1 EAGLETON NOTES: Siena

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Friday, 28 September 2012

Siena

Where do I start?  One of the things which I find very difficult is writing posts about things that have passed and gone.  The Holiday in Italy seems like a million years ago.  However there are things I want to record for myself (the diary element of my blog) and to impart to others.  So there will be some catching up posts over the next wee while.   Today it is the turn of Siena

We had decided that we would go to Siena on the first Wednesday because the weather forecast was favourable (with a 20% chance of rain in Tuscany - a big place - in the afternoon) and the market is held on Wednesday morning.

One of our number wasn't too well that morning so the youngsters set off bright and early.  We oldies followed on rather later arriving in Siena about 11pm.  After nearly an hour trying to find a parking place within walking distance ie within a mile or so (until I get a new knee long distances at any speed on pavement are no longer an option for me) we decided to abandon the attempt.  I decided on one last attempt round the 'other side' of the city.  What?  No traffic?  Well not too many parking places either.  Until I found one not far from the city wall.  We were in and in time for some lunch at a lovely little cross between a trattoria and a delicatessen frequented by the University staff and students as well as tourists.



The streets of Siena's walled town are narrow


But the Piazzo del Compo is huge and a magnet for every visitor who passes through the city:






The Duomo (Cathedral) is not one of my favourites but the details on the facade are  truly amazing:


When we were on the way back to the car the heavens opened with a massive thunderstorm right overhead for about 30 minutes during which time the scaffolding in the first photo was struck several times with startling consequences.



 The scooter drove straight into the open hall in which we were taking refuge.

17 comments:

  1. charming deli! Stunning architecture in Italy, especially the church. That rainstorm is like some we've had this month in Indiana.

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    1. It was charming Norma and the food was good too.

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  2. Tremendous pictures.
    Does the Duomo clock only have an hour hand?
    I Would find it all a bit frantic but I suspect a 4am start would cure that.

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    1. Thanks Adrian, the building in the Piazza with the clock is the Palazzo Publico. I didn't actually show a picture of the facade of The Duomo because it's rather hard to photograph unless you have Gaz's lens that sorts out vertical convergences. To answer your question, though, I think that the clock does only have one hand. A 4am start might give you the place to yourself (as you will see when I do the post on the Cinque Terre) but a 6am start might not because the market seems to start very early. Mind you at 4am it would still be dark which restricts the photo opportunities.

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    2. You don't need Gaz's lens...wouldn't fit on your camera anyway. The canon tilt shift is okay but has very limited movement and still will pull the image off the sensor. You are better leaving a bit of space round your subject and using Photoshop. Where the Canon lens does work is as an aid to front to back focus but you have to use live view and spend ages scrolling round the magnified image. Again for the price of it you can take three images with different points of focus stack them and mask out the out of focus elements in each image.
      I am pondering the purchase of a view camera....now that really does give some movements swing, tilt and shift 20 degrees before the bellows get in the way.
      It is going to rain tomorrow so if you want a seeing to Pictures let me know.

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    3. Ha ha. My camera would fit inside that lens! I've never explored that element of Photoshop. In fact, as you know, I'm a real disappointment when it comes to playing around with my photos despite all my good intentions. It's a combination of me being a bit slow combined with me having too many other interests combined with..... To be honest I don't understand your last sentence of the first paragraph. If you were to do a seeing to pictures would I understand it? Something that would solve the problem (which I have frequently) would, however, be very much appreciated.

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  3. My (so far) only visit to Siena took place in the 1980s, in August, and I remember it as, strangely enough, not being that crowded. Maybe it was too hot for many of the tourists to be out and about, or my memory has decided to leave out the less pleasant bits about that visit.

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    1. Meike, it wasn't anywhere near that crowded when I last visited it 12 years ago although it was more crowded than some other places. I wonder, though, if I am just looking back through rose tinted spectacles.

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  4. I've never been to Italy at all. I have of course seen lots of photos and films, but I enjoy getting your personal perspective, so thanks for sharing. I agree though, that it sometimes takes an effort to refind the inspiration to post about things that already seem to belong in the past. Your comment on that reminds me that even I have some things from summer still left "unblogged" just because right then there were too many things happening at once.

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    1. The funny thing is, Monica, that to other people it doesn't matter when the posts are made.

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    2. You are right about that - it's a writer's problem, not a reader's problem.

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  5. Another lovely stopover on your travels GB.
    Tourist attractions all over the world are extremely crowded (not sure if even a 1am start would help in some instances!)
    Out of all those folks captured in the crowded Piazza del Compo, my eyes zoned in on the tourist lying on the ground....taking it all in.
    Loved the gorgeous details on the facade of the Cathedral..what exquisite craftsmanship.

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    1. I guess that you are correct Virginia. I even saw someone on the beach here before I went on holiday. Apparently lying sunbathing on the Piazza del Campo is the in thing to do. It's hot but cool - if you see what I mean. The craftsmanship and art in the public buildings and cathedrals is stunning beyond belief: marble offers a timelessness and fineness that softer stones do not.

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  6. The cathedral makes me wonder how Exeter and the like would appear if they were as good as new. It's a pity our standard building materials - limestone and sandstone - are so subject to weathering.

    I love the next to last photo - brilliant. One to win a comopetition by!

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    1. Thanks CJ. To see some of the great cathedrals of the UK as they were would, I'm sure, be a revelation.

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  7. I would be "pulled" in to that deli immediately!
    I know I will never get to that part of the world, but so appreciate your photos as well as your feelings about them!

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    1. Thanks Norma. Never say never though!

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