Wednesday, February 7, 2007

But she's a good looking 660 year old!

Wednesday we headed to Siena by bus. Neither of us had been before and several friends told us it was a fantastic place to visit. The Hotel Cannon d'Oro didn't have the ambiance of Davanzati, but at half the price it will be fine for a quick stop. We set out to explore - quite easy since there are directional signs on the corners of many buildings. We wound down to Il Campo, a fantastic open Piazza. It's amazing to think that they hold a horse race in this Piazza twice a year. I read somewhere that they put mattresses on the corners of the buildings so the horses (and jockeys?) don't get injured.

From there we headed up the hill to the Duomo. Wow! The entire place is covered with carvings and mosaics. The floors are covered with inlay areas telling stories from the bible or about people of Siena. Around the ceiling of the nave (central area of church) there are busts of 172 popes peering down like gargoyles. Again we followed the Rick Steves' tour and enjoyed the education. Some areas were being cleaned so we couldn't get close. A Duccio stained glass was out for cleaning, so the place was much brighter than usual.

Back outside we could see the markings where the cathedral was intended to be. It would have been a cross shape but only the shorter arm was finished before the Black Death swept the area. We skipped the museum and headed for the Baptistery which was built into the hillside below the church. Lots more art with the central baptismal font that was sculpted by Donatello and Ghiberti.

I tried to convince Wayne to go to San Domenico by telling him that they have her 600+ year old head of Saint Catherine on display. Seriously. And her thumb! We went off to find the place but got lost going up and down big hills (where are those directional signs when you need them?). Alas, Wayne was tired of "churches and old art" for the day so I conceded and we went to find some snacks. On the way we passed this cool car that Wayne hopes to own someday. Sweetie, that's probably the only way you'll get to own a Lamborghini!

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