Thursday, November 19, 2009

Inspiration: Journey to Siena and Villa Montarioso

Well it's been a while since I actually posted about our European adventure but I'm determined to finish our travel recap over the next few days then really dive into A Day in May. But where was I, oh yes...

My mom did a great job planning the trip down to all the transport details and logistics but the one "transition" (a term I love to use in the event industry) that was not planned was getting from Stuttgart to Siena. We had great flights on Swiss Air (highly recommend) and arrived on time in Zurich and then again in Rome. From Rome we were funneled to baggage claim where I began formulating our next steps thus feeling a little uneasy knowing the chaos that lays down the train track... Roma.

We got tickets for the local train from Leonardo Da Vinci (Rome's airport) to the city and through the grace of Rick Steve's Italy (never leave home without his books!) we made it on the right train and headed in the right direction. While following the train stops and matching the names of the stops I somehow miscounted and we all got off in the wrong district. We had to wait another 8 minutes before the train came around and we were able to board. Once on we had two stops to go until the main bus station.

Okay, let's try this again. We get off the bus and head into the building. Where was the bus ticket office? (Last time in Rome and in Europe we never traveled by bus.) Where were the officials? I hastely grab my dad and we walk to the EuroRail booth to ask about the bus stop. He directs us out of the station and into an adjacent parking lot. We've now been "in" Rome for over 2 hours and time that we don't know exists is ticking.

Finally the bus station but no buses going to Siena on the "Departure" list. I'm now freaking out inside thus the outside is tense and bright red. We get to the front of the line and the clerk said "the last bus to Siena is leaving. Now." WHAT!!!! We tell Mom and Andrew to run to the bus while we get tickets. I wave at the driver who by the grace of God sees me. He is thankfully still loading luggage and getting passengers seated.

With no minute to spare we make the last bus to Siena for the next 24 hours. If that's not God I don't know what is! So... we now have about 3 hours of the Italian scenery to enjoy. Leaving Rome was chaos, as Rick Steves says "Rome is chaos" and the Romans bella chaos. The view from the bus window changed from traffic and congestion to green fields and expansive vistas. I sat back and took it in.

I could go on and on about Italy, more specifically Tuscany, however for time's sake and my eagerness to share pictures here is the short of it. Siena is an medieval walled city in the heart of Tuscany. It's divided into nieghborhoods which are similar to NYC's boroughs. The city is known for Palio- the medieval horse race that takes place twice a year (once in July and again in August). Their city center, Il Campo, is where all the action takes place. Check out James Bond with Daniel Craig and you'll see the first part of the movie is filmed during Palio.

Anyways, it's a sleepy town that is filled with everything Tuscan, thus everything delicious, wonderful and heavenly...

Kudos to Mom because she found the most awesome hotel ever, Villa Montarioso located in Monteriggioni which is about a 10 minute cab right from the center of Siena. A 200 year old palace that was bought by the church and converted into a chic, comfortable and most importantly Italian, hotel. And this was the first view we saw...

Under the Tuscan sun... and loving it.

The entryway is so quaint and inviting.

The building itself is simple but utterly Italian.

Magenta petunia flowers in baskets hang over the wrought iron railings.

Dad and I would read out here in the mornings overlooking the countryside and basking in the sunshine.

My favorite photo of the whole trip. Sitting at our window open to the landscape enjoying a dinner of prosciutto, salami, Parmesan, focaccia and my own bottle of Chianti... can you hear the angels singing?

Enough about the hotel let's dive into Siena. We got settled and headed into town for a fantastic meal and strolled along the streets. I didn't take too many pictures as I was enjoying the warmth of the night and the secrets the walls around us kept.

This is the Palazzo Salimbeni which is home to the Monte dei Paschi de Siena- one of the oldest banks in continuous existence. It was founded during the 15th century and has been going strong ever since!

We decided to turn in early and rest up for a day of site seeing in Siena and experiencing the glory of this Tuscan town...


Kyle November 23, 2009 at 8:58 PM  

....Nice Blogging Darling!

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