Gus and I got up early for the 2 hour trip to Siena, and it was well worth it. One thing that we are enjoying discovering is that there is so much beyond Rome, Venice, and Florence. And while we love those cities too, there are hidden gems far away from the throngs of people and tourist menus. When we arrived, we were hungry, so we headed down a side street and into a hole in the wall. Either every restaurant in Italy is good, or we have really good luck doing so. Gus had Cacio e Pepe (which is pasta in a cheese and pepper sauce famous in Rome), and I had Malfatti di Casa, which are balls of spinach and ricotta with parmesan cheese melted on top and dressed truffle shavings. Oh wow were they both delicious. After lunch, we started with the Duomo, which, in my opinion, rivals the great Duomo of Florence and St. Peter’s. It is simply stunning with alternating green and white marble. With the combo ticket, which was only 12 Euro, we got to see the Duomo, the baptistry, the crypts, and the museum of all of the important art they don’t have room for in the church. After touring all of that, we walked to the central square and took in the place where they have the famous Palio horse race. Each district of Siena has a mascot, and they compete twice a year in a horse race. You can see the crests of each of the districts on street signs, and they take their loyalties very seriously. We wandered around and found some great shopping–ceramics and other items hand made on-site before heading back to catch the train home. Until today, I hadn’t been to Siena, but it is high on my list of favorites.

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