December 23, 2013 – Day trip to Siena

Monday is always a tricky day in Italy. Most museums are closed. Some churches are open abbreviated hours. So when we see that the Pinacoteca Nazionale, the Duomo and the City Hall in Siena are open at least part of Monday, it seemes a good time to go. Added to this bounty, the rain is supposed to hold off in Siena until Tuesday.

The train to Siena runs every hour at ten after. We catch the 8:10am and are in Siena before 10am. It is a pretty rickety old train not like the sleek ultra-speedy one we took to Rome last week. But it gets the job done. We catch a taxi to the Pinacoteca Nazionale.

There are many artworks at this museum that we enjoy – a lot from the 13th and 14th century. As in many other things, Siena was competing with Florence for the best “fill-in-the-blank” and art was one of them. Here are a few favorites.

It’s already after noon and on our way to the cathedral we see restaurant Numero Unico and it’s open. Much like the museums, restaurants also tend to be closed on Mondays. It’s pretty contemporary which is unusual and it’s menu is less traditional which is also unusual. My lunch is well-ordered and is delicious. The best of all three of us. (Go, me!)

After lunch we look at the beautiful Duomo from the outside since the cathedrals here have decided to now have a combo ticket letting you see about five different things for a lot more money. We just want to see the inside of the church but are not willing to pay $50 to do so.

The Duomo in Siena
The Duomo in Siena

Our last stop is at Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico. The Palazzo Pubblico (city hall) was constructed in 1297 and its original purpose was to house the republican government. The palace is covered with frescoes. The most famous in the meeting room for the government is Ambrogio Lorenzetti’s Allegory and Effects of Good and Bad Government. It was unusual for the time since it did not deal with religious themes. Justice is on one wall depicted by a woman with other virtues around her. The effect of Good Government is on one side wall with happy prosperous people in a city and verdant fields in the country side. The other side, Bad Government, shows an evil devil like creature devouring citizens, a crumbling city and war.

Palazza Pubblico
Palazza Pubblico

We catch the train back to Florence having thoroughly enjoyed our outing in Siena. We do a little shopping for our Christmas dinner, buy some sandwiches for later from the bar next door and spend a quiet evening.

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