There are very few places that before you even arrive at your hostel you have decided to extend your stay. Siena was one of these special places. The vibe, something in the air, call it what you want, but by the time we got to our hostel we were already asking the owner if we could stay just an extra night or two. Fortunately for us, ‘Il Palio” for which Siena is famous, is not until summer and there was plenty of space for us to stay longer and soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful Tuscan city resting gracefully on a hill-top.
One of my all time favourite activities while travelling is people watching, and il Piazza del Campo is one of the best places to do this. A combination of impeccably dressed locals eating gelato and drinking coffee, tourists taking photos and looking at maps, and students studying, flirting and enjoying the early spring sunshine left me entertained for hours.
Walk only a few streets away from the Piazza (which involves passing some delicious gelato shops) and you’ll find yourself right in the shadow of the great Duomo (cathedral) of Siena. It reminded me so much of the Duomo in Orvietto.
Walk just a few streets further and it feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the main square. Within just minutes we were in small streets and cute alleyways, surrounded by the sights and sounds of the daily lives of the locals and getting lost in the Italian language.
Siena is a hugely popular town for students, both Italian and foreign. Wandering the streets of Siena, I could imagine all of my university exchange stories being played out here, but in Italian rather than Spanish. It made me nostalgic as I watched these students making their own memories here.
If you need a break from immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of Siena, you can always wander just a few streets further and take a moment to breathe in the stunning views out over the rolling hills of Tuscany.