In the midst of our friend's acceptance speech, we heard him say our names and then pointed to us in the audience. He was giving thanks to my husband as his boss and colleague, who gave him the opportunity to pursue his research. (At least that was what we were told he said.)
From here we also saw the church of San Demenico.
We then proceeded to the Cathedral or Duomo of Siena on foot, there being no better way to negotiate some very narrow, meandering streets.....
Turning a corner, one sees the Duomo...
The Duomo is a gleaming example of Gothic architecture with its soaring pointed arches, a medieval architectural innovation, giving the structure a more vertical, visual character. The Duomo was built in the early 13th century. In the 14th century, with Siena experiencing unprecedented wealth and influence, expansion of the Duomo, which was envisioned to surpass even St. Peter's Cathedral in Rome was began. But in 1348, the Black Death swept through Tuscany, killing 4/5 of Siena's population. Siena never recovered, her cathedral was never completed and her economy never reached its past glory. Siena suffered the most from the Black Death and as a consequence lost out to Florence economically and culturally. My friend then said sadly, "that's why they have the Uffizi, and we have what you saw".
After this poignant revelation we sat on the steps of the west entrance of the cathedral and took a brief respite from all the walking and then left the area via a steep staircase from which one could see the the fascade of the unfinished Duomo Nuovo, the 14th centruy expansion.
By this time it was late in the afternoon, and needing some refreshment, and not only for the body mind you, we went into a wine bar (wine bottles from floor to ceiling, most of them in racks carved out of the stone walls of the establishment. Hams, salamis, cheese and several bottles of Brunello del Montelcino revived us body and soul!