A visit from England, 7 hours in Rome and a lot of ‘Shakira Shakira’: PART 1
Back in Siena with the Easter break drawing to a close, I didn’t have to wait long to be reunited with that bit of England I had not so long ago left behind. Yes, in fact within less than 24 hours of being back in Italy, who stepped down from the train on Sienese soil?…Only this one…
Danielle wholeheartedly embracing her first authentic Italian aperitivo
Yes, my first visitor, and a very special one at that. Therefore with just over 5 days in Tuscany, I think it is fair to say we pretty much fit as much as we possibly could into the time we had, whilst cooking some delicious cuisine, trying all things Italian, and soaking up some much awaited Sienese sunshine.
Back within il centro storico of Siena, it only seemed fitting to introduce Danielle to ‘Erasmus’ Sienese way of life with a cappuccino at what has become known to us as our beloved ‘balcony bar.’ For a standard price of €1.30, one can dwindle away hours perched upon one of three rickety wooden benches overlooking Siena’s gorgeous Piazza del Campo…tourists and all, and without the notoriously criminal ‘campo prices.’ It is truly any avid people-watcher’s paradise.
The following day, having not yet ventured up Siena’s 131-step, narrow corkscrew stairway to the Panorama del Facciatone at the top of the facade of the putative Nuovo Duomo (despite watching the tourists milling up and down its summit every day whilst washing up) what better way to take in the panoramic beauty of this little haven than from above…
Piazza del Campo in all its glory
Being able to see your bathroom and kitchen window from il Facciatone is quite cool
Whilst seemingly not having stopped nattering since being reunited, pausing only on occasion for food, a rather relaxing passeggiata through Siena’s warren of narrow, cobbled streets and various parts of my university was just what was needed before putting Siena’s so-called best gelateria to the test, and drawing the day to a close with a truly authentic Italian aperitivo.
N.B. Although it is seemingly socially unacceptable to be wearing shorts, skirts, or any other summer clothing in April –the Italians of course naturally still in their winter puffer jackets and scarfs- with the arrival of Danielle, along with the hundreds of other tourists who since Easter have been invading every side street of Siena, and for this week only, I decided to embrace the mid-twenty degrees Celsius heat too…stares and all.
In search of a further taste of Tuscany, despite the much anticipated swarms of tourists, the next day saw the two of us hopping on a bus to the capital itself, Florence.
Il Ponte Vecchio
A very important looking man, identity unknown. As everyone started phographing him, we felt the need to as well
The most stunning view of Florence from Piazzale Michelangelo…
…and on our decent quite by accident finding ourselves amongst the roses and lemons (one of which complemented our dinner brilliantly that night) of il Giardino delle Rose
Having managed to pretty much visit every historical and cultural site that this Tuscan capital has to offer in one afternoon, tired yet very content, back to the streets of Siena we went.
After the following day spent basking in the sun, what happened next can only really be described as a moment of utter madness which seemingly overcame us both. Yes, it seems that all that Sienese sun had clearly gone to our heads, as whilst debating over how to spend Danielle’s final day in Italy and subsequently scouring trenitalia’s webpage for any cheap deals, in the space of 10 minutes, we had booked two €30 return tickets each to Rome for the following day…beat that for spontaneity.
Therefore to Rome we went!