Today we left bright and early for our day trip to Siena! After a long drive, we headed into the center of the city for a tour led by Lorenzo. Our tour began in Piazza del Campo, a shell-shaped piazza at the center of Siena. Each year, this huge piazza turns into the site of the Palio, a horse race between representatives of the different neighborhoods of Siena (the contrade). Lorenzo then took us into the Palazzo Pubblico, the center of Siena’s government. This building is decorated with elaborate frescoes that depict themes of justice and the effects of good and bad government.
Next, students had free time to explore the city in smaller groups. They were challenged to take pictures with their contrade (for our Spoleto Study Abroad Palio, they’ve been divided into teams) in the neighborhood of their contrade. Many students enjoyed some of the local cuisine, gelato, and shopping.
We came back together as a group to visit Siena’s Duomo, which is beautifully decorated outside with sculptures and inside with mosaics. The Duomo also includes a beautiful library full of chant manuscripts with ornate illustrations.