Eating Through Siena

Today the Italian adventures continue in Siena.

I took a little recap break to post some of the dishes I’ve made.  Some – like this and this – were inspired by my travels… only I made them like your vegan-ish Italian grandmother would. :)

The Tuscan region was home to some of the best food on the trip.  Certainly the best gelato!

In order to get to Siena, we braved the overnight trains (not recommended without a seat reservation… using the restroom on the train also not recommended) and arrived in Siena sometime around 6am.  Thank god our room was ready early and we were able to take a nap before exploring the city.

Despite the train-lag, we got moving in time for lunch.  The view from our room had me bouncing out of bed!

For lunch we followed a Rick Steve’s recommendation that promised vegetarian fare (we were deprived of veggies after all that travel).  He was spot on – this Osteria was awesome!

The servers were very nice (and patient).  One was even wearing a Fenway Park shirt.  The veggies were just what we needed to begin the day:

We wandered through town before resting at the main piazza to enjoy a coffee while people-watching.  Followed by gelato (banana and nutella for me).

Next on the agenda was the Duomo (the tallest point you can see in the pic of our view from the hotel room).  They sell a pass for the whole artistic complex of “Opera della Metropolitana di Siena” for 10 Euro!  Sold.

In the opera museum we were able to view some incredible paintings, sheet music from operas, and sculptures.  It still blows my mind to think the history behind it all.  From the museum there is a long, winding staircase to the top of a tower offering a view that will take your breath (so will all those stairs!).

 The 10 Euro tour then took us inside the Cattedrale, followed by the Cripta below.  I was most excited about the crypt, but they must have been renovating because much of it was blocked off or not labeled (unmarked mounds containing bodies = not as exciting).

The cathedral was stunning.  I was back to my over-used phrase: This doesn’t even look real!

At this point my camera died… which didn’t stop me from making everyone pose for a pic in the Battistero (a smaller church housing works from many of the greatest Renaissance sculptors).

 Dead cameras don’t end the day – we hauled it back to out hotel to re-charge batteries – electronic and our own.  We had met a friend along the way earlier in the day who promised us a delicious dinner.

He was the chef at a restaurant we had also found via Rick Steve: Antica Osteria da Divo.  If you are ever in Siena, I highly recommend this place.  It’s a gorgeous dining room and the food is top-notch.

Beautiful setting

2007 Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

Rolled zucchini filled with pecorino cheese from Pienza and kale served over caramelized red onions

Scallops browned with citrus-bread crumbs, served over pumpkin cream and watercress

Risotto with fresh Porcini mushrooms and Saffron served table-side in a form of demi-seasoned pecorino cheese

I almost asked for seconds

Hand-rolled Senese pasta with Selvatic meat (Wildboar-Venison-Deer) sauce, “Taggiasche” olives, juniper berries and rosemary-scented crispy bread

Rolled pork stuffed with spinach and fresh pecorino cheese, truffle sauce and caramelized scallions

Rolled pan biscuit ,vanilla cream, and pear cooked in Chianti Classico with a caramel net

A picture cannot begin to do that dessert justice.  It was a work of art.

Feeling fat and happy, we took a walk back to our hotel.  The chef and waiter invited us for drinks,  but we were still tired from the train and needed to wake up early.  The next day would bring a trip to Montalcino to learn about Brunello wine.*

*This is the part of the trip where we hijacked a tour bus.  No joke.  Check back for the rest of that story. :)


Pretty please vote for my Biscoff Cookie Dough Balls by clicking here and “liking” (via Facebook) my entry in Delta’s Biscoff Bake-Off.  You can vote 1x per day!!!  Thanks for all of your votes so far!

Do you enjoy going to museums when you travel or are you more of an unorganized explorer?

What are you going to be for Halloween?


  1. says

    Wow. All the food (and cathedrals) looks amazing! That pizza is bigger than you! lol. I tried to vote again today but it said I had already voted???? Boo.

  2. says

    I took an overnight train from Madrid to Rome and didn’t have seats. We found a compartment (my friend and I) and fell asleep sitting up and woke up to the sound of two men screaming at each other in Italian in our compartment. Fun.

    I’m going to be Sookie Stackhouse. I know it’s not very original. Jason is going to be Bill.

  3. says

    If we had ONE MORE day on our trip I would have spent it in Siena – I was only there long enough to do the Duomo last time but loved the atmosphere and the views!

    We were totally unorganized and just did whatever we wanted on our trip!

  4. says

    Both! We tend to split days evenly between roaming and museums/sights. Roaming mostly because of my wife, museums mostly because of me, but it works out well this way. Good balance!

  5. says

    Didn’t you say on twitter this morning that the pizza was the size of your head? False advertising!….It’s half the size of you! :-) I might even have a hard time finishing off that entire pie.


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