Siena, Italy

Siena is a lovely hill town in Tuscany about an hour from Florence. There is a train from Florence which dumps you at the bottom of the hill. The accessible bus from Florence (which leads at the bus station just west of Santa Maria Novella train station) takes about an hour and deposits you right up the top of the hill in the middle of town. Siena is lovely to wander about. It is fairly steep so take a good power chair or a muscly companion if you are not a marathon runner.

At the heart of Siena is the Piazza del Campo, one of the most beautiful and perfectly proportioned piazzas in the world. It slopes down from a restaurant lined semicircular walkway to the old government offices. By old I mean pre and early Renaissance, around 700 years old. Inside the offices there are some famous frescos in some disrepair depicting life and society in Siena when it was a city state. There is also a remarkably high, thin and beautiful tower. You can climb this but not in a wheelchair! There is a small lift to get to the frescoed hall. I squeezed into this a couple of times. Once I had to remove my footplates. The staff were very helpful and encouraging.

There are so many wonderful things to see in Siena. Luckily I’ve been there many times so I didn’t just have to rush around the Duomo fighting with the tourists. As usual, get off the beaten track and find your own way.

That said, the Duomo Complex is incredible. In 2016 I didn’t worry about getting a ticket into the to Duomo although they seem to want me to. It would probably be free for my companion and myself and you can always jump the queue but they happily let me in anyway. Access to the Duomo is via a ramp tucked around the left-hand side. Inside the Duomo, do not miss the Piccolomini library. Just rock up to the door and the attendant will sort you out. The frescoes are mind blowing and there are lovely old illuminated manuscripts all about.
Tickets for a wheelie and companion are free to the whole complex. 

There is also a wonderful archaeology museum and various other fabulous spots to experience. The Fortezza is also fun. You can walk around the ramparts. Another church of interest is the Basilica di San Francesco, over to the east of town. If you can handle a steep hill, is a tiny street here called the Viccolo or Via degli Orbachi which leads to a good view over part of the town. I also passed a little workshop here where an old guy in his helper were restoring a Renaissance painting.

 

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