In this week's post, Daniel talks about going on an excursion to the Tuscan countryside and exploring the cities of Siena and San Gimignano. As he learns more about each city, he shares the little details that make these historic locations significant and captures photos of these sights.
So as this is my last blog while I am in Florence, I wanted to talk about a little trip we took as a program in the beginning of the semester. Although I was late to sign up for this trip, I was fortunate enough to secure a spot on the bus the day before (don’t be so reckless). Regardless, on February 1st, CAPA took us on an excursion to the small town of San Gimignano and then to the city of Siena. It was a great way to be introduced to Tuscany’s beauty.
San Gimignano is a medieval, walled city highly-regarded for its exquisitely preserved towers and incredible views.
San Gimignano still has its medieval feel.
Once we entered the city through a giant gate we found ourselves in the Piazza of San Gimignano. This quiet courtyard is a great place to catch your breath and enjoy a gelato from Gelateria Dondoli.
Piazza di San Gimignano.
Also all through the city we found places that offer breathtaking panoramas of the Tuscan countryside.
Panorama from one of San Gimignano’s towers.
This incredibly preserved town on a Tuscan hilltop is definitely place to visit. I am really grateful that CAPA organized this trip because due to its location, the town can only be accessed by car or bus (as opposed to train), making it difficult for students to reach the destination.
Another (cloudy but) great view from San Gimignano.
One of the first things we saw in Siena was the Piazza del Campo. In this space the biannual ‘Palio’ race takes place. In this traditional event, 10 riders mount their steeds and compete for the honor of their neighborhood.
If you make it to Siena, you must visit its Duomo. It is by far the most beautiful cathedral I visited during my time in Italy. The inside is completely made up of black and white stripes of marble, recalling Siena’s colors. Within this cathedral is also the Piccolomini Library, housing the most incredible ceiling frescos I have ever seen.
Siena’s Duomo has an intricate and complex facade.
I lost my breath when we walked inside.
The beautiful ceiling in Piccolomini.
Some statues in the Duomo.
We were also taken to the Palazzo Salimbeni, which is regarded as one of the first banks in Italy. Something I found amazing was the busts of important Italian figures placed along the top of the building (a tad unnerving when you first see them)!
We did both of these incredible cities in one day so you have no excuse to not visit them. And trust me, you will not regret it.
Daniel Arnabar is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2019, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Marketing major at University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Florence this semester.
Daniel's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.