The morning was cool and fresh when we left Borgo Gallinaio. We backtracked to the VF. The beginning of this trek had a few gently sloping hills as the VF wound its way towards Siena. We crossed fields. The light brown path to the left of center is the VF that had just walked. When we looked back, we could feel a sense of accomplishment.
We eventually met an asphalt road that took us to a village that included the Castello fella Chiocciola. Someone must live there because a chain was strung across the entrance with a sign stating, “Privat.” A few moments later, we met Marcelo who has welcomed pilgrims for years and has offered them refreshments. For a small donation, Rich had the Italian version of Cola and I had another cappuccino (it was just before 11 AM and acceptable to order). Marcelo is an avid gardener; he grows his vegetables in bathtubs. One can also visit with his dog who was high alert. After we thanked Marcelo for his hospitality, a couple down the road bade us a good Camino as we left the village.
Onward we pushed along roads with speeding cars, gravel roads with seemingly hidden VF signs, and a sign with an incorrect distance. It had 2 km Siena written on it. We got excited that Siena was close. Alas, we were still 8 km away.
We finally reached the Siena city limits although we had one final long hill to climb before we saw the skyline of the Campo’s and the Duomo’s towers. Check the angle that we had to negotiate to reach what Rich proclaimed was the “cresta.” This hill would be a challenge for anyone.
A mile or so down the road, we walked through the Porta Camollia, the northern gate to the city. After checking into our hotel, we were off exploring Siena. I was last here in 1980. I remembered the vastness of the Campo and the immensity of the Duomo. What I had forgotten was how steep the streets were. At the Campo, we made a beeline for the gelato shop and leisurely nibbled the gelato in our copetta while admiring the Campo. We walked to the Duomo and then searched for a restaurant. We chose a pizza restaurant because we could start dinner at 6:30 instead of the usual 7:30. You will not believe our pizzeria offered over 100 different combinations of Neapolitan, Sienese, and Poggibonsi styles. We chose the Poggibonsi style — no tomato base. It was eggplant crème base topped with yellow tomatoes, artichokes, and yellow peppers. We topped it off with biere Viola — a red medium hopped Italian beer. Never heard of it before but it would make the cut with our beer loving friends.
I’ll end with some night images of this beautiful city. We were certainly rewarded for climbing that last hill.