Siena, Italy Day 66

Today was a near perfect day. Siena is just beautiful. It’s smaller than Florence, and I heard WAY less English being spoken here. Florence is great, but I swear it’s two thirds American.  I remember thinking that the last time I was here too.  I’m sure I’m lumping a few Canadians in there as well, but for the most part it’s American’s, I know that accent! I’ve met so many wonderful American’s while traveling. They’re usually very nice and friendly, and generally quite well traveled and not wanting to be that “typical American tourist” if you know what I mean. If I could give these same tourists a tiny bit of advice, please don’t assume I’m American just because I talk like you! Ask, me where I’m from, don’t ask me where in AMERICA I’m from. I’ve gotten cheeky. I say, “Oh, that little known state called CANADA!” They usually laugh and get the point. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I can always count on the American’s for a chat when I’m needing some human contact, so thank you for that!
 What a lovely, lovely city Siena is. True Tuscany. The streets are winding and it’s quite hilly! The city is actually on top of a hill, I had to take a series of escalator’s to get to the town from the train station. I really had no plan for the day. After yesterday’s museum overload I just wanted to take it easy and explore with no real intent to do, well, anything! I was getting hungry for lunch and poked my head into this little place that looked interesting from the outside. As soon as I walked in this guy comes up and asks if I’d like some wine, red or white? Red! So I’m looking in the display case sipping my wine, when there is suddenly a cutting board in front of me with some focaccia, pecorino and salami on it. He gestures that it’s for me. OK, not sure how things work in this place, but when someone puts my favourite kind of food in front of me I don’t ask any questions. So I’m standing and sipping and eating, people are coming in and ordering sandwiches and picnic stuff and whole rounds of sausage to take home with them. I’m starting to realise that I’m the only one with this cutting board situation. And more things are being added when I’m not looking. Suddenly there are some olives on there. Then a different kind of pecorino, this time with black truffles. Then some chili sauce and more bread and another type of salami. Oh yeah, and my wine glass is refilled. They make all of their own prosciutto and salami, and specialise in wild boar. That’s why I went in there in the first place, because the last time I was in Tuscany we bought some wild boar prosciutto and it was to die for! So I’m chatting with the owner and his 2 employees, and he asks me if I like to cook and I tell him I’ll be going to pastry school next year. He jumps up and says he has to show me the kitchen. They do all the cooking  and bake their own focaccia and biscotti. I guess it looked like I was going to leave soon, so suddenly a board of sweets appeared before me. I still had no idea if this was free or what, but I’d started having my suspicions that Antonio was just trying to keep me around for as long as possible, and my suspicions were confirmed when he was out front doing something, and as he was walking by he whispered to me, “I like you, you sexy.” Oh my lord. AGAIN??? I will be so happy to A.) Get to Germany where the men take no notice of you. (sort of like in Canada) and  B.) See my boyfriend in 1 week, in Germany! I think he’ll be happy I’m leaving the land of the leering man too!  So I decide it is time to take my leave and order the wild boar sausage that I want. I’m getting ready to go when he (out of the blue) asks me if my breasts are all natural!?! As he’s staring at them!!!! I say, “Yo Antonio, my eyes are up here. “ He barely even blinks. I ask him if he’s married and he says that he is, so I told him to go home and be good to his wife. He didn’t look too enthused about that. So, long story short, I feel kind of bad for the Italian women, and now understand why I see so many nuns. Kidding. Can I also say that this is another good reason why I’m doing this trip now instead of when I was 20? I would have died of embarrassment back then! Now, I can give it as good as I get it. I have no problem being sarcastic and just bugging them and calling them on their sh*t because they have the gall to be so aggressive. Nope, no shrinking violet here!
Fragola, one of my new favourite flavours!
My “free” lunch.
And dessert…
He insisted we have a photo together after I took the one of my dessert. Check out that body language!
After this delightful encounter I decide to walk over and see Siena’s Duomo. The Italian’s like their churches XL, and this one is no exception. Across form the Duomo is the Santa Maria della Scala Complesso Museum. I wasn’t planning on visiting a museum today, but I met this woman who told me this one is outstanding. It’s a former hospital (it’s actually one of Europe’s most ancient hospitals) and its’ original purpose was to house the pilgrims going to Rome from France and Northern Europe. It was also an orphanage and charitable organisation. I think it just might be one of the creepiest places I’ve ever stepped foot in. The upper floors house a chapel, frescoes, paintings and sculptures. But the basement is where they keep the archaeology museum, and there is everything from human bones incorporated into art pieces and burial crypts and urns. I was almost completely alone down there to make it even worse. It was dark and kind of cavernous, and I was imagining what it would be like at night… Brrrrrrrrrr… gives me chills just thinking about it!
More sneaky iphone shots in the museum… I’m getting pretty good at it!
The arm part had a real bone in it;s plastic casing. Ew.
Next I went and hung out in Pizza del Campo. Without a doubt this is my favourite square in all of Italy (well, that I’ve seen so far!) It’s kind of like a beach… it graduates down to the bottom where the base of the tower is. People were just sitting and laying down all over the piazza and it was great! The sun was out, there was a light breeze so I lay out for a good 45 minutes and just soaked up the sun and did some great people watching. Oh, and had the best pistachio gelato. New favourite.
Dozing in the sun…
Wild boar products… a Tuscan tradition!
This is typical Tuscan painted ceramic ware.
Reminds me of the horn of plenty!

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6 Responses to Siena, Italy Day 66

  1. ACJ June 9, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    This is a GREAT story! Love it, and loved Siena too… had lunch with two American professors who were good company, so there you go – they are friendly those US of Aers.

    I love reading your travelogue and look forward to it each day – thank you for sharing this adventure with the rest of us.

  2. Anonymous June 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm #

    Oh Andrea, are you sure that guy’s name wasn’t Guido. What a hilarious experience. Could he have been more of a stereotype???? That piazza in Siena is one of my most favorite places I have ever visited. I think within the next 5 yrs, we have to have a girl’s trip to Tuscany.
    Love Momma

  3. Nancy June 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

    Hello! I’ve been reading your blog daily since it was featured on Journeywoman, and I am a fan! Love following your journey. I agree, that guy looks like such an Italian stereotype! From the moustache to his meaty hands clutching you close. Haha.

    When I’m abroad, I don’t identify myself so much as an American but as a New Yorker.

  4. TMR June 10, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Relishing the stories and photos, too – a cornucopia in themselves!

  5. Michele June 13, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I agree with everyone here—this is a great post! So funny! Your mum is right, Antonio could not have been more of a cliche! Great ‘stache, though. That picture of the two of you is a total keeper; you look relaxed but also ready to punch him in the balls if you have to. 🙂

    The salami! The sausages! Ian and I have decided we’re going to Italy THIS year, when the weather will be cooler.

    Thanks for the laugh, Andrea!

  6. Andrea June 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    UPDATE! The wild boar susage I bought went moldy! It was supposed to be good for 6 months… BUMMER!

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