A couple days ago we took our first day trip out to Siena. We caught the 8:50 bus out of Firenze SMN train station and made our way to Siena. Easy! An hour and a half later we arrived in Siena. We did very little research before heading out, but knew the Siena Cathedral was a must see and strolling through the cute town was the way to go. So we arrived with no real agenda which was perfect.
Once we sort of figured out where we were, we followed the crowds towards town and began to wander. Lucky for us, if you follow the crowds and head downhill, you will eventually end up at the Siena Cathedral. It started to drizzle a bit, so we went ahead and ventured into the cathedral. I can't say this enough, if you can travel outside of busy season, DO IT! This adorable Tuscan town was nearly deserted. The cathedral was pretty much empty. So great. Siena Cathedral was worth the visit. We wandered through the museum and once again, were in awe at the age of everything. Tons of church artifacts and art. No matter how much art we continue to see, I will never cease to be amazed at the age and beauty of everything here. The highlight of the museum was the panoramic view at the top. A tiny (stress TINY), spiral staircase led us up to two different viewpoints. They looked out over the town and the surrounding hills. A little bit of mist and fog made it pretty picture perfect.
We walked through the rest of the church including a crypt with frescoes painted in the 1300s and only unearthed in the 1990s. They were buried for 700 years. Crazy. The cathedral itself, as well as the baptistery, had more stunning ceilings. The Piccolomini Library inside the cathedral was the highlight for me with painted ceilings more vibrant than most other ceilings we have seen. The colors remain the same as they were when they were painted in the 13th century. They have never been "restored". Pretty crazy to think about it. I will post more pictures of those ceilings in a later post because I am too obsessed and their are far too many.
After finishing up at the cathedral, we followed Rick Steves and his Siena walk to see more of town. We ate lunch at a cute place (Rick Steves recommendation) near Il Campo, the main square, before making our way back to the bus stop. It was a relaxing day and a great first day trip for us. Even with the drizzly weather, the town was quaint with plenty of streets to wander through and enjoy. If you ask Adam, he will tell you, one of my favorite things to do is just wander, look in store windows, watch people, see corners not seen before, experience something new with no real agenda. We have had lots of opportunities to do just that in our first week here with plenty more to come. We start our two weeks of language school tomorrow to add a little structure to our day. I'm totally nerding out at the idea of "going to class". Once a school nerd, always a school nerd.