We made it just in time to catch the crowded bus to Sienna. We hopped off the bus one stop early but got to see the Basilica Cateriniana built in the 1200's. One of the side altars included her head that was preserved since 1383. Very creepy! Then we walked to the Duomo museum and one of the first rooms we visited had ornately gilded cases and one actually had the whole skull and bones of San Clemente Martire. More creepiness. No more bones, please!
The outside of the Duomo is that beautiful white, pink and green Tuscan marble and inside a circus of artwork. Black and white striped marble columns, art covering every nook and cranny including the marble inlaid pictures covering the floor put you into an art sensory overload. Michelangelo reluctantly did two of the smaller sculptures there.
Anne and Tom wanted to climb the over three hundred stairs of the Torre del Mangia, the 88 meter tower. Bob and I thought that sitting on the Il Campo, Sienna's square, sipping a cup of coffee and having a gelato sounded much better. Looking forward to seeing their pictures of the wonderful view! Unfortunately after one bite of my gelato I knew it wasn't on Anne's best gelato list. I was very angry at having ingested inferior calories. We made up for it by stopping at a very upscale panini and wine shop with melt in your mouth rosemary-scented porchetta and outstanding paninis.
We made it to the bus station just in time for the very, very crowded bus to Florence. We had a few more churches left on our itinerary. There was no line at the Duomo, so we walked right in. Very disappointing after Sienna's jewel. Walked into Orsanmichele for a minute, then on to Santo Spirito where Michelangelo's crucifix is displayed. He carved the crucifix to thank the priest there for letting him dissect bodies to learn about anatomy, which was a crime at that time.
Anne, Tom and I then hiked up the steep hill to the Piazzale Michelangelo where on a clear day you can see forever - but unfortunately not in the pouring rain. Bob was very happy staying at the bottom watching the snails climbing up and down the wall.
On our last night in Florence I had to eat at Pino's one last time. It's cheap and delicious - their vegetables dripping in garlic and olive oil. Anne was disappointed that we hadn't tried all the best gelaterias in Florence, so it was imperative that we make it to at least one more on her list. Chocolate, hazelnuts, pistacchio and more chocolate. Ahhh, the wonderful flavors of Florence!