Author

2000 Cycling Season, May 31 - June 1

Siena

May 31,2000, Wednesday - Siena

After visiting the statue of David in Florence, we took a short train ride to the town of Siena, and caught a taxi to our hotel. This was much easier than our arrival by bike into Florence, even though the streets of Siena were just as small and maze like as Florence's. Since it was still mid-afternoon we decided to see what we could see before we had to pack up and move to Assisi.

Our short visit to Siena was very nice. Siena has a wonderful Cathedral that is still used as a church that was originally designed to rival the splendor of the Duomo in Florence. Even though the ravages of the plague caused the plans to be scaled back, the intricate carvings in the marble floor and the more elaborate decor made this every bit as pretty as the Duomo in Florence and a very worthwhile stop.

Siena Duomo Facade

Dorothy and Siena Sky Line

Ceiling of Seina Baptistry

Ceiling of Seina Baptistry

Ceiling of Seina Baptistry

Ceiling of Seina Baptistry

Marble Floors in Siena Duomo

Marble Floors in Siena Duomo

Faces in Siena Duomo

Faces in Siena Duomo

The Cathedral also houses a very impressive Collection of illuminated manuscripts. These elaborately decorated manuscripts are probably my favorite expression of renaissance art. I liked pictures of them in my art history classes in college, but I really like them in person. The details and color in the little illustrations are amazing.

Dorothy in Seina Duomo Manuscript Room

Dorothy in Seina Duomo Manuscript Room

Illuminated Manuscript Book

Illuminated Manuscript Book

Illuminated Manuscript Page

Illuminated Manuscript Page

Illuminated Manuscript Detail

Illuminated Manuscript Detail

There is also a very tall bell tower and plaza in the center of town. From the tower you get a great view of the beautiful landscape of rolling hills that make this area so beautiful.

Dorothy and Siena Sky Line

Dorothy and Siena Sky Line

Dorothy in Siena's Central Plaza

Dorothy in Siena's Central Plaza

John and Dorothy and Siena Landscape

John and Dorothy and Siena Landscape

In the evening we stumbled into what our hotel said was the best restaurant in town "Cane e Gatto" (Dog and Cat). It was wonderful! If you come to Siena call them at 0577 33.38.79 make a reservation and spend a wonderful evening here. This was the best meal we've had in the month that we've spent in Europe, and it will probably be the best meal we will have on the entire trip. When we first stumbled in, all the guest in the restaurant gave us a strange look, but the proprietor welcomed us and said that if one of his reservations didn't show up in 15 minutes, he would give the table to us. 15 minutes later we had ourselves a table for the evening. In the first few minutes, we realized we were in for a treat. Although there was no menu, and we had no idea how much the evening was going to cost, we were sure it would be worth it. Each course was delivered by the proprietor with a short description, while his wife prepared the next course and his daughter helped with the wine. Over t he next 4 hours we were presented with 5 beautiful courses, champagne with the appetizer, white wine with the with the first course, and a terrific red wine with dinner, and a very tasty sweet desert wine with desert. Although it was strange to just sit down and have a gourmet meal presented to you course by course, it was worth every cent of the 260,000 Lira it cost ($120).

June 1,2000, Thursday - Siena

Our original plans included a ride from Siena to Assisi, however since we parked the bike in Florence, we had to find a train route from Siena to Assisi. However Siena and Assisi are separated by a mountain chain, and there aren't many places the train crosses. Our two main choices were to go to either Rome or Florence and then on to Assisi. Since both of these would involve a full day of train rides, we decided to see if the F.S. web site could help with an alternate route. Fortunately there is one rail line that runs between the two main lines that we needed to use. After a bit of searching we found a solution that would only take 3 hours and with 4 transfers. Boy I'm glad we brought a laptop!

Since our first train didn't leave till nearly noon, we went back into the center of Siena to climb the clock tower to take more pictures of the landscape.

Country Side Arround Siena

Country Side Arround Siena

Rooftops of Siena - What a Maze!

Rooftops of Siena - What a Maze!