Trip to Italy: Day 9

Day 9 - Siena

This was quite the touring day. Thankfully Siena is pretty small, so it wasn't actually that bad.

First up on the itinerary was a visit to the sanctuary of St. Catherine (it was a very short walk from where we were staying). St. Catherine's family home was next to the sanctuary where she had one of her visions. According to Richard Stevens (as Pete likes to call him), St. Catherine became a Dominican nun at 16 and locked herself away in a teeny room in her family's house for 3 years. At 23 years of age St. Catherine lapsed into a spiritual coma in which she awoke from with the "heavenly command to spread her message to the world". I found this bit of the story pretty interesting... "While visiting Pisa during Lent of 1375, she had a vision in which she received the stigmata, the wounds of Christ."
It was fascinating to discover how much St. Catherine is honored. If you want to read more about her...I found the site here to be quite interesting.
Pete got pretty skilled at sneaking pictures in places where he wasn't supposed to...

After visiting St. Catherine's we grabbed a snack and I managed to get this amazing picture of Pete.
And after the relaxing time we had eating our bread/cheese/pears/honey snack we headed to the duomo.
It's a pretty big church. It was also my favorite church out of all we saw in Italy (I think I forgot to mention some other ones already...mostly because this one took the cake - for me anyway). Check out Hailey's face in the picture above - she obviously didn't like this church near as much as I.
Does this look like a ceiling to you?How about this one?This room was spectacular (it's the Piccolomini Library). The frescoes have never been restored (they were done in the 1400's).

For some reason when I'm looking at art, I want it to be in it's original untouched state. I know many of the old things we saw wouldn't have even been there to see if they hadn't been restored...so I can appreciate it a teensy bit... but to me, restoring something means it's not truly the original. I found myself wanting to see the effects of aging. The signs of aging are what make me completely amazed and in awe of how old the thing actually is. So...this room was truly one of my favorites for the vivid fresco's and also the HUGE music scores (around the whole base of the room). The music books, or hymns if you will...were huge books and there are many pages in each. It reminded me somehow of a fairy tale because the writing was so elegant and there were pictures and real gold flakes which made it all the more fairy tale-ish. Guess someone at Disney saw these a long time ago and created that vision for us and there we go, I just came full circle!
Next up, we went to Il Campo.
This square is famous for the Palio. I just googled and found this great read about the annual horse race which dates back to um, a long time ago. The neighborhood pride is evident as flags and posters of their winning jockey and horse are hung for all to see. Just walking through the winning neighborhood was enough to get me excited about this annual race.
We wandered around and I spotted the above and thought it was SO cool, I just had to grab a pic (or 2, or 4!). I think Pete rolled his eyes a little as I took several pictures trying to get 'the right shot'. I think it was just that this little plaque was hanging so high on a column...the other columns didn't have anything on them...and this column was in a somewhat dark area (the first pic is without the flash). It was waiting for me to discover and appreciate it's beauty. And I did. The tree just seemed to jump out at me and yell "take my picture so you can forever remember the beauty of my old and crumbling self". Nerdy? Maybe. But I like it.
I thought the old hitching wall was pretty cool and definitely authentic. I tried to imagine all the horses tied up and the hubbub of the place back in the day.
This was the day I took several pictures of Pete's facial hair (I will NOT call it a beard, as it's far from being a real beard due to the nature in which Pete's facial hair does or does not grow). I was a bit grossed out and really wanted him to shave. He thought it was fun to ignore his outer image and wanted to see if he could get to the end of the trip without shaving. I hoped not. Even Hailey seemed a little curious on the matter.
We passed quite a few baby stores while in Italy. This one was a bit creepy and thankfully they were closed for siesta.
We headed back to our hotel and picked up some wine, cheese, apple and bread for an evening snack on the patio overlooking the hillside.
Thankfully we packed a little swiss army knife and we used it frequently.
We closed out the day with a trip to the laundromat where we fit all of our dirty clothes into one load. We hung out there until the clothes were dry and then we packed up and hit the streets. This was the only time we washed clothes on our 3 week journey.
We encountered a game of soccer in the street on the walk back to our hotel. Sadly, we had missed the big game that day and all we were left with was the memory of some Italian guys in diapers.

Whew! I initially sat down to document days 9, 10 and 11 in this post...but I guess day 9 really left me with something to show and tell. See you again soon for more trip postings.