4th August, Monday
Departure was delayed for over an hour but we landed in Pisa at ten to five. Getting to the station and on a train to Empoli was easy, as was changing trains, but the second was a hot one (no air-conditioning in our carriage). The line we took into Siena was shrouded in trees. Around nine we ate well near the hotel (Ristorante Vitti), with a nice house white in a charming bare bottle, in a wide nook with wall statuary. Then we went down to the Campo, after stopping off at the Loggia Mercanzia.
The book mentioned a scallop shape but the one photo of the Campo therein gives no idea of the hollow that’s in it or the size of it.
5th August, Tuesday
Going into buildings is of less interest to me at least than the exteriors but my mother was amazed by the marble reliefs on the floor of the Duomo.
The Madonna and Child part of the Maestà in the Duccio room of the Museo dell’Opera is like a class photo, with all the heads, and it was a good job we abandoned waiting for the Panorama del Facciatone. A French child (a girl) emerged in tears, scared of heights, as I deduced from checking the book. At 12.30 we got finished with interiors. As for lunch, I chose Osteria Cice just for the aroma out of it and again we weren’t disappointed with the food (main & dessert) or wine.
Siena is an extraordinary place, roof over roof, all the reddish brown (i.e. sienna) bricks piling up from ridge to ridge.
Tonight I mistakenly looked for a third good place to eat and dragged my mother around for nearly half an hour – there were still some banking suits out and about – before we went back to Ristorante Vitti. I’d been down at (if not quite in) Saint Catherine’s hangout at six when she sent a text (“Come back”) from San Domenico. There was thunder and a darkening sky with at least one distant flash but the rain didn’t last long, back at the hotel.