Every day is a perfect day in Siena ~
The title of this post is a bit misleading. It should read “every day is a perfect day in Siena and Tuscan Women Cook”! Ask any traveler fortunate enough to have visited this remarkable city and they will tell you it is their favorite.
The Wednesday Market ~
During my trip to the hills of Tuscany to visit and participate in the week only dreams are made of, we spent the day in Siena as well. We visited on Wednesday which is market day. The market displays run all the way around the walls of the city and are filled with leather goods, clothing, household items and…purses!
The best smelling area of the market is where they sell the locally sourced meat and produce. Aromatic roast porchetta (porchetta is a savory and moist boneless pork roast of Italian culinary tradition)filled the air and led you right to it. Huge colorful vegetables and fruits were organized into plentiful rows. We had an absolute blast visiting Coleen and Rhonda’s favorite leather goods table. We lined up twelve across to purchase these beautiful bags for ourselves and for gifts. If my suitcase was bigger I would have bought more!
Confession: I actually did borrow another suitcase from Coleen as all of my Italian goodies made my single bag far too heavy! Craig smiled and laughed when I returned with borsa numero due “bag number two”.
More of our tour ~
We were led by an extraordinary local Sienese tour guide, Dr Cristina Amberti, who explained the long and vibrant history of Siena. We walked through the cobblestone streets, through the Basilica de San Dominico and finished at the most beautiful cathedral in Italy.
Siena Duomo, Cathedral of Siena ~
The Duomo in Siena is a breathtaking Gothic building filled with treasures by Pisano, Donatello and Michelangelo as well as frescoes by Pinturicchio.
It was built between 1215 and 1263 on the site of an earlier structure and the cathedral is built in the form of a Latin cross with a projecting dome and bell tower. From the floors to the ceilings, everywhere you look is colorful and truly a masterpiece. Take your time and visit every area of the cathedral, it is worth every moment you spend.
Lunch in Siena ~
Our mid-day stop for lunch was at the incomparable Osteria Le Logge. We talked about our market finds and listened to Cristina give us more history of Siena and of the famous Palio!
The Palio is the most important event in Siena and takes place on July 2 and August 16 every year. In the Palio the various Sienese “contrade”, or areas in which the city is divided, challenge each other in a passionate horse race in the heart of the city in the Piazza del Campo. It is a “win at all cost” situation.
The members of each contrade are enthusiastic supporters of their horse and jockey. Each of the contrade are represented by a symbol or animal. They proudly fly their flags and wear scarves with the symbol.
I am especially fond of owls, so I took a photo of this flag of the Owl Contrade which was on display.
Attending the Palio has a been a dream of ours since friends described their experience to us over ten years ago. After meeting Dr. Cristina and hearing all of the glorious details, we are taking our family next year. It is a must do!
Our perfect day in Siena was one I will never forget.
Stay tuned more to come from my week with Tuscan Women Cook!
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Classes are offered May, June, September and October – There are still spaces available for the Fall 2017 and they are already booking for 2018. Do it, you will adore the experience. Who will you take with you?