Days 11 & 12 - Sienna & Lucca

We headed to Sienna with a stop for lunch and some sightseeing in Lucca. Located in the Tuscany region of Italy, Lucca is a small fortress city surrounded by a 2.5 mile wall you can walk, bike or take a four-wheeled bike cart to get around. Very quaint and inviting, the town has several churches, many shops and eateries to enjoy.  It was a beautiful day, so we chose to pick up some pizza from a local shop and sit up on the wall to eat and people watch after our sightseeing. 

Views of Lucca from the wall.

Very true! My motto, ha, ha! We saw this sign outside a cafe in town.

A beautiful day for a walk or ride along the wall!

Lunch options


Sienna is a captivating city located in the heart of Tuscany! Siena is divided into 17 contrade, or neighborhoods, each with its own distinct identity and traditions. The contrade compete in the Palio di Siena, a fiercely contested horse race that has been held in the city since the Middle Ages. Anna Lisa, our guide gave us great detail about the contrade and taught us all about their history and rivalry. Each contrada has its own distinct identity, traditions, and heraldic symbols, and they play a central role in the cultural and social life of the city. We had two tours here with Anna Lisa, who is from the seashell neighborhood or contrada.  We had one before our group dinner on the history of the contrade and another the following morning where we got a lesson on stain glass as part of our tour.

Piazza del Campo

We loved Sienna, the history of the contrade and, of course, the food! I think one of the reasons we enjoyed it so much was due to the Anna Lisa and her enthusiasm for her home community. Our daughter and her husband came to Sienna for two days and without a guide they did not report the same experience. Tour guides do make a difference! 

The Goose neighborhood

Traditional Tuscan almond biscuits that are twice-baked, making them crunchy and perfect for dipping into Vin Santo, a sweet dessert wine are next to the ice cream.

First Course


Local wine was served with dinner!

The last contrade was won by the Oca or goose neighborhood. We were welcomed to dinner by the local goose Societa or social organization.  Cooked by two lovely lady and served by upcoming young men of the Societa, our dinner of appetizer, pasta, main course and dessert was excellent. The ice cream was the best, velvety smooth and covered with a chocolate shell!

Our cooks

Hearty Beef Stew and Potatoes

Bracciali Massimo's Store Front


The following morning Anna Lisa took us on a tour of the city sites.  Sienna is renowned for its medieval brick buildings, narrow streets, and its large fan-shaped central square, Piazza del Campo, which is famous for hosting the Palio di Siena, a horse race that takes place twice a year. Sienna is also known for its stunning Gothic architecture, including the Duomo di Siena, a magnificent cathedral with a distinctive striped marble facade and an intricately decorated interior. The city is rich in history, culture, and art. On this tour we visited a stain glass workshop where artist, Bracciali Massimo (FYI - he's a porcupine) gave us a lesson on how custom glass panels are designed and created for multi purposes including churches and private residences.  He also produces hand painted pottery, jewelry and tabletop pieces that he sells at his store in town.

One of his employees hand painting a plate in his workshop.


Our afternoon consisted of wandering around the city, checking out churches, having lunch and aperitifs sitting in the Piazza del Campo (town square) before dinner. Paula and I were partial to limoncello spritz while the guys chose wine. Sienna has many charming cafes, local markets, and beautiful gardens to explore.

Food options

These young people had just graduated from the university and were out celebrating their accomplishments.

Street views

Sienna cuisine is deeply rooted in tradition and reflects the rich agricultural heritage of the area. For dinner we found a trattoria and had a Tuscan beef dish called Bistecca alla Fiorentina.  This is a large T-bone steak, typically from the Chianina breed of cattle. It's cooked rare over a wood fire and seasoned with just salt, pepper, and olive oil. This dish is a symbol of Tuscan cuisine and is often shared among several people due to its size. We also shared a vegetable and a pasta dish I will compare to gnocchi that was also very good.

They have cooking classes you can take here.

Vegetable Plate

Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Pasta with mushrooms


It's hard believe that tomorrow will be Day 13 already! 


Tomorrow, we head for Assisi and then on to Orvieto and the Alta Rocca Winery Resort.

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