Siena and the search for a fair price

Duomo, Siena Cathedral, Italy

Siena and the search for a fair price

Having arrived in Siena with surprising ease and after a quick chat with a very unfriendly woman at the tourist information centre, who was upset at us for having the cheek to arrive 15 mins before closing when she wanted to go home, we settled on the Colle Verde campsite to lay our heads.

Salimbeni Palace, Siena, Italy, Siena and the search for a fair price

Siena is a wonderful little town, with one of the craziest central squares I have ever seen, like an upside down turtle shell titled at an angle with a giant town hall dominating the lower end. The architecture is also unlike anything I have experienced, falling over the dividing line between Gothic and Renaissance styles.

Piazza di Campo, Siena, Italy, Siena and the search for a fair price

The streets which wind around the square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are charming. The cathedral, which Ania has declared as the best cathedral she has ever seen, is, in fairness, stunning. The view from the tower of the town hall also shouldn’t be missed.

Duomo, Siena Cathedral, Italy, Siena and the search for a fair price

There is no avoiding the fact that Siena, and Italy generally, is expensive and there is no end to the means to extract a little more from your wallet. The Cathedral is broken into separate sections, all with an individual entrance fee. Any food bought has an additional service charge included and all accommodation prices include a tourist tax. One fun experience was a run-in with a particularly particular woman. After being quoted 3 € for a beer, the disappointingly familiar price swap reared its ugly head again when we got the bill. We said no, she said yes, we said no, she said yes, we gave her 6 € and made to leave, she threatened to call the police, we said fine and sat on the step, she left, came back, left, came back again and told us to go. We did. Unfortunately we are learning pretty fast that money, and the never ending search for more, is quite important in Italy. Prices are high and toilets are for customers only!

written by: Jon



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  • Oh dear. Well, I suppose times are tough. At least you got to see some nice parts of Siena.

    Cheers from a man who’s also battling with the money gods, from Byron Bay, Australia.

  • And you probably have to pay for the use of the toilets too, even if you are a customer. We don’t do that in Australia.

  • I visited Sienna in 1999. We had a little apartment a short stroll from the Plaza for $40/nt. I pedaled a rental bike to Montalcino and bought a bottle of brunello for $12. The wine seemed like a real splurge at the time. This was just before the euro, and things were more spendy than Spain but today I couldn’t afford to visit Italy.

  • What a nice post:) Like it so much :) :)