Following on from our wonderful few days on Cinque Terre, we arrived in Tuscany, via a few train changes.
Siena is the home of the famous Il Palio horse race around the Piazza Del Campo. We arrived a few days before this event and unfortunately left the day before, but we got to see the piazza change gradually each day with the spectator stalls being erected.
Siena is divided into 17 neighbourhoods (contrade) and 10 of these race in the first race, which are chosen by a draw, then the last 7 plus 3 from the first race compete again. During this time there is fierce rivalry between neighbourhoods. During the racing period wall mounted lights are erected with each neighbours colours boldly being displayed. As you walk around Siena you will know which contrade you are in by the colours and patterns on the lights. These mark the territory of each neighbourhood and are proudly displayed.
Siena is a classic medieval town in the hills of Tuscany which is also quite near the famed Chianti wine area. The Duomo Di Siena is also a drawcard with its magnificent architecture.
A beautiful area that needed much more exploration than the time we had. W e did manage a couple of winery tours wich are unlike tours here in Australia. When on a winery tour in Italy it takes hours, make sure you have enough time. It is really an art moreso than a perfunctory duty. You will start in one area of the winery and will sip some wine and then you will be given some wine and cheese and maybe prosciutto to eat then taste the wine again, which made a big difference. The taste of the wine after food completely changed which was interesting. Further into the winery you will stop a couple more times and tasting and eating, possibly from a large pecorino wheel and at the last tasting you may be in the winery’s church having a dessert wine. Totally different than expected but a memorable experience nonetheless.
Onwards and upwards to the Amalfi Coast next stop – bring it on!