Thursday, May 19, 2011

Two more great days in Siena

Here are some more pictures of two great days in Siena.

Yesterday was market day. I was sitting at breakfast and two women were talking about the town market that was taking place today. I am talking about Wednesday. Every town in Europe - well at least Italy and France - have their market day. The museum ticket I bought is good for three days, so I will be going to the market today.

The town market sell everything under the sun.
It's a haven for anyone who likes to shop. I ended up buying two pairs of shoes. I saw the same shoes at an Italian store at the Prudential Mall for $100 more. What a bargain.
The lady is cutting slices of meat from a roast pork, Called "porchetta" in Italy. It is about 4 feet long and roasted with hebs and cheese. She sliced several slabs of this delicious meat and made a sandwich for me. A shady spot under a tree with a half bottle of red wine. Heaven!
This is porchetta
Only in Italy would I buy food from a market with this ad.
And don't forget the cheese.
The market was located around the base of this 16th Century fortress. At the top of the walls, and inside the fortress are a great park with sonderful views of the city.
View of the Duomo from the fortress.
The canopies of the market from the fortress walls.
After a morning of shopping and sight-seeing at the fortress, I returned to the hotel for a late afternoon reposo.
Wednesday night was another evening of cooking classes.

Who doesn't like to start with desert? Dough for almond biscotti prepared for the oven. 
Cutting the hot biscotti to prepare them for the second baking.
Egg dough ready to be shaped and rolled into raviolis stuffed with spinach and mozzarela.
Making raviolis from scratch.
Enjoying our dinner.
After dinner, there was the long climb back up to the hotel. As you can see from pictures, Siena is built on the crest of a mountain. All the side streets are very steep, some of them are actually stairs up to the top. After dinner, I walked up the 100+ steps back to my hotel

Thursday morning was another gorgeous day in the town. Today was a visit to the museums that I had not seen.

The Pinacoteca, or the painting museum, was great. It was mostly religious art taken from abandoned churchs, confiscated churches, or churchse destroyed in earthquakes, fires, wars, neglect, or outright confiscation by civil authorities. It was an amazing display. I'd estimate that 90% of the art was religious. I was able to learn many of the symbols which are included with various saints. When looking at art from the middle ages or rennaisance, it become easy to identify particular saints because they are usually depicted with specific symbols. Some of the symbols are the instruments used to torture of martyr them, or symbols associated with thei ministry. For example, Stl Paul is usually protrayed as bald, holding a book and a sword. St. Peter is always holding keys. St. Catherine of Alexandria hoking a book and the wheel with knives used to execute her. St. Cecilia is usually shown with a small pipe organ. The list is endless. Seeing these in the all the art of this museum helped me to learn all these symbols. By the end of the tour, I was able to identify the saints without reading the labels.

I visited the "Opera di Duomo". this museum is dedicated to the construction of the Duomo and all its subsequent improvements and renovations. There is a tower nearby that offers a spectaculare view of the city and wurrounding areas.

Looking down onto the Duomo.
View across the rooftops of Siena into the distant hills of Tuscany.
Looking down into the Piazza di Campo
Another view of the duomo with a bright blue Tuscan sky.
Cooking class tonight. Are we sipping the wine or pouring it into the food?
Grilling vegetables.
My job was sauteeing chicken with mushrooms and onions.
A baked caprese salad with tomatoes, mozzarela, bread, and arugula.

Feasting on our creations.
Tomorrow morning, Friday, I leave Siena and return to Rome for one night. On Saturday, I fly to Marseille to meet Bob and Inez Roy. I will spend 5 days with them. When they leave to return to the states on Thursday, May 26, I will leave for my 35 days of travelling through France.

So for tonight its, pack bags again, get a good night sleep and head to the train station in the morning.

Buona notte a tutti.