Montepulciano to Siena - August 8: A Taste of Urban Tuscany
We awoke this morning again to church bells. The sun was shining and there was a slight mist over the countryside. We left for Siena at 10:00 and drove through the countryside. Parts of it are so dry that the dirt looks slightly green. The prettiest fields have rolls and bails of straw. Sunflowers, now past peak, bow their heads as if waiting for rain.
Arriving in Siena, we pulled over to look for a landmark and found we were at our hotel. We dropped off the bags and the car at Avis and walked 300 steps straight up a steep hill into town. Siena is enchanting with winding streets and centuries old buildings. It's astounding how old it all is and inside the walls are modern shops. Flags representing different neighborhoods flap in the breeze.
Our lunch was fruit tarts and a tomato and mozzarella sandwich. We visited the Duomo which was built in 1215. Inside it is loaded with artwork and frescoes. One room, the biblioteca, is beautifully decorated and has large scores of music handwritten behind glass.
Our hotel, the Santa Caterina, was originally an 18th century Patrician villa. It overlooks the garden and Tuscan countryside. Dinner tonight was at Ristornte Guidoriccio. We had the special which was meatless lasagna stuffed heaping full of summer squash. After dinner we walked through the town to admire the old buildings, now much quieter with the day trippers gone.