Posted by: debrakolkka | December 3, 2010

Wandering in Siena

The Siena Cathedral from a distance

The first sentence in the guide book for Siena, which I picked up at the excellent tourist office in the Campo, says “Every city displays the effects of its vicissitudes, but in Siena they are more prominent and lasting, and their continuity is more explicit and sought after than elswhere.”  If that doesn’t make you want to discover the city, then I don’t know what would.

There is nothing like just wandering around a gorgeous city like Siena with no particular agenda.  You can’ t get lost, because you aren’t looking for anything in particular.  I had done the walking tour previously and had been to the Duomo and Museums, so I just wandered aimlessly to see what I could see.

sunrise in the Campo

the beautiful colour of Siena

Palazzo Pubblico

looking up in the courtyard of the Palazzo Pubblico

Siena's famous panforte

This delicious sweet is a small hard cake, filled with dried fruit.  You should try it.

the porchetta shop

This place, in Via di Citta 93/95 sells salami, cheese and other delicious things, including porchetta, which they will slice for you and put on a slab of bread. Wander off to the nearby Campo, find a spot to sit and gaze at the passing parade.


delicious lunch

They also have a tiny table outside the shop where you can stand and eat and enjoy a glass of wine.

the famous porchetta rolls

the facade of the proposed new cathedral

This is all that was built of the church which was to be even bigger than the Duomo.  The project was abandoned and the Duomo was completed instead.

at the top

Now you can climb to the top for a great view of the city.  There was quite a queue, so it will have to wait until next time.

Sienese gentlemen gathering for a discussion

a graduate

There were lots of young people wandering about with laurel wreaths, having just graduated from university.  I imagine there would have  been lots of celebrations in Siena that night.

an elaborate crest

Ristorante Il Biondo

I ate at this restaurant in Vicolo del Rustichetto, on a previous visit to Siena.  It serves good traditional Italian fare.

Dante Alegheri and others

Dante, second from the left keeping a stern eye on the Piazza Salimbeni.  He always looks stern, it must have been heavy work sorting out the Italian language.

my slice of pizza

There are many restaurants and cafes surrounding the Campo, or you can do as I did and buy a slice of pizza for a couple of euro at a street behind the Campo, find a seat and dig in.

the Campo drain

a tiny face on the grill

What a pity all drains are not as lovely as this.

part of the Fonte Gaia

The Fonte Gaia – Gay Fountain – was named because of the joyful celebrations at its inauguration.  The fountain is an incomplete copy of the original by Jacopo della Quercia.  The original is in the Palazzo Pubblico.


free water at the fountain

the step from the Baptistery to the Cathedral

the entrance to the Cathedral courtyard


late afternoon

Ristoratore Il Sasso

I met a delightful couple from Ohio called Paul and Barbara who were enjoying their first visit to Siena.  We had a delicious tagliata di cinta senese – the special breed of pig, famous in the area – at Ristoratore Il Sasso in Via dei Rossi 2/A.


night in Piazza Salimbeni


  1. I just love this post Deb. The colour of the walls at sunrise are breathtaking. Siena is a magical place. I went there for the first time with Alberto and Silvana. Very special memories. What a wonderful post. Keep them coming.

  2. Astonishing architecture, Debra, thank you for taking the pics to share with us! I particularly like the stone heads, looking down at different angles, as if each is viewing a different part of the streetscape!

  3. Debra what gorgeous photos. I love the angles of the late afternoon one.
    (there was also a little hand clapping of glee when I saw the porchetta shop one, as I have the same photo from 10 years ago and remembered it 🙂

    • It is a great spot isn’t it? We have been several times. The sandwiches are huge. Next time I will remember to order one for two people. They sell the best fennel sausages.

  4. Fabulous fabulous – love the colours at sunrise.
    I’ve just made panforte this week but it’s not as good as the Italian one!

  5. Another awesome post, thanks for sharing your fantastic walk around. What colours, what architecture and Oh My… what a porchetta roll too. Although your slice of pizza looks pretty dam good too 🙂

  6. with that last picture you can win a price!

  7. What a terrific post Deb. I love going through the day from early sun rise to moon light and the breaks for appetising munchies on the way. The colours of Sienna are wonderful it made me think of how the light changes views of Uluru and I love the photo of the wreath of Laurel leaves, so much more celebratory and romantic than stiff, flat mortar boards.

  8. Hey, I went to that shop and had a porchetta 🙂 It was delicious. I ate it while walking along the road leading to the Duomo. Ahhh, this post has taking me back. Think I might finally post my Siena travel journal. You’ve inspired me.

    Have you been there while they’ve had the Il Palio?

    • I haven’t been there for the Palio. That would be a lot of fun. I’ll have to do it one day. I can imagine the excitment of the whole city.

  9. […] I was inspired to share my photos and views of Siena after reading this blog. […]

  10. […] got my Italian drivers’ licence and drove to Siena by myself for the first time, almost incident free. looking through the buildings to the Campo in […]

  11. […] Siena is such a fascinating place, with so many grand buildings, the fabulous Campo and the magnificent Duomo, it is easy to miss the delightful small things that abound all over the city.   I stayed in Siena for a couple of days in October and wandered the streets with no particular purpose in mind.  Here are some of the quirky things I spotted on my travels. he/she was laughing at me from above a coiled snake at the edge of the Campo […]

  12. […] I was inspired to share my photos and views of Siena after reading this blog. […]

  13. […] are several posts on towns in the area. Siena has its own category and is one of the most beautiful towns in Italy. The duomo there is my […]

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  15. Thank you ! Wonderful photos ! Siena is a very romantic old town !

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