It was rainy most of the day before we got here so it was a bit gloomy. We did get some amazing cappuccino cookies from a place called Nino and friends. I don’t even like cappuccino and I loved these cookies. They also had truffle salt in different varieties. We got the spicy truffle salt and use it daily.
Siena is known for it’s horse race the Palio around the city center that is held twice a year. There are 17 contrada or districts of Siena. Each represented by an different animal. If you are born a dragon you are a dragon for life. All births within a year in the same district are all baptized in the districts water fountain together. If you grow up and marry a panther. Then move to the tortoise district you are still considered a dragon however your children will be tortoises if born in that district. They do this so it’s more family oriented within the districts.
Only 10 contrada run in the Palio de Siena race. 7 who previously didn’t run the last race and 3 are drawn 2 months before the race. There is no money involved just bragging rights. Before the race the horses are guarded 24 hours and are taken into the church and blessed.
Medieval towers, torture museum, and the world’s best gelato was in store for us here.
Gelateria Dondoli- I was a bit skeptical at this place having the best gelato in the world but I decided to try it. The owner greeted everyone in line and asked where they were from and even posed for pictures. I was actually surprised this was the best I’ve had in Italy.
The tower was started in the 12th century and finally completed in the 14th century. In 1990 it had 5.5 degree lean and was closed in order to reduce to lean the ground beneath that side was removed and cement was put in it’s place. Now there is a 3.97 degree lean. There are 296 steps.
I had prebooked the skip the line to climb the tower of Pisa so even though my calves were still sore from climbing Stromboli I didn’t want to pass up the chance. There was windows every so often so it was nice to stop and give my legs a break. It took about 10 minutes to climb it and then you went out on one landing and then around the tower up to a smaller staircase to the top. You can definitely feel the lean. More so on the way down then up. I couldn’t feel it leaning at the top.