People who travel in Italy often put Siena on their “A list” even ahead of the classic big three of Rome, Florence, Venice. It is one of the finest pieces of real estate in Italy. It has everything and less. Into the “everything” category, I put the captivating zebra-striped marble cathedral, the Piccoluomni Library, the medieval architecture, incredible shops, the scallop shaped Campo with the pageantry of the Palio (hard fought barebacked horse race in Medieval costume), restaurants galore, the Nannini Cafes with their famous gelatis and coffee.
What Siena’s central historic district DOESN’T have is ferocious traffic marring your experience. This is a highly walkable town. See it on foot and enjoy every inch up close and personal. http://www.sienaitaly.com/ is a somewhat flip in tone, and initially seems very simplistic site, but it has a ton of good links.
History is around every corner here in old Siena. Saint Catherine isn’t just a mystic concept of yesterday in this part of sunny Italy. Thats her house just down the street and her body parts are scattered about in churches around town. A finger here a head there. Her house, by the way, is in the Oca neighborhood. Oca means goose and all the neighborhoods sport some animal icon. That is the symbol they rally around for the famous Palio we mentioned above.
The Spannocchia estate, just outside town, has a great US to Italy connection. Part of the family are friends who live near us at our home in Yarmouth. Vreeland Marketing & Design enjoys working with them on fundraising for their wonderful non profit sustainable agriculture foundation. There is a classic row of trimmed cypress leading to iron gates and a Tuscan villa, a 12th century stone tower, a Roman bridge and Etruscan digs.
A bee hive of activity, with artists in residence mingling with good natured interns learning the ways of the age old Tuscan farmers. One of my most memorable nights in Italy was here at the castle on a summer evening, eating al fresco with 50 or 60 other guests. Interns were literally running from the wood ovens down the row of tables offering us slices of pizza. Every pizza was different from the previous and every piece was that first, fresh hot from the oven piece. I almost put myself in a food coma when I discovered their Gorganzolla, walnut and pear dessert pizza.
If you are interested in renting in the area check out some of our area favorite places to stay!
Midge Vreeland is proud to be on the board of directors of this fine, non profit foundation.
Go here you can find information about staying at the classic Tuscan castle.