October 31st, 2004
Thursday and Friday was spent in Rome. We ended up leaving Rome much later then planned because the day we were there they had the signing of the European Declaration. A large portion of old Rome was closed off Friday until 3:00 pm for security reasons (Colosseum, Piazza Venezia, and Foro Romano). Of couse, we didn't know things were to be closed and one of the places on our list was the Colosseum. So we waited until it opened rather then skipping it. Late Friday night we took a train to Florence and spent all day Saturday walking around Florence. I didn't do a new webpage for Rome and Florence, but there are pages from the previous time I've been there.
Sunday morning we decided to take a train to Siena for the day to see some of the Tuscan country side. Although it was a little rainy, the view from the train was beautiful.
Seina, a medieval town, is still surrounded by the old city walls today. Siena's roots are of Estruscan origin, but it was eventually conquered by Florence in 1555.
This is the Piazza dei Salimbeni, which was built in
the 19th century to set off the Salimbeni property (the main building
in back of the statue). The statue is of of Sallustio Bandini, who
invented the promissory note system that is the basis of today's
checking account. The buildings surrounding the square house a bank,
founded in 1472, which claims to be one of the world's oldest bank.
I thought the little city streets were really pretty...
The Duomo (Catedrale di Santa Maria) was completed by
the mid-1200's. It is said that Pope Alexander III
consecrated the Duomo in 1189. Quite big and lavishly
decorated, the floor inside was covered with mosaic tiles
depicting various stories.
This is the Piazzo del Campo, the main square of Siena.
Every year in the summer they hold wild horse races
here called Palio. The building in the first picture is the
Palazzo Pubblico (built 1297) which houses the Museo Civico
and the city hall. The bell tower is called Torre del Mangia.
Our only wrinkle in the afternoon was catching the bus
back to the train station. We had planned on the 6:30pm train
so we could make it back to Florence by 8:00pm for dinner
(we had 9pm reservation). Well we waited for a little while
and the bus didn't come. We then asked in the hotel next door
and the girl said "well it is Sunday and the buses don't run
as often". Getting a little worried, we asked her to call a
taxi for us. Luckily we got to the train station in time for
our train and had a wonderful dinner in Florence.
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