Friday, May 9, 2008: We packed up all our luggage and after checking out of the Hotel Pendini, we went down to the street level to get our three taxis. The ride is short to the EuropCar office, but with luggage and ten women it is impossible to walk to the rental car section of Borgo Ognissante. Once settled at the EuropCar counter, we secured our three cars, registered the drivers (me, Colleen and Jane) and the three alternate drivers (Libby, Donna and Kay), and made sure the navigators (Carol, Donna and Kay) had their maps marked for the route to Siena, we began the most treacherous part of our journey . . . driving OUT OF FLORENCE!
We negotiated this assignment with varying degrees of success and timeliness, and all eventually found our way to the Palazzo di Valli in Siena, our home for one night. After parking cars, checking out our rooms and bring in just a bit of luggage, we caught the shuttle bus into the walled old city of Siena and met our guide, my friend Viviana Girola, who gave us a warm and informative tour of old Siena, including the Duomo, the side church which houses beautiful illuminated manuscripts, and the Church of San Domenico where I again was able to view the head of St. Catherine of Siena. I know . . . it’s ghoulish, but it is truly her head encased in a glass compartment in that side altar. She was the saint of the people, no doubt about it!
Our dinner at Antica Osteria da Divo was exquisite as usual, and we walked happily through the Campo to our late night shuttle stop, finally returning to the Palazzo again for a good night’s sleep.