Siena was my favorite city in our limited travels. We stayed in a small monastery in the old city center, right next to the Basilica of San Domenico, which contains the Chapel of St. Catherine (and parts of St. Catherine herself...)
The old city was hilly, ornamented and infinitely full of character. (I'll tell you about the crazy Sienese pasta in another post!)
The shops were varied and charming. Many a stuffed boar's head could be seen at the butcher's establishments.
The Cathedral was singular and breathtaking. (I preferred it to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome). Graphic in its black and white striped marble, and highly ornate - floors, walls and ceilings - with every ornamentation imaginable. Frescoes, paintings, sculptures, inlaid floors, layer-upon-layer of art forms... My favorite room with the 'library', with its Moorish tiled floors, its gorgeous collection of illuminated manuscripts and its breathtaking frescoes....
The Piazza del Campo was also one-of-a-kind - with its huge, angling, shell shaped, brick 'floor' (which was crowded with seated and standing people. And pigeons).
The Piazza is surrounded by fountains (a sculpture from the Fonte Gaia is shown here), plazas, museums and storefronts. The collection in the Palazzo Pubblico was one of my favorites.
But ask the fairy nieces what their favorite thing about any place we visited, and next to the gelato, it was invariably, "The Pigeons!"