Using Florence as our base, we made two day trips via train. The first – Siena. The kids LOVE riding on the train, and it’s so much easier than trying to find parking for a rental car.
The walking route from the train station in Siena is unremarkable until you get to the medieval wall and pass through Porta Camollia. It’s a pretty impressive entrance to this historical city center, and once through, the streets carry on the majesty.
Like all self-respecting tourists, we made the Piazza del Campo our 1st stop. We entered the Piazza from Vicolo S. Pietro for the wow factor – descent down stairs in a tiny alleyway and then BAM! We hung out in the Piazza for a while, trying to imagine the Palio and taking it all in. The kids wanted to buy tickets to climb the bell tower, but there was a lengthy wait, so we passed.
We spent the rest of the day walking around Siena, taking in the scenery, visiting the Duomo, and occupying the kids by identifying all the contrade symbols as we passed from neighborhood to neighborhood in the city. The flags are the most obvious, but you can spot contrade symbols on plaques on the walls, sculptures, mosaics, and even light fixtures.
During lunch at Osteria La Chiacchera, we asked the kids to design a symbol for their own contrada. It was a great activity that kept them occupied until the food came.
To my kids, all the churches eventually start to look the same. While they enjoy the cool temperatures inside and a break from the hot summer sun, they do get bored pretty easily. A sure way to get them excited about visiting a church – challenging them to find relics inside. The Siena Duomo has a window in the floor that visitors can peer through to see relics of Siena’s patron saints.
What We Say About Siena
The first glimpse of the Piazza del Campo is breathtakingMom
I liked looking at all the flagsBig Sis C
I like the gelatoLil Sis M
I will never understand relicsDad