The charming towns of Siena and San Gimignano are both the perfect destinations for day trips from Florence.
I had first visited Siena back in August of 2012 for their traditional and most famous event, the Palio, a horserace. This event is held twice a year, once in July (in honor of Madonna of Provenzano) and once in August (in honor of the Assumption of Mary). The Palio consists of ten horses and riders dressed in certain colors representing ten of the citywards of Siena. The race is held in Piazza del Campo, the main piazza, where the riders must circle the piazza three times. Whoever comes out victorious is awarded with the Palio, a hand-painted silk banner made by a different artist each race.
My experience at the Palio was exhilarating! However, the race itself only lasts about 90 seconds! Hundreds of people are cramped into Piazza del Campo on a hot summers day which can be slightly uncomfortable. Even though watching the Palio was an entertaining experience, I probably won’t be returning anytime in the near future.
The second time I visited Siena was during this past October with Tommaso just for a night.
After walking around the town, we headed towards La Taverna di San Guiseppe where we had a fantastic Tuscan meal.
After dinner we were able to tour the restaurant’s cantina.
La Taverna di San Guiseppe is definitely a popular trattoria so reservations are a must! Their menu is quite extensive so Tommaso and I had trouble deciding what to get since everything sounded delicious! The pasta dishes were amazing especially the chocolate pappardelle with creamy white ragu, yum! They even had a cantina located at the end of the restaurant where you can take a little tour which was fun. Overall, I’d rate my experience here a 7/10.
The next day we headed to San Gimignano, about a 40 minute drive from Siena. This hilltop medieval town is known for its Romanesque and Gothic architecture.
Both Siena and San Gimignano were great cities to visit in Tuscany! I had a fantastic time strolling through the peaceful streets of these cute small towns. I would highly recommended seeing these cities if you need a little break from the chaos in back in Florence.