Siena untamed – the She-wolf of Tuscany

Siena (means the she-wolf) is full of energy, belly but­tons, flirts, kisses and drums and sexy­ness.

Siena it’s pas­sion­ate and con­tem­pla­tive, known and unknown, steps and alley­ways of days long gone”  Dante Alighieri


Vis­it­ing it, I took no touris­tic route, nor today, nei­ther two weeks ago when I saw the city the first time. I have just walked where my eyes took me.

Soundtrack of siena and the contrades

contrades Siena

The sound­track of the city is given by the rest­less drums of the The  Con­trade or the flag boys – how I called them.

They rep­re­sent the areas of the city, and when I say rep­re­sent, I mean they honor their areas and pre­pare months in advance for the most impor­tant event in Siena, The Horse Race (Palio).

Siena has 17 con­trade which all have their own flags and emblems. This brings up some com­pe­ti­tion to the place. They are the ones throw­ing flags in the air.

The Palio

Takes place each year on July 2nd and August 16th is one of the sym­bols of the city. This race decides which Con­trade will rep­re­sent the city and its a hard race. On bare horse back! Yes, no saddle…respecting the tra­di­tion.

Although still more than a month away until the Horse race, I can already see the crowds gath­er­ing into the piazza and wait­ing impa­tiently for the horses to run. The race which dates from the 6th cen­tury,  lasts 90 sec­ond, has 10 bare­back rid­ers and gath­ers 50,000 vis­i­tors each year.


The race takes place in  Piazza del Campo, which is a fas­ci­nat­ing live the­ater. I see so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple sit­ting on the pave­ment of the piazza, for so many dif­fer­ent reasons,so many worlds in one breath: two friends who just bought a big steamy focac­cia and share it in a hurry full of hunger, three girls tak­ing a cou­ple of self­ies, until the smile is right, a young cou­ple with her lean­ing her head on his shoul­der and her hair is cov­er­ing his back …they just dream, another old cou­ple spread­ing a white paper with cheese, fresh ham, and bread and enjoy­ing a picnic…a mother with her tod­dler , a young fam­ily with the father is throw­ing his baby in the air enjoy­ing the screams of joy…and in one remote cor­ner, a table full of men singing the foot­ball team hymn from Milan. Although remote, their voices are so strong that it only under­li­nes again, the pas­sion Ital­ians put in every­thing they do.


Siena’s historical beauty


The sienese

Walk­ing on the streets of Siena,  I was watch­ing the peo­ple all the time, doing what they do with or with­out me watch­ing them. I was mostly attracted about the locals: I saw them kiss­ing on small church steps, away from crowded areas…another old man was try­ing to throw a key to a woman on the first floor, as he was down in front of the house. After two unsuc­cess­ful attempts, he could nei­ther throw the key to the lady, nor catch it back, so he just decided to take it him self. Later, I saw three old men laugh­ing, and hav­ing fun like they were 16  on the way home after a great day in the high school.

italian men and flirting

The under­ground pas­sage has walls paved with art, but this story is not about that.

As I was going down the stairs to reach the park­ing lot, three men cross­ing my way, stared at me, from tip to toe. There was nobody else in that under­ground pas­sage, other than me and 3 men…starring. I just started laugh­ing, because they didn’t look away for a sec­ond, not even when I showed embar­rass­ment and also because, they were much older than me.

But in Italy, I have long learned to take this fact as a com­pli­ment. Men here admire women, as they do art. It’s the same form of lust. I per­son­ally do not con­sider it vul­gar. And art is to be found and looked for, in every cor­ner of Italy. Ital­ians live look­ing for beauty, and what that beauty means…is as pri­vate of a choice as the color of your under­wear.

How to find your car easier than I did

I walked one hour to find my car, which I enjoyed nev­er­the­less, but my advice is not to trust the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tems on your smart­phones, over the advice from the local. Mine, wanted me to jump over churches and build­ings or to walk on streets which had dead ends. Ask the locals..interact, speak with your hands, if Ital­ian is not at hand, or just try Eng­lish instead.

Siena smells like ice cream, tastes like a kiss and looks like Clau­dia Car­di­nale.

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