Part III: The Events and the People
The pace of life in Siena is two-fold here. It’s a very peculiar feeling. One can opt for either a more sleepy or a more high-energy-infused atmosphere. During our one month stay in Siena, we would constantly oscillate between these two. Where we were located – whether in the city center or outside – did not matter. The center’s outside could get just as rowdy. And the city center could get just as peaceful.
Nights at the Fortezza Medicea:
You could find something going on here every night. Yes, EVERY night. The top of the fort was always dedicated to a carnival, or something to that nature. It was where old meets new. You could find an ancient Roman theatre holding dramatic plays, Bollywood dancing, and electro-pop concerts. You could find rows of tents selling everything from antique books to artisanal handicrafts to air plants (I bought three). You could even find a playground of inflatables with a giant slide. Food is, of course, aplenty. Look for a food truck selling waffles and Mukki yogurt with cream.
This is also where the nightlife is at! Located in the Enoteca Italiana, there’s a club that spins modern Italian hits. Every Tuesday night, we would get all dressed up and go ‘party in Fort’.
We were super excited to be a part of the Jazz Festival at the Fortezza!
Wednesday Market at the foot of the Fortezza:
It is too bad that this one-of-a-kind market takes place during class time. But at least we were able to make it on the first Wednesday of our stay in Italy, when classes had not yet commenced. Piles of thrift fashion, mounds of homegrown food, heart-meltingly adorable creatures to call your own, you name it – they’re all there for a serious steal.
Wait what?! Furry friends for only 15 euros?! Is there any way I can take you albino bunny home with me?
This week of the Palio was insane. Sleepy Siena became manic tourist town. If you wanted to watch the action, you had to get to the Piazza del Campo extremely early in the day and camp out there. Anyway, I got locked out of the Campo that day of the race. I ended up barely being able to watch the whole thing on TV outside a bar, as people were vying to see a piece of the action even there. It was just as crazy as being in the actual venue. I could literally feel the tension mounting to the moment when the rope goes broken and horses go flying. And when the moment came, I saw everyone going ballistic around me. All hell broke loose. Then, it was all over. I got knocked over by some VERY excited people, and saw the whole winning contrada run through the streets, bawling their eyes out with happiness. It was sheer hullabaloo.
The Piazza del Campo holds a very special place in my heart. Everyone gets out there at night. Whether to check in with familiars and play drinking games or to simply lay with a loved one, the Campo is the place to be at for the dreamy young’uns. Hours may trickle away without one even realizing it. Conversations may evolve. Energies may evolve. But, by the end of the night, no one wants to go home.
The crazy parties…
Ride of the Day:
Four of us rented out mountain bikes. Riding down the steep inclines on the outskirts of Siena gave me an adrenaline fix of a lifetime.
We realized afterwards that we could have rented out motor scooters too!
Meet and Greet: Caitlin
Say hello to Caitlin, a seventeen-year-old from England’s Isle of White! While she may act like the young blood she is (and fearless in many ways), her maturity in thinking for her age is perhaps more than the rest of us! And while she may be a total rollerblading junkie, she was preparing to take on another sport in Italy – motor scootering. But first, she had to get her hands on a Powerpuff Girls helmet.