Getting lost in Siena…

28 August 2012
Ben Pentreath

After my previous post, you might have thought I had an ulterior motive for getting lost in Siena. But no, this time, I am afraid, the visit was all about streets and buildings. On Thursday evening we went in for a walk, a drink and then supper—not least to show beautiful Siena to our friend Adam’s friend Sarah, who was staying in Tuscany for the first time.

After we had walked up to the Duomo together, seeing familiar sights along the way, we split up and I wandered off to an area to the south west that I’d never been to before. Tight dark streets suddenly opened up to an astounding vista across open country, where the backs of apartments and townhouses have extraordinary arcaded windows to take advantage of the view.

I suppose the thing about Siena is it is never very easy to get lost, as all roads lead back to the Campo, but it was a fantastic hour in what is one of my favourite cities on earth.

8 comments on this post


I love Siena, too! I went there with friends and we found a “hotel” that was in fact in a family’s home and somehow a cat ended up in bed with us. We went to bed to the sound of someone in the “hotel” playing piano in the main room. Love it! The view out the windows of the bedroom we stayed in looked out to the Duomo very similar to the first picture you posted. I loved every part of Siena. Its just perfect in every way. :0)

Ah Siena! Nothing beats a Campari in the Campo on a hot summer evening watching the sky turn that magnificent velvet blue colour. Can I recommend Osteria Le Logge – the food’s amazing. They provided Daniel Craig with a daily takeout when he Was in Siena filming James Bond!

Great pictures.. Id like to go there once!

Thank you for your photos. Last time we were there I remember walking that same curved wall with the blank buildings rising like cliffs on one side and the drop to the olive groves on the other. There was a bonfire amongst the olive trees and the heat made the air shimmer. Later we ate fat slices of watermelon in the campo, the juice running off our elbows. The persistence and centrality of the contrade is remarkable and makes Siena not a confected tourist showpiece but a vivid, real city state. I love it too.

deby, in Canadasays:

Love your holiday… and thank you for generously sharing all the great photos… they bring back memories of a trip there over thirty years ago. Agree, Sienna is one of the loveliest places on earth. Funny little things we remember from travels- my husband had the best haircut ever by a barber in Sienna.
Happy to say I will get to buy my copy of your book at your shop- am to visit beloved London daughter before Christmas.

Margaret Powlingsays:

I’m there, courtesy of your wondeful photos, Ben!
And, as we speak, your book is on it’s way to me via Amazon!!!
Yippeeeeeeeee ….


Stunning. Such a welcome contrast to Florence.


Apart from the sheer beauty of the city (and of your photographs), what strikes me is the near absence of cars. Cars are to me, most of the time, a dreadful visual pollution (on top of being a dreadful source of air pollution).

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