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By Tuesday, July 02, 2013 , , ,

A little while ago, Trip Adviser posted a list of the top 25 landmarks in the world - and I was surprised to see Siena Duomo at the very end - number 25!  But first, I'm going to tell you how the day started:

With rain.

This was the Sunday that my husband was able to visit me in Florence, and we decided to take a day trip to Siena. It was pouring when we left the hotel, and there were times when we thought about turning back. It was tricky finding where to buy the bus tikest from: You do not buy them from the train station, you buy them in a courtyard parking lot (where the buses park and you board) across the street.

But we finally figured it out and off we went through the Tuscon countryside!

We were dropped off by Basilica of San Domenico (begun in 1226), and after a few photos made our way down one hill and up the next.

A Medieval City 
We followed the signs until we reached the Siena Duomo, and the weather cleared up enough for a few nice photos.
We spent a while debating whether or not to buy the tickets to go in. The Duomo was divided into four parts, and the cost varied by which area you wanted to visit. You could see all of them for 12 euro, which doesn't sound like that much, except we'd already spent about 30 euro on the coach tickets and since there were two of us it would have cost 24 euro - nearly 55 euro for a day trip before food.

We were also getting a little tired of being met with inflated tourist prices everywhere we went in Florence and the surrounding area (for example, much of the art work in the free Florence Duomo has been taken out and put in a museum where you have to pay to see it). Not to mention being approached on the street by random people asking for money (like a guy with an iphone in his back pocket - I know, you can't judge someone's economic situation based on a single possession, but that's certainly not something I can afford).

Anyway, we passed on going inside. The photos I'm seen of the interior look amazing (and stripy!) but I'm not sure I regret not going in, either.

The Torre del Mangia is 88m tall - the same height as the Siena Duomo tower to signify the equality of church and state. It was built between 1338 and 1348, but had expansions and updates added into the 1500s.

According to Wikipedia
"The name (meaning "Tower of the Eater") derives from its first guardian, Giovanni di Balduccio, nicknamed Mangiaguadagnifor his tendency to spend all his money on food."
The square it's located in, the Piazza de Campo is really more of a semi circle than a sqaure, and it slopes down towards the tower. Opposite the tower is a fountain, the Fonte Gaia which is actually originally a part of a water conduit system, though now it is a favorite attraction of tourists and pigeons.

Twice a year Sienna holds the Palio di Siena horse race through the narrow streets and the great semicircular square. The riders ride bareback and dress in the tradition colors of 10 of the city wards.
These street lights reminded me of Jester hats.


On the way back, I managed to snap a few photos of this walled town on a hill. After some internet sleuthing, I think it is the town of Monteriggioni. 

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