Siena is really cool because we simply went to the piazza del campo at night and drank wine for three hours. It was so relaxing as Cj and Greg smoked and Greg pretended to be educated with his pipe. He claimed gimli couldn’t see over the palazzo. Then we briefly meet Claudia an Italian woman who wanted to do shots. That was the end of the first night
The next day we went on a tour around Siena learning about the legends connecting it to Rome and how it was apparently founded by the son of Remus. We then saw the oldest bank in Europe, the monte dei paschi. We also went inside the main palazzo to look at the various works of art from the Romanesque and renaissance period. Same thing occurred in the duomo where there is a beautiful library filled of illuminated manuscripts. Also there is a statue of Donatello. Such things are casual here.
Then we were cut lose from the structure of the program. I enjoy our little adventures off the beaten path. It gives new perspectives of the city and helps truly understand the city. Joe and I went off in search of exploring new parts of the city. We aimlessly warned the streets finding the views like the one above.** We were also able to see the boundaries of the *contrande* (neighborhoods for the Palio). Speaking of which the Palio is this large horse race that occurs over the summer between the neighbors of Siena. Its essentially for bragging rights. It is example of the cultural history that is unique to almost every city in italy.(particularly the major ones) Venice has Carnevale. Siena has the Palio, Sanremo has Sanremo. etc.
Allora….. eventually we came to a store that sold handmade ceramics. Joe began the conversation in italian. He doesn’t have the same fear of speaking that often occurs for me. Eventually I began to speak and she began to offer insight into Tuscany and Italians in general.
-There are certain parts of Tuscany that cannot be modified or built on due to government order to preserve their beauty. She really likes this idea
- There isn’t much pickpocketing and theft in Siena so you can relax a little compared to Rome
- The Race Conversation is very awkward in Italy.(Its awkward yet necessary anywhere) She wonders why some italians can be racists despite what happened to the Italians when they emigrated. She was candid and blunt about this point.
I greatly appreciated this little conversation with her as it offered a glance beyond the touristy aspect of Italian culture. She believes that Italians had forgotten such prejudice against them and that it shouldn’t be forgotten. I would never have gotten such candid insight if i had not spoken Italian. These little conversations are what studying abroad is all about.
P.S Sorry Ive been busy. Not that much people read this.
**Taken from my Day One Journal, the image is on Instagram