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Report 1924: Another Attempt at La Dolce Vita!

By Podie from Florida, Spring 2011

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Page 8 of 13: From Siena to Firenze

photo by Celeste Rubanick

Rubbing the boar for good luck

The only bad thing about Siena is waking up in the morning not able to tell whether or not it's sunny. Because the buildings are so tall and close, you can't see the sun. But we could tell it was hot and dry, so that was a good start.

We entered the breakfast area for a nice relaxed breakfast and I immediately noticed the air-conditioning was on in honor of it being June 1st! It felt good!

Since there was no way we could leave without touring the Duomo, we checked out and left our luggage. They generously gave us a key to get back in the building later.

Siena's Duomo captivated me. I've never seen anything like it. The interior looks a lot like the outside! I would have never forgiven myself if I had missed it. As we walked back to get our luggage, we talked about how we hated to leave and we just had to return someday soon. Siena is great!

We caught the 12:10 rapide bus to Firenze but it wasn't rapide. There had been an accident or something on the autostrada and we were detoured off so we arrived at 1:40. It had rained, but luckily it was clearing up and quite hot.

I had made a one night reservation at Hotel Sempione due to its proximity to the bus and train stations, which are next door to each other. I was again so thankful for carry-on sized luggage as we wheeled our way two or three blocks to the hotel.

The desk clerk was very nice. When I apologized in Italian for not speaking much Italian, he said in Italian, no problem, Madame, which language would you like to speak? When I said English, he smoothly switched to that.

Our room was ready and quite decent for 89, with a king sized bed and large bathroom with excellent shower. The hotel directory suggested Trattoria Enzo e Piero on our street, so we headed there for lunch.

We were warmly welcomed and pleasantly surprised our waitress was from Texas. She had come to Italy many years before to study and just couldn't leave. I had three giant tortellini, Rich had veal, we shared a mixed antipasto, and of course drank some wine.

The street became a pedestrian walkway that brought us right into the markets of San Lorenzo. Since we had no interest in jewelry, purses, or leather, the booths didn't hold a lot of appeal for us, so we moved on to the Duomo.

Although the outside was much like Siena's Duomo, this was much larger and imposing. The line to enter was short so we went in, and were surprised how plain it was compared to Siena's. The area was crowded with tourists, police, and people selling things, and we meandered down the streets in the direction of the Ponte Vecchio.

We crossed over the bridge to Oltrarno, sat down in a little place for a beer, and watched all the people. Since the next day was a holiday, people were pouring into the city. In search of gelato, we crossed back over the bridge and I had some awesome mango and coconut. Since we had wandered so aimlessly, it was a nice surprise when we easily found our hotel.

It was hot, so we took a rest and cooled off (the room's AC worked fine), then decided to go back to the same trattoria for dinner. We had veal, wine, filet mignon, ribolitta, vegetable soup, and dessert. I ate way too much, and afterward I insisted on walking a mile or two to try to digest at least some of the food.

Rich, of course, had more gelato!

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