Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hip and Historic Siena

Piazza de Campo, Siena's city center

Dining at the Grand Hotel Continental
"Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations.  Our Cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration."  This statement is quoted from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre's website stating the importance of holding onto our past through keeping alive architectural and cultural remnants found all over the world.  This organization works all over the world to identify and protect heritage in countless locations.  When a site or a city is named a World Heritage Site, people know that discoveries have been made there that are significant.  One such place is Siena, Italy.  If you are looking to spend your vacation in a true historic location with the added bonus of fantastic food and chic shopping, Siena is the spot for you.

II Palio Historic Horse Race
Noted as a true medieval city, Siena has retained its Gothic look which was built up in the 12th century, although the city was established as early as 29 BC.  Here visitors will discover period work by artists like Duccio, the Lorenzetti brothers and Simone Martini.  The entire city of Siena was built up around the historic town center, Piazza del Campo.  The Piazza is regarded as Europe's most amazing medieval square.  When people talk of visiting Tuscany, Siena is the perfect place to start.  Just walking through the ancient city streets while taking in the amazing architecture will be sure to take your breath away.  If you are fortunate enough to visit during the famous II Palio, you'll really be amazed.  This twice yearly horse race started in medieval times and is where jockeys ride bareback around the Piazza del Campo.  Siena ensures that you can experience history that has come alive.  

Shopping in Siena
You can't visit Italy without experiencing its world famous food and shopping.  Siena is the home to many unique boutiques and shops.  Every corner is a promise of something fabulous.  While perusing the stores and leisurely walking the streets, stop in for some traditional Italian pizza or gelato to tide you over until dinnertime.    Once dinner has arrived you will be thankful for an appetite.  Siena's cuisine is simple yet divine.  Sienese restaurants use meats, vegetables and herbs that are locally grown and quite fresh as well as delicious.  Don't forget their use of the regional favorite, olive oil.  Tuscan food is marvelous, but so is their wine.  Experience the wines of the area like Chianti and Vernaccia as well as many other robust selections.  In Siena the food and wine is just as phenomenal as the setting.  

Grand Hotel Continental
Your stay in Siena should be as superb as the town itself.  WhatAHotel! offers the Best Hotels in Italy, and Siena is no different.  The Grand Hotel Continental  is located in the center of all that is incredible in this city. Walking out the front doors you will find awesome shopping and delightful restaurants.  But staying inside you will uncover some completely spectacular features.  The Grand Hotel Continental was a 17th century palace that portrayed pure elegance in its day.  Gorgeous frescoes can be found in many of the public areas and even in some of the rooms.  51 rooms and suites showcase comfort and abundant amenities that will prove quite satisfying to every guest.  This hotel has carefully restored the palace to its original glamour and everywhere you look you will find impressive architectural details, priceless antiques and a romantic atmosphere.  The superior restaurant showcases delectable dishes from renowned chef Luca Ciaffarafa, who's interpretation of Tuscan food has created quite a buzz in the local area while the bar promises to serve up some of the tempting regional wines or other heavenly cocktails.  Stay in style and elegance in Siena's Grand Hotel Continental.  

Suite at Grand Hotel Continental
A trip to the Tuscan countryside is tempting to most travelers.  So why not head out to see the beautiful landscape of Tuscany but also take in one of the UNESCO's chosen World Heritage Sites.  Siena promises beauty, culture and artistry in every experience.  Siena, Italy proves that what is old can still remain incredible.


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