Italy, I knew it was a one way trip. I knew I would never want to leave, or that I will always want to come back.
There are beautiful places… and then there’s Italy.
This is the trick with travelers. Once we fall in love with other places we are never satisfied.
We always want more.
Today I went to San Gimignano. Another must-see if you are in the area.
Bus #130 from Siena city center will take you straight there in 1.30 hours approx. It cost 6 euros and you can get the ticket from the blue machine under the big sing showing next departures or at the kiosk/ Tabacchi place across the street.
This trip can take 3 hours and I would gladly do it, the views from the bus are unique.
San G. is an ancient little town near Poggibonsi (one of the bus stops on the way to destination and a pretty big settlement near Siena – besides it has a great name!).
San Gimignano is another walled town with maze-like alleys and hidden narrow streets. This is the place you dream about when you think in medieval cities. A highly touristic development has taken place in San G. But that doesn’t mean it lost charm. The panoramic views you get from here are worth every breath you loose by getting up there. It is simply magnificent.
I can’t believe what my eyes see. Sometimes I have to check if I am awake and ask myself if I am not really dreaming and the alarm will sound at any minute for me to go to work at the hotel in New Orleans. Every time the answer is: No, you are awake. This is happening. You are in Italy.
And I can only smile… because next stop is the city of my dreams: ROMA