Movies in Siena!

July 13, 2019

Imagine my relief when I discovered a movie theater in Siena, right next to the supermarket and around the corner from my school! And in fact, the first week that I was here, they were playing Toy Story 4, something that I had been excited to see.

The experience was not quite what I had expected. Read the rest of this entry »


My Italian school

July 9, 2019

I’ve officially started my Italian language school, and I thought it time to check in with my readers… I passed the entrance exam, skipping over the first week of class, and have now completed two days of the second week.

I am loving it.

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Gallo Nero

July 7, 2019

One of the highlights of my brief visit to Siena last year was a wine tasting that we stumbled upon, when a restaurant was empty around lunchtime and the host agreed to take us on a journey with him, pouring us many different wines and regaling us with stories about each one. It was so incredibly memorable that I knew I needed to go back on this trip.

I went, and was not disappointed. What an evening!

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The morning report

July 6, 2019

Even before coming here, I had a scheme: I wanted to find some cafe on the walking path to my morning classes, and stop in every day for an espresso and some chit-chat. I wanted to become a regular, my very own Norm to their Cheers. (Kids, ask your parents.)

Imagine my pleasant surprise upon arrival, to find that there’s literally a cafe outside the door to my apartment building.

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Italian time

July 6, 2019

Having now completed a week here, I can say with certainty that one of the biggest adjustments I’ve struggled with is the notion of time in Italy.

No, I’m not talking about jet lag upon arrival, or the time zone difference with family and friends back home. I mean that I don’t know when the hell people sleep here. Read the rest of this entry »


Finishing week 1 in Siena

July 5, 2019

Today marks day 7 here, and what a week it’s been… The first few days were all-Palio-all-the-time, and the next couple of days seemed like weaning off of the big race (although there was a freaking parade last night at midnight, two days after?!) as things start slowly approaching normal here in Siena.

What’s really frightening, though, is the onslaught of “normalcy” that starts after this weekend. Read the rest of this entry »


Il Palio di Siena, 2 luglio 2019

July 2, 2019

Today was the day that Siena has been building up to for weeks now… the Palio race! We had a full afternoon of Palio-related activities, so let’s dig right in.

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Contrada dinners

July 1, 2019

I’m frequently astonished by the amazing sense of community that the contrade exhibit in Siena. And one of the best examples of that is when a contrada comes together to host a community dinner.

We got a taste (literally) of this last year, and I’m officially obsessed.

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Palio 101

June 30, 2019

It occurs to me that I’ve mentioned Siena and its Palio horse race in previous blog posts, but I haven’t described it or the contrada neighborhoods (and my connection with them) in detail yet. The next several days won’t make much sense to readers without some context, so here goes.

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Settling in for 5 weeks in Siena

June 30, 2019

After a series of misadventures by train — broken air conditioning, delayed arrivals, sprinting through the Florence train station with luggage that breaks in the process, and nearly missing my connection — I finally arrived in Siena.

I’ve been here twice before: once for just an hour or so on a tour, and once for a few days that I almost entirely spent working in my hotel room, but as soon as I saw the familiar streets I felt a sense of relief… and then I saw my Drago flags, and was literally hopping up and down in the taxi.

Drago flags, welcoming me back!

And THEN I got to my apartment.

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