This was a day I had been looking forward to knowing that we were going to be seeing some amazing scenery of Italy! And this day was AMAZING!!!
On a friend's recommendation, we pre-booked a day long tour leaving from Florence at 8:30 in the morning. The Best of Tuscany Tour promised a "full day guided tour visiting"Siena, San Gimignano & Pisa with a winery lunch... All in one Day!"
We boarded the bus at the Florence train station and started our drive to Siena.
We arrived in Siena and followed our guide to a piazza to see the world's oldest bank.
Next, we stopped at the shell-shaped Piazza del Campo. These pictures don't do it justice, but this Piazza was so breathtaking!
The gothic style Palazzo Pubblico in the Piazza del Campo.
This Piazza del Campo is the site of the 600 year old Palio horse race which is a community based sadle-less horse race representing the 17 districts of Siena with each district providing a horse and a jockey (although the jockey isn't that important. :) The entire square is filled with spectators and is one of the most important days for the people of Siena.
One of the districts.
One of the horse stables.
The horses are revered and treated with much dignity. Our guide told us "if a horse is injured during the race they are very saddened and sent to a retirement community and treated with respect and pampering... but a jockey, not so much." :)
The Duomo of Siena is situated at the highest point of the city.
This Gothic cathedral was one of Italy's first.
Striped marble splendor inside the Duomo.
The marble floor panels are designed by 40 different Italian artists and took 200 years to complete.
Stained glass window depicting the last supper.
Statue of St. Peter by Michelangelo.
The Piccolominea Library (inside the Duomo) holds some impressive frescoes.
Ceiling of the Piccolominea Library.
Heading back to Piazza del Campo.
Siena was one of our favorite stops and one we would love to go back and spend more time at. :)
Next post will be more of our Tuscany Tour as we headed to a Chianti Vineyard.