Posted by: debrakolkka | January 20, 2011

Small things in Siena

Siena is one of my favourite places in Italy and I took lots of photos there late last year. It isn’t all that far from Bagni di Lucca and now that I can drive I can go even more often. There are so many reasons to visit this gorgeous city.

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

There were a few of these at the bottom of the Campo.  They must have watched a few horses fly by in the Palio races.


the tiny drummer

This little drummer must be kept busy during the races as well.  He watches from the grill in the drain in the Campo. He is only a few centimetres tall.

the little lion's head in the fountain in the Campo

a place to tie your horse

These things always remind me of the Ogden Nash poem.

As I was standing in the street,

as quiet as can be,

a great big ugly man came  up

and tied his horse to me.

here is another

The ones low on the walls were used to tie up horses or cows and the higher ones were used for banners and flags.  It must have been a colourful place at times.

the Contrada of the caterpillar

There are 17 Contrade, or districts in Siena, each represented by a different animal.  There are a few obvious ones like the dragon or the she wolf, but I can’t work out why a caterpillar or a giraffe would be selected.  I suppose there is a good reason.

the Contrada of nature, represented by a Rhinocerous - why not?

2 faces

I have now idea what the two faces object is, but I’m glad I found it.

an interesting window

This is what she is looking at.

a pomegranate

The pomegranate has a caterpillar crawling on it.  Naturally it was in the Contrada of the caterpillar.

a twin tailed mermaid

a little frog on a fountain

Is he supposed to be scary or is he just in pain?

snake motif

I love these things

the Contrada of the giraffe

a nativity scene

a free drink

Yes, I know, small things amuse small minds


  1. Hi Debra,

    You got surely an eye for detail. The two faced object can be lifted up to keep the shutters open. Till the end of the month…


  2. Wow, so many details. It looks like a mythical magical city!

    • Hello Debra,

      I really love the blog. Siena was one of my favourite places and the snakes in Campo really caught my eye on our visit. The small things do count.

      • I just love Siena, I am looking forward to going back there in February. I am going to search for all the Contrada fountains.

  3. I just adore the pomegranate and the caterpillar. Thanks for showing us the finer details of Siena.

  4. Like those small details. Love the pigeon, adorable!!

  5. Such wonderful details. It’s amazing what you find when you wander…

  6. Absolutely LOVE LOVE this blog……..

  7. […] more from the original source: Small things in Siena « Debra & Liz's Bagni di Lucca Blog Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in City, Hotel Lucca, Lucca e ha i tag bagni, campo, […]

  8. All those small details that would bypass so many people.

  9. Fascinated with the 2 face’d thingymebob…, wonder what it was used for.

    • According to Rosa, who commented earlier, they are used to keep the window shutters open. I had no idea what it was when I photographed it. I wish I had one.

      • Thanks, great idea. Love all those little old ideas, so much more decorative than what we have these days huh 🙂

  10. Siena is my favourite Italian town. I too loved those things-to-tie-your-horse-to, and took lots of photos! I love all the quirky things in Siena, and the emblems of the Contrada everywhere you look! Thanks for the memories!!

    • When I go back to Siena I am going on a quest to find all the Contrade emblems and fountains.

  11. Such a beautiful post! Years ago I spent a month in Italy, but only visited 4 cities – Verona, Venice, Parma and Bologna. So wish I’d had the time, money and opportunity to explore further.

    • You picked some good cities. Bologna is one of my favourite cities in Italy and I love Verona, Venice and Parma.

  12. These definitely speak to me! Great shots.

  13. I love your attention to details – the pictures are absolutely great and inspiring. You have a talent to make small details very important!!

    • Thank you! It is fun to find interesting things in these gorgeous towns.

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