Siena is an easy drive on the main road from Florence (a little more roundabout on some of the hairy narrow roads from our home in Grassina). We made the mistake of getting excited at a free carpark just as we exited the freeway – something we only realised after 2km of trekking uphill in the heat. So back to get the car to drive to Il Campo carpark. Euro 2 per hour is worth it for underground parking (given the 40 degree heat) and steps from the main Piazza.
Yum, our first ricotta cannoli at a pasticceria on the way to Piazza del Campo. This is where they hold the annual Palio di Siena horse race. It’s coming up soon on 16 August, so there are lots of adverts for tickets and grandstands being setup. Amazing to see a HUGE piazza, and it is concave in shape.
After a leisurely stroll around the historic centre, marvelling at the old buildings, whether banks or churches, we filled up our water bottles at one of the street fountains. Just like Rome! We had lunch overlooking the piazza at Il Bandierino – touristy (20% cover charge) but good pizza. Also enjoyed the light spray of water they have as “air-conditioning”.
The scenic route home
We decided to take the long way home via Gaiole in Chianti. It was well worth it as we went through a gorgeous little restored village called Villa a Sesta. We even saw an old wagon containing old Chianti wine flasks covered in straw. Castello di Brolio was another worthwhile diversion – here we stopped for a macchiato, only to get chatting to the barista about cycling. He’s doing the Eroica cycle later this year. The walls of the bar were covered in photos of famous Italian cyclists.
We were happy to avoid hitting a baby chinghiale (wild boar) as we navigated the windy uphill roads home – having hit a possum just before leaving Australia, we were not keen on a repeat.