Day 2 in Siena. Today we tackled some other big sights of Siena. Since we were all churched, duomoed, Madonnaed and Baby Jesused-out, we went for the politics—Siena’s Il Campo is the location of the traditional city council and governmental area. But first, let me give you a picture of a relic. These things are ultra creepy and rather weird (maybe it’s because I’m not Catholic). This relic skull was in the Duomo Museum,
but today we went to another church—San Domenico— where Siena’s patron saint: Saint Catherine is revered, along with your usual menu of spiritual forces. But the thing that tipped the scale for me was this:
This, people, is Saint Catherine’s mummified head and her thumb which is prominently displayed and made into an altar in the church. (These last two pictures are not mine, I retrieved them from flickr)
All right, back to the subject at hand…. So, we headed for the old civic center of Siena which has a 330 foot clock tower and an adjoining civic museum.
We waited in line for nearly 45 minutes to climb the tower—they only allow 25 people in at a time and I really felt like I was a car at a lengthy stoplight. People behind me were crowding up at my back, tailgating me. I was starting to lose it, and then finally the heavens opened up and we were allowed to come in. We climbed and climbed and climbed…..
Until we reached the top, where we were met with the best bird’s eye view in Italy (according to me and Mr. Rick Steves)
We managed to find our hotel room off in the distance, thanks to Tom’s clothesline of laundry hanging out of our hotel window and stared at the ants milling down around the fountain.
On our way down, I peered into a window and saw the clock’s mechanics:
After we climbed the clock tower, we went into the adjoining Civic Museum which had some excellent secular art and governmental allegory and while poring over the frescos in there, I found some sixteenth century graffiti!
Bell at top of the tower:
The baroque exterior decorations of the Siena Duomo. They crammed every single artistic and religious convention on this poor building:
Back to Florence tomorrow! Ciao.