UNBRIDLED SPIRIT: The Untold Story of the 2018 Extraordinary Palio in Siena, Italy

Now available in paperback and ebook at numerous global online retailers. I am pleased to announce the release of my second book about Siena, the contrade, and the Palio, as of March 2020. This is available through a wide variety of retailers around the world (and on Amazon, of course). The ebook is also available, … Continue reading UNBRIDLED SPIRIT: The Untold Story of the 2018 Extraordinary Palio in Siena, Italy

The Morning Trial Experience: What to Expect

This post is inspired by a recent question on TripAdvisor about what to expect from a morning trial during the "days of the Palio". (Although similar in their approch, I will write about evening trials separately. For now, please see TOM'S TIPS within my Palio Schedule page.) The morning trials "officially" begin at 9:00 in … Continue reading The Morning Trial Experience: What to Expect

Florence (Firenze) to Siena by Regional Bus

It is common to visit Siena from nearby Florence (Firenze) by taking the train or bus, and I highly recommend either to avoid the hassles of driving (for those not used to it). While either approach works fine, the bus drops you directly at Siena's main bus station, Piazza Gramsci (sometimes labled Via Tozzi, for … Continue reading Florence (Firenze) to Siena by Regional Bus

What is the song sung by the Sienese during the days of the Palio?

Excerpt adapted in part from my book, Living the Palio. Intro: While you will hear numerous folk songs around Palio time, there is one that is by far the most common melody of them all, the Song of Verbena (Il Canto della Verbena). This is sung by groups of contradaioli (contrada members) during the evening … Continue reading What is the song sung by the Sienese during the days of the Palio?

Trains to Siena and Beyond: The Basics of Trenitalia

Siena is connected well by Italy's national train system, Trenitalia, even though the city is not on a major high-speed line. I have found Italy's train system to be extensive, reliable, and relatively easy to use for those who prefer not to drive. Even in Siena, trains are numerous and frequent, unlike anything Americans are … Continue reading Trains to Siena and Beyond: The Basics of Trenitalia

The Assignment of the Horses

Nearing the conclusion of the assignment (drawing) of the horses on June 29, 2019 for the upcoming July 2 Palio. Complimentary "score sheet" that allows viewers to record the horses and their assigned numbers. After the final 10 horses to run in the Palio were selected prior to the drawing, one could compare their assigned … Continue reading The Assignment of the Horses

Taxis in Siena

Siena's taxi service is extensive for a city of this size, with its web site (in English here) claiming to have 55 vehicles and 60 drivers in service. When walking in or around Siena, they are seemingly everywhere, and many visitors depend on them. The company is part of a unified consortium, so all cars … Continue reading Taxis in Siena

Siena’s Local, Intercity Bus System

For those in Siena without a car, the local bus system provides reliable and frequent transportation for neighborhoods both inside and outside the city walls. Since transit systems are largely designed for locals, however, they can confuse even more experienced travelers. This post provides guidance for using Siena's transit, with the hope of reducing the … Continue reading Siena’s Local, Intercity Bus System

Grocery Stores in Siena’s Historic Center

Finding grocery stores and larger supermarkets in Siena is not always easy or intuitive, though shopping at them provides for a rich cultural experience. These businesses occupy centuries-old buildings in many cases, sometimes revealing unique floor plans that only add to their local character. This page provides an overview of comprehensive urban grocery stores in … Continue reading Grocery Stores in Siena’s Historic Center

Taking the Bus between FCO Rome Airport and Siena

On the eighth day, God created a direct bus service between Rome Fiumicino airport (FCO) and Siena. And it was good. Once operated by a separate service (formerly known as Sena Bus), this inexpensive route is now operated as an arm of Tuscany's Tiemme system. The schedule is virtually the same. For those not driving, … Continue reading Taking the Bus between FCO Rome Airport and Siena